Do I have bipolar disorder or am I bipolar? I know many in the mental health community feel strongly about the meaning of this linguistic distinction. Can I honestly claim that I am not defined by my illness? My brain disorder influences my personality and the way I think. Bipolar disorder defines and limits me in ways I wish it didn’t. My mind does not work as well as it once did. I am less intelligent, less productive, and less functional than I once was. The mundane easily overwhelms me. I have an illness that limits me and in doing so redefines me. I once planned to become a physician, but had to let go of that goal and of other goals for I wasn’t up to it. I was once an ambitious child, teen, and young woman. Ambition is now beyond me. I mourn the loss of my former self. I mourn the loss of brilliance that was once a part of me.

I also mourn the loss of Robin Williams. His mood disorder and addictions (dual diagnosis) have robbed us of a much-loved man.