Bipolar Strong: Hypomania Got Me A ‘Reputation’ At The Gym

Don’t let other people to make you feel inferior because of your bipolar disorder.

I have a friend named Magui, who worked in the cardio room at the Y.

I work out there several times a week.

One day she pulled me aside and said, “Allison, these other people here that I work with….… they laugh and call you the crazy bag lady.”

It wasn’t a shocker.  Still, I was disappointed. These people smile and initiate conversations.


(I’m working on this in therapy).

“Allison, don’t feel bad. They are closed-minded. If you aren’t religious and stuff, they write people off.  They don’t see what you have to offer.”

I mulled this over; analyzing my act at the gym.

I carry around an enormous bag of newspapers, food and drinks in a drippy cooler. I’ll buy a new one when I can afford it.

While I pore through the New York Times on the treadmill, my pile of papers is the size of Chicago.

I like my music and l like it loud.

Reading, lifting weights and listening to my mix tapes music puts me in the Mile High Club.

Maybe…. I hadn’t been too mindful of my environment or the people around me.

It’s hard to be considerate of those you don’t even see.

When Magui left the Y for a better job, I had my opening.

It’s so easy for me to feel inferior because I have bipolar disorder. It just isn’t right.

I approached the manager of the cardio room, a beautiful woman named Jeanneatte.

Magui had identified her as the main source of all the scuttlebutt.

According to Magui, she was the one keeping it alive.

I smiled and lied to her face.

“Hey, Jeanneatte…hi…uh…a current employee told me that you guys make fun of me and my bipolar disorder.”

She looked troubled. Probably trying to figure out which employee had outed her. Lol.

I lied again.

“Oh Jeanneatte,” I know it wasn’t YOU, I know YOU’RE not that kind of person. …What I really want is to thank you for the job you do. I get all my ideas for my articles and blogs right here.”

Her jaw dropped. I don’t think she ever considered I have a working brain.

“So,” I ventured, “What can I do to make your job easier?”

“Well,” You bring an awful lot of bags. Maybe you could use the lockers??”

“I’m Pre-Diabetic,” (True).. “It’s a side effect of my medication FOR BIPOLAR DISORDER,” I emphasized.

“I need healthy food when my blood sugar—”

“Oh,” she cut in, “I’m soooooooo sooorry.  You can bring anything you need.  Maybe If you put your bags closer to the wall you’d take up less space.”


Lying again, I said, “Jeanneatte, I appreciate getting to know you a little better. I’m sorry about the mess. I’ll be neater.”

I feel a little bad about telling all these lies, especially the one about getting to know her better.

I lied because I love that gym and still want to go there, without discord or aggravation.

That gym is mine, not hers.

She just works there.

It’s so easy for me to feel inferior because I have bipolar disorder. It just isn’t right.

I pay my dues, so technically, I’m her boss, bipolar or not.

That doesn’t mean I have to like her-I only have to get along with her.

I’m headed to the gym now.  Right after I eat my oatmeal, low sugar raspberries and pack my drippy cooler.

Only this time, I’m taking a towel to put under it.

And that’s the God’s honest truth.

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