“how do i explain bipolar disorder to someone?”

24 Feb

Sometimes I start talking to stranger, acquaintances, friends about this wonderful defect, this twitching glitch in my brain. I’ll candidly mention “the second time I tried to kill myself” or “when I was on the psych ward” or even, “last time I was at the mall, I kept hearing things calling my name. heh.” I’ll keep talking, glad to be open and rational about my disorder, until I glance up and notice the looks of horror or fear on the faces before me. The sheer inability to understand.

Explaining bipolar to a “normal” is difficult. I have noticed that first off the “oh, I get depressed sometimes too” line will come out, about 70% of the time.

This line irritates me so much I want to spoon out their eyeballs and make soup. I know it’s an attempt to relate and empathize. But it comes of as condescending and like they wish to minimize what I’ve been through.

Some people have relatives with bipolar though, or DID, or other disorders, and they will quietly admit to this, as if they’re the family demons and by speaking of them they get stronger. Like it’s something to be ashamed of.

It’s rare that anyone actually wants to hear the truth, the story behind it. What happens, and why.

I’ve had the chance, the odd time, to really explain what happens. And I’m as pointed and clear and realistic as I can be.

I explain the huge variations in mood, like summer to winter, with no chance for spring. My head can wrap itself around and convince itself that those I love hate me, or that I hate them, or that they’re spying on me, or plotting against me.

I can become paranoid, even when medicated. Patterns which would otherwise be meaningless can make me question what I’m seeing. I worry that attention not paid to me is not friendship, but betrayal.

Sometimes, all I want, more than anything, is to die. Or rather, to just not exist. It’s not a matter of wanting to die-it’s when the pain is so bad, so all consuming that it colors every.single.thing. in your world, being numb, being sterile and white and blinding sounds like SUCH a good idea, even if you need to get there to die. It’s a drive, a mission to find a dry place, a soundproof place where the voices in your head have nothing to say, and you don’t ache with the pain you imagine a star could be borne of.

The death part is the hardest to understand. A rational, normal person thinks of suicide as anathema, as well they should. But I’ve always found the suicidal urges to be the simplest. Wake up, have pancakes, pick out a shirt, maybe today I’ll do it, maybe not, ham would be nice for dinner. Just the endless loop of “just maybe”. No one likes to know about this part. (Incidentally, this has been the bit that’s most isolating, and I just really don’t have anyone to talk to about it, which is how I usually work through stuff. It’s pretty much a conversation killer)

I might talk about my mania. Thankfully mine isn’t so bad, especially medicated, but I still become infuriated when normal people talk about “how manic!” they are after a cup of coffee. (The word is hyper. Not manic) I’ve explained my black rages to people, those where I can barely rein in my anger, looking through bloody, lidded eyes. I’ve explained the agitation, akin to having creatures crawling underneath and through my skin, inability to sit still, be quiet, keep money in my pocket.

People think mania sounds “neat”.

I don’t know if you can explain away that theory. To them, mania is being happy and fun. Even for me, who rarely gets very manic, especially on the meds, it’s not fun. It’s scary. A few months back, I had a week where I was insanely manic, for me, considering I’ m medicated. I could have sworn I was floating for a few days, I was so euphoric. I couldn’t focus, I could barely see straight. I vibrated.

Not neat. But to the outsider, there aren’t enough adjectives to convey the sense of slow plodding insanity mania can give you.

I always take pain to point out that I’m otherwise normal. That with the exception of my bad moments, on medication, I’m mostly like others. Sure, I still need to work harder at some things. I’ll never be as organized as a lot of people, I’ll never be able to focus as clearly as I did before I got sick. But I still get the flu. I laugh at fart jokes. I have baggage. I’m still human.

And really, that’s what this always boils down to. Conveying to people our humanity-that mental illness hasn’t stripped that away. Sure, I’m sick. But that doesn’t make me less of a wife, or mother, or friend. If anything, I’m more human, as the experience, the internal experiences I’ve been through make me fuller than any trip or purchase could make me. I have a wealth of knowledge and living behind me, something that’s made me, even sick me, so much more of a person than I would have been.

Explain our humanity. It’s all up hill from there.


37 Responses to ““how do i explain bipolar disorder to someone?””

  1. Betsey February 25, 2009 at 12:05 am #

    I know I’m low when I think about the tallest building I can think of to jump off of, while I’m making out my grocery list.

  2. misspudding February 25, 2009 at 12:17 am #

    I think your last paragraph nails it on the head. I think folks with mental illness just have pieces of their head which work a lot harder than others. Therefore, you’re just more human. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Pamala February 25, 2009 at 1:31 am #

    My poor husband is still going through just finding the right meds to manage his and his manic phases never were about being happy, it was just plain craziness in the brain. Now he still gets some of that but he’s able to work through it better instead of acting out like he had in the past. I’ve never seen his disorder as something to be embarrassed about though, I’m pretty open with it. I know he’s not happy he has it and seems angry that he can’t control it, but it is what it is. I know people don’t understand what he has, and what it means but I’m not going to hide something we live with just as I don’t hide my daughter’s health issues either.

  4. Jenny February 25, 2009 at 4:47 am #

    Thanks for this post Thordora,

    The “I get a bit depressed” thing annoys me too, especially when they mean it as in some days they feel sad (but can still function like any other “normal”, human being) BD is so much more than that.

    I try and explain it to people as not so much a change of mood as a change of perceptions.

    When I’m up I feel like nothing, absolutely nothing bad can ever come of anything, no consequences; and when I’m down I’m convinced that things will never be good again, no matter what.

    But I only get the opportunity to do that if someone asks…

    On the whole people I’ve told have tried to be understanding. There has been a lot of good media work (in the UK at least) trying to reduce the stigma, but then you read polls that say 68% of employers wouldn’t hire someone if they knew they had a mental illness and it sucks.

    And the hardest bit for me is explaining how I’m still not 100%, even medicated and stable. Like you, I’m not the person I was. I tire easily, my memory isn’t what it was. I get overloaded in situations I used to sail through.

    And because I’m “well” at the moment, I get the feeling from some people that they see these aspects of my illness as “she’s just being lazy, she needs to get out and do more” and that annoys me. And how do I balance that with making sure people still see me as a person first?

    Like you say, it’s a tough one.

    • thordora February 25, 2009 at 7:36 am #

      Yep and yep and yep. That closeted assumption that we’re lazy drives me insane. I WISH it was just laziness. And I want my memory back. Fuck, that’s the worst part anymore.

  5. Hannah February 25, 2009 at 9:13 am #

    All this time of reading your blog, and talking to you, and the endless tweeting and I never knew that your bipolar had affected your memory. I guess because your posts about your past feel so in the moment.

    I also had a roommate in university with bipolar, and she (sadly) had a group of friends who would only hang out with her when she was manic – her total lack of perspective on the consequences of her actions at such times made her, I’m told, a kick-ass drinking buddy. They always cleared out when the inevitable crash came and she’d lay in bed for a week beating herself up because she was too disorganized to kill herself.

    Understand here that I am trying to demonstrate empathy with what you’re saying, rather than trying to be an asshat by saying “I get you”. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. Netter February 25, 2009 at 10:04 am #


    Sometimes, all I want, more than anything, is to die. Or rather, to just not exist. Itโ€™s not a matter of wanting to die-itโ€™s when the pain is so bad, so all consuming that it colors every.single.thing. in your world, being numb, being sterile and white and blinding sounds like SUCH a good idea, even if you need to get there to die. Itโ€™s a drive, a mission to find a dry place, a soundproof place where the voices in your head have nothing to say, and you donโ€™t ache with the pain you imagine a star could be borne of.

    Is the best description of my suicidal thoughts when depressed. When I’ve been at my lowest, it was always like what you’ve described. I never wanted to die when I thought about stepping in front of an oncoming bus. I didn’t want to leave my family. I just didn’t want to be anymore. I didn’t want the pain, the fear, the despair, the sheer numbness and weariness.

    Thank you for being here and putting into words what so many of us can’t or won’t express. Very few people I know in real life know I’ve thought about hurting myself. Even fewer know about the thoughts I had about my son. Most everyone who knows me knows I’ve had PPD and Depression, but I don’t share those details. I’ve been too ashamed.

    • thordora February 25, 2009 at 10:09 am #

      Netter, I don’t want you to ever be ashamed, ever again.

      We’re not the fault of our biology.

    • Randi September 8, 2015 at 3:04 pm #

      Exactly! I’ve never really felt like I truly wanted to die, just maybe disappear into some kind of nothingness where everything just goes away & I can get a little reprieve & then magically come back & feel like normal people do.

  7. Marcy February 25, 2009 at 10:13 am #

    I’m past my allotted internet time, so I’m skipping the comments this time.

    What strikes me is the simultaneous urges to clarify the sharp distinction between bipolar and “I get depressed too”, and to emphasize the common ground, the humanity, the “aside from bipolar I’m normal too”

    I don’t have bipolar, but I understand the twin urges — I want it clear that I’m different, AND I want it clear that I’m the same, and I want to be the one to define the difference and the sameness. I get offended when someone tries to do that for me.

    What is up with that — is it that their attempt to get to sameness bypasses the difference? That we want the difference understood first, and fully, before we come back to the sameness? That sounds about right.

    • thordora February 25, 2009 at 10:36 am #

      For me, it’s always about the fact that there’s a difference between being bummed (which happens still to me, and is almost sweet in comparison) and being suicidal for months on end.

      It’s like comparing a scratch to a car wreck.

      • Marcy February 26, 2009 at 9:26 am #

        That makes sense.

        Sometimes I wonder to what extent depressions and bummednesses are different in degree instead of different in kind. This is an attempt in my life to try to understand the extent to which I’m really different, and the extent to which I’m really the same.

        Sometimes I want to believe that my depressions really are different, sometimes the same but just more intense. Sometimes I want to agree that I’m just lazy or undisciplined or don’t want to get better, and I want to try harder. Sometimes I want to disagree, and wallow deeper in the pit than the moment’s symptoms really require. It’s hard to get it just right — to be right about the extent to which I’m debilitated and to be right about the extent to which I’ve got some control or agency.

        And of course, like you said, I experience different levels or kinds of depression, from the slightly bummed to the suicidal, and everything in between, which makes discerning the nature of any moment’s depression challenging. Is it the beginning of a Serious Major Episode? Or will it pass after some lunch and a glass of water? Or somewhere in between?

        And then there’s the question — does labeling or identifying each depression / bummedness really help? Or is it a matter of facing each moment as it comes and trying not to get on the meta level, where it’s about fearing the fear and despairing about the despair, about predicting the unknown future.

  8. bromac February 25, 2009 at 12:48 pm #

    First, excellent, wonderful, post.

    Second, I don’t tell people about my diagnosis b/c I know there is no way they could ever understand and I don’t want to be insulted by their minimalist assumptions about the disease and it’s effects. A lot of people know I deal with depression b/c my depressions are vast and deep and I have no ability to mask them.

    Third, I am flabbergasted that people believe mania to be good/creative. I wanted to jump into Jamison’t book and punch her for her continued insistence that the mania’s were great. Great! Fucking Great! There is nothing great about a mania, at least not mine.

    Last, it absolutely infuriates me when people say “keep your chin up” or “try to focus on something positive”. Ok, why don’t you jump into my fucking brain for about three seconds and see what it feels like to self-loathe and be battered, constantly, by negative thoughts. Why don’t you fucking see if you can control it the way you’re insinuating I can.

  9. LarryLily February 25, 2009 at 2:04 pm #

    I am sarcastic, so ignore my comedy as being a true sign of gross ignorance, however I had people in my life that were bipolar. My first wife was a bi-polar MPD woman which made me almost a practicing Morman, since it was like being married to three people and two of them were nucking futz. In all seriousness, it was not fun, and until we had put the finger on it, it was at times scary. And it is also somewhat hereditary. I am convinced that my daughters problems just prior to her suicide was from her being bipolar, the classic happy today, sullen deep depressed the next, with hormonal rages thrown in for a masking agent and typical teenage angst as a cherry on top.

    Yeah, some people cant cope, dont know how to or simply, they just dont have a perspective. It is at times well within “normalcy”, but its not at the same time. I understand where you are at.

    And while I make light of ALL things serious, I also truly understand the demon you dance with.

  10. Nicki February 25, 2009 at 6:00 pm #

    I’m not exactly what you’d call “normal” but I realize that I cannot possibly fully understand what you’re going through. I do know, though, that I wouldn’t wish BPD on anyone.

    My step-daughter’s mother is bi-polar, but she refuses to get help. I’ve seen her be all happy one moment, everything’s sunshine and daisies, then turn around and behave like a raving monster who hates the first person she sees. She’s gone from one minute accusing me of trying to take her daughter away from her to wanting to be my best friend the next.

    So, no, I can’t comprehend what it’s like … but I’m praying for both of you.

  11. Heather B. March 5, 2009 at 1:50 am #

    Even though I “bother you” (as was the label on your post in which you also linked to me) I will say that I do understand what it’s like to be bipolar. Even worse when you have to hide it everyday and be ‘normal’ and being ‘normal’ literally takes everything out of you.

    • thordora March 5, 2009 at 1:54 am #

      The bothering isn’t you-it’s the entire fricken argument that will occur for all time-that having kids/not having kids has a superior ending.

      Not a personal bother. ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Martin April 10, 2009 at 7:11 pm #

    Thanks, this is a really useful article. It’s easy to find out all the clinical details of BP. But because you made this very personal, and included the kinds of dysfunctions that others don’t understand, it really resonates. There’s a few people of mine will be receiving it!

    • thordora April 10, 2009 at 9:01 pm #

      I’m glad to hear that Martin. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Martin April 12, 2009 at 6:14 pm #

    About this “mania is good” perception – I have to admit, this is sometimes my own misguided perception. I’m longtime BP-1, and sometimes after long periods of depression, the onset of mania is a little piece of heaven. Suddenly I feel alive and can get things done. Of course, it can be disastrous too.

    Twice in the past I took myself off my psych meds for this very reason. Not something anyone can condone, myself included. But when it feels like a choice between being suicidal versus bursting into life with such energy, you know, what are you gonna choose?

    • thordora April 13, 2009 at 5:47 pm #

      Hey, don’t get me wrong. I *can* enjoy the mania. It’s just the perception that having bipolar is way cool and awesome because of the manic that drives me insane. I’d just rather NOT be a fucking teeter totter, kwim?

      • Martin April 14, 2009 at 2:29 am #

        Yeah, I kwym alright ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Ann September 24, 2009 at 12:56 am #

    I can’t thank you enough for writing this. Even though I am only 16 years old, I feel like I have felt more emotional pain than anyone normal feels in their lifetime. Yet I also know that I haven’t truthfully experienced as many painful things than most people. Things just hurt me so much more.

    Things that make most people get simple bothered make me scream and cry like some part of me died. It often feels like that does happen. I know I deal with it in the wrong ways, breaking things and hurting myself, but it feels like there is nothing else for me to do. I get so overwhelmed with my emotions that I feel like my emotions could burst through my skull and paint the world white because of my pain.

    Nothing hurts more than not being understood. Rarely do I meet another person who can even begin to fathom my pain and can understand how much my heart breaks with every problem that arises. My father and aunt are the only other truly bipolar people I know. I don’t know if anyone will ever be able to love me. Nobody normal could possibly understand the thoughts that pound in my head. The paranoia is unbearable. It screams things that I don’t want to face. It shoves them in my face so there is nothing else I can see. So I look at life with this paranoia. Even the most innocent things are warped by my thoughts. I wish I could just cease to think, to live, to love. Love means little more than heartbreak to me.

    This article showed me how to tell people these things. I knew these things any more but I could not begin to fathom how to explain it to them. Still, they will never comprehend it, but at least I can try to explain now.

    Thank you so much.

    • Ann October 1, 2009 at 11:09 pm #

      Yes, I am currently receiving treatment for bipolar, anxiety, and ADD. I’ve tried so many medications that I can’t remember them when my psychiatrist asks me. It would help if she wrote that stuff down. For the last 2 months I was taking a medication for PMDD, it turned out that that medication is not something you should take with Lamictal. It turns out that taking both medications pretty much negates the effects of lamictal. Every time I tell my psychiatrist that I don’t think the medication is working, she tells me it is my fault for not trying hard enough to get better. I wasn’t listening to self-help tapes for fun, but apparently that still means I’m not trying.

      In some ways I find myself lucky, because along with bipolar I am also OCD. I am absolutely obsessed with being perfect. This (on most occasions) keeps me in line in public because I fear being seen as imperfect if I react too badly. Though as you know, that can only get me so far. In the last month I’ve broken a bookcase, shutters, chairs, and put a few holes in my wall. Some of which I did with my head. I am a very fast cycler. I will bash walls and cut myself one hour and the next I’ll be laughing and joking around, then I go back to being down. I never tell my parents, because they constantly threaten to put me in a mental hospital. I can’t decide whether it would be good for me, or if it would tear me apart. I’m addicted to being with the ones I love, and then not being there, always around me, would tear me to pieces. I am an AP student and the top of my academy of engineering, but my cycles of depression and mania make it hard for me to keep up with my work and no matter how hard I try to explain this to my teachers, they refuse to even try to understand. But because of this degree of control, nobody knows how much I am hurting inside. They don’t take me seriously. So when I am alone, it manifests in the form of hurting myself. Quietly, hidden, unknown to anyone but my closest friends. It distracts me from the emotional pain of the moment, and I desperately hope that it will show them how I feel. How much pain I am in to make me do those things. I know it must sounds stupid.

      I don’t think my mother and friends realize how much it hurts me when they make fun of me for my behavior. My mother calls me crazy, my friends tell me I’m overemotional, and my boyfriend tells me I’m a bitch. I know I can be these things, but I wish they realized that they didn’t need to inform me of things I already know. I feel like they have come to look at me like the “boy who cried wolf”. They treat me like I’m getting upset for fun. If only they really knew, then they wouldn’t even think that. But I would never wish this pain on anyone I love or care about. I wish there was another way they would know so they could care.

      My mother and boyfriend tell me that how I feel is my fault. That I choose to feel this way. That I would be perfectly fine if I stopped pitying myself. I’ve tried. It’s hard when every day someone puts me down. They call me ugly, annoying, bitchy, and overemotional. It wears me down. They don’t realize that I can’t take much more of this.

      I feel like I could get a much better grip of myself if only I could at least rid myself of the paranoia. The paranoia that seems to be the most prominent emotion in my mind at all times. My main trigger for depression. Paranoia of people not caring about me, betraying me, and overall hurting me. I know I’m too fragile right now to handle that. I’m too fragile to handle anything when I’m in this state.

      I’m sick of being singled out because of this disorder. My boyfriend is going to Disney soon for the food and wine festival with his parents but because I am bipolar they don’t want to take me. They say they don’t want to be responsible for “someone like me”. I have never lost my temper or control when others were caring for me before and yet I am still treated this way for letting out my feelings when I am alone.

  15. andy December 13, 2009 at 3:42 pm #

    Its all about ambivalence, all is good all is bad, whats the diifference. I lost the ability many years ago to tell any difference. For me he main pain is the risk behaviour, sex drugs alcohol gambling self harm, all hurt. In the happiest moment I think of suicide, not of death but escape and relief

  16. andy December 13, 2009 at 3:44 pm #

    To my dear wife who will read this I’m sure. Just read and say nothing

  17. helen February 8, 2010 at 2:16 pm #

    I have been dealing with this horrible thing they call bi-polar I don’t think I could hate anyone enough to wish this on them, when I first came up with this I thought i was just nuts that was 22 years ago and when mental illness was hush hush so I dared tell noone but I would have such anger and I was always such a happy go luckey always positive till then I would cuss my poor kids out go to the restroom and cry my eyes out then do it again it was a roller coaster then one year I started not being able to breath good so at that time is when the AIDs thing was on tv all the time so I convinced myself I had AIDS had ten twelve don’t remember how many tests done all were negitive my family doctor told me that i was not at risk for aids no drugs did not sleep around no blood transfusions etc. then it got so bad i went to bed and stayed in bed for 1 year of that year I do not remember much like taking a bath or my kiids I do remember one of my kiids asking my mom if i was going to die but nothing would make me get up then just like i went to bed i got up and i was ok for a while in that time i got pregnant with my twins that are 20 now so i was so excited to be pg. not knowing yet it was twins then in my 4th month i found out i was having twins i was more excited that would make 5 kids for me ok so remember the aids thing it came back so off to wal-mart i go to buy castor oil and orange juice so i could make myself miscarry i could not bring two babies into the world just to die but thank GOD i did not do it and went and asked for help finally someone told me what i had not that it made it any better but at least i knew what was going on. So since then i hav e attempted suicied two times the last almost succeeding i was in icu for two weeks then straight to a mental hospital for the fourth time and it is up and down even on my meds I just can’t seem to do anything good enough for anybody except my kids they know their mom and they love me anyway. But outsiders say get over it or i get depressed but i get out of it i wish it was that easy sometimes i wish that i could just go to sleep and not wake up i don’t want to die i know i have so much to live for i have five beautiful grandkids that i love more than life itself but the pain and the agony of this horrible thing i have like some of you i am 85% depression and even though the manic can be horrible i do enjoy it that is the only time i feel pretty and full of life i can remember when i was full of life those were such good days now i just have my memories of that person.

  18. robert March 23, 2010 at 10:21 am #

    I have trouble remebering all the trouble I caused and the hurtful things I said. Anyone else having this problem or is it just me? I find people pissed at me for things I said and did but can’t remember what it was.

  19. bipolaraffectivedisorders December 3, 2010 at 8:29 am #

    How does one treats the disorder bipolar affective?
    Effective treatment of bipolar disorder is often based on the combination of several elements including the following: PHARMACOTHERAPY The drugs are the key to treatment of bipolar disorder.
    Drug therapy is effective in 75-80% of cases about.
    In the remaining 20%, it can lead to significant reduction of the effects of the disease.at

  20. Joker March 2, 2011 at 5:10 pm #

    finally someone that understands & can explain how it feels to be this way. made me tear up knowing that someone said what couldnt find words for. i feel releif in knowing this. hopefully more people will read this & understand how this “thing” makes us into something that we have no control over sometimes. then having to pick up the pieces left in its wake like some natural disaster, that we have to say im sorry for & people think that was really us. it makes life harder than it needs to be, but we keep going hoping that we dont mess up what left of or lives by hurting everyone & thing. thank you for understanding

  21. mizzira ahmed March 9, 2012 at 3:41 pm #

    Omg I can totally relate to this! Explained it perfectly!

  22. Fallon Randazzo April 14, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

    I can completely relate to this article. I have been suffering from this shit they call “Bipolar Disorder” for many years now. My life has been nothing but a roller coaster, all of which has been a blur. I can’t remember a lot of things that i had said and done. In many of my rages, i swear i blacked out. Its like i get caught in a blind rage and all i can see is red and i am going to take every one down with me. Every day of my life has been a one way ticket to disaster. I am very impulsive, I lose a lot of sleep and I can barely keep my head on straight. Its hard to try to explain to others what i feel, but all i can say is that it feels like i am fine one moment and then a “switch” in my brain goes on or off and it is like my brain chooses for me what emotion i am going to feel. it gives me no warning and there is usually no obvious trigger for it. it seems like i have no control. Where those who are, lets say “normal” can control their temper and choose to take some deep breaths and calm down…i cannot. I simply have to wait for my “episode” to calm itself down whenever it is ready to do so and i have no say in the matter.
    I have ruined my relationships and jobs and my social life with friends and family because of my rage and constant mood swings. Each time i get something good going, it gets ruined and i have to start all over again with a new boyfriend, a new friendship, a new job, etc. Thank god for family. They don’t all understand it, but they support me and love me and although i have hurt them, they remain by my side. Though, there have been times when my family has been fed up and ready to kick me to the curb, but they have forgiven me and we have moved on. My father is also bipolar, but he doesn’t know it. He thinks the way he acts is perfectly fine. He won’t accept any help. Though, lord knows he is a lit fuse and a very easily irritated man. He can go from laughing and joking around with me to screaming at me and disowning me all in just five minutes.
    Anyway, i didn’t mean to make this so long. I apologize. But this is a little bit of me.
    Thanks for this blog/article. It made me laugh a bit only because i know exactly what you are talking about and it is equally as frustrating to me.

  23. Chanda Wall December 8, 2012 at 10:23 am #

    I really hate when people tell me to stop feeling sorry for myself especially my husband nobody can understand the feeling unless it had somebody close to them die the the deep sorrowful feeling inside your ch

  24. Bilzmom May 28, 2013 at 2:36 pm #

    I love your description of thoughts. And the idea that people think mania is neat can be added on by saying that people seem to think bipolar is the latest fad. Nothing enrages me more than hearing someone say that “Sister Sally” is a little bipolar. Or because “Brother Bob” is moody he’s got bipolar. Is it a joke?

  25. aryserasure July 11, 2013 at 12:06 am #

    Reblogged this on what ails you?.

  26. aryserasure July 11, 2013 at 12:10 am #

    This is exactly what I needed to read right now. Damn fine job.

  27. Randi September 8, 2015 at 10:49 pm #

    I know this was written a long time ago but I just found it today & your description of what living with bipolar disorder feels like is the absolute best I’ve ever seen! I was diagnosed in my early twenties after my best friend found out I was cutting. She smacked my leg playing around & I screamed, she lifted the leg of my loose fitting shorts & saw row after row of cuts on both legs. She freaked out thinking my husband at the time had done it & was ready to kill him with her bare hands, that’s when the painful task of explaining I had done it to myself began. Horrified, embarrassed, ashamed, humiliated are just a few of the words that come to mind when I remember having to tell her that there was something wrong with me, I didn’t know what it was & I didn’t know why I hurt myself only that it felt “better” which of course makes zero sense to anyone who hasn’t been through it. I know now that it was a good thing that she found out because honestly without her I truly don’t know if I’d even be here today. No matter how nuts I got, how quickly my moods would cycle or how low I sunk, just wanting to be left alone, she never left my side, gave up on me or judged me, for that I will always be grateful because there’s not many people who would have been there the way she was. With her encouragement & support I sought help. I’m now 35 years old & my bipolar has run the gamut. I’ve been off medicine now for a little over 10 years (since I got pregnant with my first child), I hated that zombie feeling, like I was just going through the motions with no real emotions, good or bad. There’s been quite a few times throughout these years that I’ve known I need to get back on medicine but usually due to lack of insurance it wasn’t an option. The past five or so years have been unusually rough & I know now that if I ever want to have a semi-normal life I have to get back on my medication & hopefully this time find a combination that works without feeling like I’m on autopilot just going through the motions. I’m actually really excited to go back to the doctor in a few days & start working toward regulating my illness. My lows are so incredibly low it’s almost like I don’t even feel alive anyway so what could it hurt. I’m an extremely fast cycler, my moods swing so quickly & to such extremes I feel like I’m giving myself whiplash much less how they affect my family. Until your words I’ve never heard anyone say that they also experience blinding rages in their manic state. I always thought that since I’ve never seen it mentioned that it must not be a part of BP & there was something else wrong with me on top of BP. It’s so nice to finally not feel alone with that, it’s the stage I’ve always feared the most. Thank you again for your awesome post!!

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