How often have you said to someone, “Oh you know me, I’m crazy,” when you do something unexpected? How often have you heard someone else be quirky and call it being mad? Being mad is glamorous, being mad is fun, being mad gets you awe, admiration and the label of being exciting. Till you are actually mad, that is. The label, of course, will never be just mad. And nor will you be walking the streets in torn clothes and yammering to yourself — not unless you actively want to, of course. Your madness will be called many complex things: bipolar disorder, borderline personality syndrome, clinical depression, and many other things. But essentially, it’s all under the wonderful umbrella of madness, and wonderful it is, once you know how to manage your madness.

I found when I crossed over from being ‘entertaining mad’ to labelled ‘mad’, a beast called recovery appeared. You see, when you cutely call yourself crazy, you never think you need to recover from it; because it’s cute, fun and quirky – what’s to recover from? But when you have a label, and I have come to accept labels are important if you want to reclaim your life, you suddenly have to commit wholeheartedly to something. You have to be consistent, you have to be disciplined and you have to humbly accept that something about you needs fixing. All three things are exactly those that your illness does not allow you to be. This is my poignant paradox.

A little over three years ago, I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD), and a little later, bipolar disorder. Both these disorders came together to powerfully take away any semblance of normalcy or happiness in my life. Without getting into details, I’ll just say that I wasn’t a loving, productive, peaceful person three years ago; everything had come to such a head that the fact there was a problem couldn’t be ignored.

If I thought that was difficult, boy, was I in for a surprise. When you commit to recovery, it is then that you start to understand what tough really means. Everything that you are screams in protest when you start your recovery journey…. – Sandhya Menon, DNA India, October 10, 2015

Sandhya Menon