Sharing the Mental Health Awareness Advocacy, here’s a 4-part story of a lady, clinically diagnosed with Manic Bipolar Disorder 1. Based on a TRUE STORY. 

I’ve always been an unusual girl. At first, I thought it was because I was an artist with a creative soul. Artists were supposed to be moody and hard to understand. I’ve always known that I will become a writer so I embraced my unconventionality. I thought that being a writer meant going forward and experiencing everything that life has to offer with open arms so I did that. I lived on the edge and chose the paths that pushed the limits. I thought that being a part of the creative community meant that I should be authentic and unfiltered. So I always said what I wanted and shared what I thought. Guess what? Those creative spurts and unusual decisions? That was my mania. Those moody and passive aggressive periods? That was actually depression. I was always swinging in between. That’s why I always said that I was a study of contradictions: worse than an angel, better than the devil. I didn’t know that I was sick all along. My illness was so good at hiding behind the artist’s condition that I didn’t recognize it until I started hearing voices like Van Gogh. That’s when I started to question whether or not I’m creative or just plain sick. My name is Camille. On the outside, I look like any regular girl in my black dress and ballet flats. There’s lipstick, earrings and an office ID on me. My lips are always curved into a friendly smile. I can pass off for a normal person. Most of the people who meet me don’t think that there’s anything wrong with me. But I am Camille and I have Bipolar Disorder 1. When I’m feeling good, I look exactly just as the pretty picture I’ve shared with you. When I’m feeling worse, I’m going to look unkempt and untidy because I can’t take care of my personal appearance when I’m dying inside. I am a firm believer that my personal appearance is the gauge of my current mood. Bipolar Disorder is a mood disorder. It’s an illness that affects a person’s mood or emotional climate. Most of its sufferers will experience intense mood swings like depression and mania. It’s an illness that will ultimately affect a person’s decisions, attitude and occupation. Actually, it can ruin your life faster than you can say The Flash. Then you’ll probably experienced a mixed episode so you’ll be so depressed you want to kill yourself but you also have enough energy to carry it out. It’s sad to think that most of the people who are diagnosed with this illness will be more prone to suicide. Also, they make up for a large percentage of completed suicides. That’s a cheery thought, right? What’s even more cheery is that you’d probably need 10 years before you actually diagnose it correctly. By then, you’d have fucked up your entire life so bad that offing yourself seems like the best option. Believe me, I reached that hard, unforgiving rock bottom before I found out about my condition.

Let me give you a short biography: At 29-years-old, I have a job, I finished college, I’ve got family, I’ve got friends and I’ve got a pretty normal life. When I was 26, I had most of them plus a debilitating depression because my life was falling apart at the seams. In 2016, I was working in a dead-end call center job that forced me to work at night and I couldn’t get promoted. I lived in a crowded dorm without an aircon so I survived with sleeping for only 2 hours every day. It was my normal for nearly four months. My family was imploding and my relationship with an abusive guy was breaking apart really fast. Nobody knew that I was also mourning for a baby that I’ve lost in February. I was making bad choices left and right due to sleep deprivation, deep grief and intense stress. All of these problems were happening at the same time.

One day, my mind just snapped after my ex told me that I was toxic to him and I should focus on fixing my family. I went home to my dorm room that was already 38 degrees Celsius to get some sleep before my job. My mind didn’t stop racing with fantastic thoughts even as I dozed. I woke up an hour before my shift then I told my boss I was feeling sick. As I lay in the dark, I started hearing a crying baby. There were no children in our street. The crying grew louder and louder. I thought that I was being haunted. I prayed the rosary. It was one am and I was so afraid. My mind turned on me. I thought about my child whom I aborted under duress from my ex-boyfriend. As a Roman Catholic, I was scared for my eternal soul. I thought that it was only fitting for me to be haunted by my child because he was in limbo. It was my fault. He shouldn’t have been thrust into the abyss. I should’ve been stronger and I should’ve fought against his father. I envisioned the fires of hell, the thick fog of limbo and the waiting darkness. When I turned on the light, I hallucinated that a baby was waiting for me on the bed. I could hear howling in the background. I didn’t realize that the sound was coming from me. My tears wouldn’t stop. I picked up the baby and rocked it to sleep. It was hours later when I realized that I was holding my pillow in my arms. My chest tightened. I thought about drowning myself then and there. The Pasig River was just a block away. My baby was calling out to me and I didn’t want him to feel so lonely. I prayed to God for guidance because the feeling of swimming in the most polluted river in the world with hollow blocks tied to my ankles was starting to become a good idea.

To be continued…


Noela Camille Bonilla

A 29 year old writer, clinically diagnosed with Bipolar 1 Disorder.

Currently living in Manila, and enjoying life as an “almost” tita.