7 Things Only People With Bipolar Will Understand


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1. Explaining to people that there is a difference between “moody” and “bipolar” 

I had told a colleague that I have bipolar and she laughed. When she saw that I wasn’t laughing with her, she asked me if I was serious with my claim. This is very common for me. Unfortunately many people mistake moodiness with bipolar. However, one cannot really blame them. The media is full of examples in which mental illnesses are used as adjectives: “I feel so depressed”, “She always makes me take off my shoes; so OCD”. 

2. You feel like you are sharing your body with a stranger 

You wake up and you are on cloud nine for no apparent reason. All you want to do is dance and sing and possibly skip work. You know, however, that you are a responsible person who enjoys work, and dancing isn’t your thing. There are moments in my manic episodes when I ask myself if I was the one who did all of those crazy things. Manic episodes for me can be anything from reckless spending to binge eating. Credit card receipts and bank notifications act as the only proof that I am the one who brought my bank balance to zero. 

3. You have developed a thick skin 

Stigma is very real when living with a mental illness. I remember when I became vocal about the pain and darkness I feel every time I experience a depressive state; I had people telling me to stop. For some reason, being open about my illness made people uncomfortable, and some even began to distance themselves from me. Losing a friend is hard, but the thought of helping another always keeps me motivated – even on days when people try and be nasty about it. 

4. Some people think you take pills for fun

The first thing I do when I wake up is take my medication, because I know how important it is for me. Many people have questioned whether I really need medication to manage my bipolar. The answer is YES! There are people who manage their mental illness very well without taking anything for it, but I am not one of them. I remember very well the person I was when I was off medication: I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t concentrate, had hallucinations at times, and was always irritable and suicidal. I prefer to not go back to that place.

5. Explaining to people why you can’t drink alcohol

You go to a party and all you have a juice, or in my case, tea. People look at you funny. They ask if you can’t find the alcohol of your choice at the event. When this happens I smile and politely tell whoever is asking “My medication doesn’t allow me to drink”. Some will look puzzled and walk away, while others will ask why this is the case.

6. Relationships can be challenging

The depressive side of bipolar is very familiar territory for me. It is in this space that the self-loathing manifests and spills over into all my relationships. I cut myself off because I feel like I am too ugly, too boring, too annoying, or whatever other false truths the depression feeds me. All of my relationships have suffered because of it, and some still continue to suffer. You can only cancel so many times before people stop inviting you to parties or dinners. I would break up with people who loved me because I thought they just felt pity for me, and I would enter abusive relationships because I believed that is all I deserved.

The only way to have a healthy relationship is to work on it, and that is what I now do continuously. I listen to the advice my mother gives me, I try my best to attend all events I’m invited to, and I’m open about my illness in romantic relationships.

7. You are stronger than you give yourself credit for

There are days when all you want to do is keep sleeping, but you get up, shower, and have breakfast. That, even though very small, is an achievement. The small triumphs are the ones that remind us that bipolar is not winning.  So don’t be too hard on yourself when you are having a bad day.

To read more from Ros, see the rest of her posts for IBPF here, visit her website, or read her contributions to The Mighty.


7 Things Only People With Bipolar Will Understand

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Bonjour, je n'ai même pas encore 40 ans, je suis fibromyalgique, j'ai un petit garçon de 2 ans, et je vis dans cette souffrance, mais dû a ma personnalité je ne peux pas rester sans rien faire, car ça me tue encore plus que la douleur. Je précise que j’écris le français que a 5 ou presque 6 ans maintenant et je parle et écris aussi d'autres langues, donc je fais des erreurs de orthographe et de grammaire. Le problème c'est que je ne peux presque plus marcher (béquilles et difficile), être assis durant plus de 15 à 30 minutes ça me tue le cul cul et le dos, même pour soulever mon petit qui pèse a peine 12 kg, mais on dirait un sac de ciment du type 50 kg. Lui changer la couche me fait trembler les jambes et on dirait qu'on me plante un couteau au fond du dos, même mes épaules et bras quand je soulève ces fesses me font mal, même quand je lui donne la soupe avec une petite cuiller mon bras se fatigue vite et les douleurs arrivent, L'autre jour on lui donnant la soupe j'ai appuyé mon bras sur le plateau de ça chaise et il a commencé à trembler violemment, que même mon petit de 2 ans a eu peur. Sur ma page j'assume l'identité de tous les fibromyalgiques du moins de ceux qui veulent me suivre sous le pseudonyme de "MafibromaVie" ou de "FiFi le clown", finalement nous sommes tous des Clows au yeux de trop de gens, d’État, de Pays, et de Communauté dans notre cas la UE! Je ne suis pas une personnalité et je ne recherche aucune reconnaissance publique. Je suis simplement une personne comme toutes les autres, comme vous qui souffrait peut être aussi de Fibromyalgie, et qui a ouvert une simple page privée ou j'ecris ma vie de fibromyalgique pour suivie médicale par mon médecin. Ben après avec le temps, l'histoire a changé beaucoup de monde a commencer a me suivre 50,100,1000 et maintenant plus de 3000. Je parlais plus de moi au début et maintenant plus de nous et pour vous, ainsi c'est crée une page de partage, aide, soutien, et de discussion pour tous les fibros.

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