“I drove to Taco Bell to try their new wings,” D. Berry recalled. “The first location was sold out, so I drove to the next nearest location. They sold out of their wings too. Instead of leaving, I settled for something else on the menu. I got home and realized that they had messed up my order. I put my food aside and cried for an hour straight.”
Most days, D. Berry wakes up in a good mood. Like most people, the first thing she does is look at her phone. With crust still in her eyes, she blinks and scrolls through the news on her New York Times app. Unfortunately, the news is more depressing nowadays, and the slightest bad news can set her off for the day. As D. Berry describes her daily emotional journey, she reveals that it’s frustrating to know that her emotions are the one aspect of her life that will never be constant. One day she is sluggish and desires to be left alone, and the next, she is busy brainstorming her next creative endeavor.
Regardless of what occurred that day, D. Berry is understandably exhausted by the end of the day.
“When I go to bed, it’s well earned,” she recalled.
It took some time, but now the 33-year-old writer and director can differentiate when she’s manic. During a two-week span, she cannot seem to sit still. She chuckled as she confessed to the spike in her impulsive behaviors. D. Berry rides a temporary wave of thinking she’s better than everyone around her.
Relationships and Mental Health
In the past, she had to make the tough decision to sever ties with some friends or apologize after making out-of-line statements to loved ones. Her occasional emotional outbursts make her reevaluate the way she treats others. On the other hand, D. Berry acknowledges her frequent need for reassurance. She internalizes everything.
“My mind wanders,” D. Berry shared. ‘My best friend can say something to me in one tone, and I take it the wrong way. I’ll immediately take it personally thinking that she hates me when I know deep down that’s not the case.”
D. Berry refuses to give in to her disease even when her mind tries to play tricks on her. As a “mature person with bipolar disorder,” she knows how to reason with herself and respond positively.
Even still, trying to balance her emotions can be a challenge for a strong, independent woman who is determined to solve her own problems. The author was at a doctor’s appointment for diabetes because she was worried she had some symptoms. Diabetes was also common in her family, but that was far from the case, but D. Berry’s life changed that day. After filling out the new patient survey, she was clinically diagnosed with severe depression and bipolar 1 disorder four years ago. She was sure that she would be able to push through without medication. Who wants to take pills every day? But being bipolar is chronic. The Mississippi native admits that she is better off when she takes it than skipping her routine. She finds her therapy sessions to be helpful too.
Nonetheless, D. Berry is an artist at her core. She recently discovered her passion for taking pictures. She recently found her love of taking pictures. Every week, usually on Tuesdays, she commits herself to capture photos of women around Birmingham for her series entitled “Love Birmingham.” After the photoshoot, the budding photographer asks the women questions about their experiences as residents of the Magic City.
Additionally, she gets up and writes every day. It’s a luxury because she didn’t have the opportunity to write as much in the past. Working on some sort of art makes her happy.
Some people cast judgment because of how they represent themselves on social media. For D. Berry, social media is a motivator. It inspires her to achieve all the great things other people experience or have attained. Moreover, seeing other people do the things they love brings her joy. She knows good things will come her way with hard work and time.
The pandemic has added another layer of complexity to the state of her mental health. Her emotions have fluctuated. As the number of COVID cases seems to decrease, she’ll start planning a trip and stop in her tracks due to the unpredictability of the pandemic.
She thinks to herself: “Maybe I can swing this, but I probably won’t be able to because there’s a new variant.”
The Road to Happiness
Until recently, D. Berry has been on a downward slope since the pandemic’s beginning. Moreover, she endured some emotional trauma. She got married and divorced within a matter of months. Then she moved from one city to another. As a result of these abrupt changes, she fell into a deep depression. She remembers feeling more sadness and anxiety than happiness. In October 2021, things turned around for the better. Rest assured, the good news is she always won’t feel down. She’s been at the top of the rollercoaster and wants to maintain that high.
While on her mental health journey, D. Berry offers some wisdom. Her advice to women learning to maneuver through life’s challenges with bipolar disorder is to engage in physical activity regularly, drink tons of water and maintain a healthy diet. Ensuring that one is physically healthy can positively impact her mental health.
Another rule of thumb is to be proactive about therapy and taking medication. It’s not anything that one should be ashamed of.
Lastly, be sure of the partners and friends you have around you. You want to trust that they are supportive through the highs and lows.