Feeling misunderstood with bipolar disorder is common.
I wrote a post a while ago whilst in quite an intense episode of both mania and depression which I will link here, and in this post I express a lot of anger and frustration. Reading through it I also note a deep sadness I failed to communicate among my anger towards feeling misunderstood.
I apologise for the amount of swearing in this post, but I chose not to edit what I felt at the time. For the most part, I felt so frustrated and misunderstood. Going through a misdiagnosis and a mixed episode, people would offer me advice in all directions and they felt so invalidating to me, like the answer was that simple and I was just stupid to think this way. I understand now that they were just trying to offer support in some cases, people don’t understand bipolar and that is not necessarily their fault.
This doesn’t make it any less frustrating though.
I am at a stage now where I just don’t really know who to turn to. I have a lot of options but nobody I feel truly understands. Even friends of mine with bipolar seem so closed about it, I don’t understand that. I just want someone to listen to me, empathise, tell me they’re here for me and not go silent on me when I speak out. Why is that so hard?
It really hurts when my experiences of mania or depression are invalidated, when you say ‘oh I have left low too but I decided there was no point being sad’ you have not experienced bipolar depression, when you tell me I am not manic because I am not bouncing off the walls, you don’t know how my head can feel in those states. Please don’t compare my experience to your own as if they must be identical, everyone is different with or without mental illness.
I was asked at work how good my support network was at home, and I hadn’t admitted before then that it feels lacking. However, I feel incredibly guilty for saying this. Especially as I don’t always reach out, but this is due to the frustrating responses I get when I do.
It hurts, I know my loved ones care for me and want the best for me, it isn’t their fault they don’t know how to help me. They could so easily research bipolar disorder and understand, surely? So why don’t they?
It leaves me feeling so alone.
Then I turn to people who really should understand, other bipolar sufferers, professionals. They have so little to offer up sometimes, I don’t know why we aren’t on the same page. They just say nothing, as if in shock. Or say something awful like telling me I am possessed! Why? You experience this albeit milder perhaps.
I appreciate the support I receive, and for the majority of the time it is more than enough. Just sometimes, I feel so overwhelmed with emotions and as if I have nowhere to turn.
I am getting better at reaching out though, I fear I will be so let down but I wont give up on people fully just yet.