Living with mental illness can be extremely frustrating, even during times where it is seemingly under control. Here are my top most frustrating things about being bipolar.
Nobody really gets it
Whilst some mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety, have gained a lot of exposure and taken huge steps forwards in society, bipolar disorder remains wildly misunderstood. Some people have simply never heard of it, others may have seen depictions of the disorder through TV or film characters. These characters are usually either completely together and having no issues what-so-ever, or completely off the rail. This is not at all realistic, these writers really don’t have a clue.
Constantly looking for warning signs
Living with bipolar disorder means constantly being on the look out for warning signs and signals that may indicate a mood shift. I have to take note of everything, how much sleep have I had, how much energy do I have, how creative am I, how confident am I, am I talking too fast, am I impatient or irritable, it goes on and on. Looking for these symptoms and knowing what they manifest as in your own personal experience is key to managing the episodes both with and without medication.
Bad mood or mood shift?
After constantly checking for any sign of a mood shift, be it towards depression or mania, it is hard not to find something. Then the difficulty lies in finding out, am I just having a good/off day today, or is this the start of an episode. It’s honestly exhausting, constantly analysing everything going on internally and externally, this leads me to constantly doubt my decision making at times, as I don’t know if I was influenced by my bipolar.
It doesn’t go away
Bipolar disorder is not curable, it can be managed but it will never go away. It is possible for some to manage their bipolar without medication, through exercise and routine, but for many medication is key to be balanced and fully stable. It is a rollercoaster, a life filled with extreme ups and downs that sees no end. See my post here on managing bipolar depression here.
I don’t want it to go away
When I am having a depression episode, I want nothing more than to be stable and vow not to ever mess with my treatment again. The next thing I know I’m perfectly balanced, and completely bored. Without my rollercoaster, life is a lot less exciting, so I end up going off my medication and starting the cycle all over again.
I talk openly and honestly here about my experiences with bipolar, in real life with people I love, I avoid talking about things with a high level of stigma, such as psychosis or suicidal ideation. I stand up for the fact that I shouldn’t be ashamed of my disorder, I didn’t ask for this, but even I feel I could do without the hassle of them freaking out on top of what I am going through. This is no fault of theirs, I just don’t believe the majority of people are not educated enough to understand this element of the disorder.