Hating My Life with Bipolar Disorder
Recently, I wrote a Facebook post and someone said it indicated that I hate my life. This is not something I said, but hating a life with bipolar disorder is a pretty easy thing to do. But I have to be clear on something: I don’t just have one life – none of us do. So saying “I hate my life,” is a blanket statement that just isn’t true. It’s a judgment, and it’s not fair.
My Facebook Post on “Hating My Life”
This is what I wrote on Facebook:
So, people think I’m magical. People constantly ask me how a person with bipolar can write a book and do what I do. I totally get this. I guess I make it look easy.
It really isn’t. It’s really impossibly hard.
I want people to know I’m not magical. I’m struggling. It is extremely hard. I do my best to do my job, but that doesn’t make it easy. I often feel like everything is falling apart because of the bipolar — just like everyone else.
In short, while some would consider me “high-functioning,” that doesn’t mean bipolar isn’t trying to kill me one cell at a time.
In this Facebook post, I was trying to tell people – my fans mostly – that I’m human, and just like them, I have troubles with bipolar disorder. And, just like them, bipolar disorder is a very hard thing to fight. I did this because some people put me on a pedestal and I just wanted to make it clear that, no, I don’t live there. Note, that nowhere in that post did I say I hate my life.
Interestingly, some people commented on this post that I should actually share more of my personal struggles than I do.
However, one commenter had this to say:
I’ve been reading your work for a long time now, and there’s a running theme of ‘I hate myself, I don’t deserve happiness, My life is terrible’. It’d really get me down if you were the only bipolar blogger I followed. I’m glad you help people, but I’m saddened by how much you seem to despise your life. I mean, I know children don’t equal happiness, but you are voluntarily taking your genes off the market because of your disorder, you don’t think vacationing with bipolar disorder is a good idea because it can disrupt your routine and trigger an episode, and then this post. Those are just a few episodes I can think of off the top of my head where you share your misery with the masses. I mean, I’m really sorry you’re struggling atm, but it seems like you’re struggling all the time. I’m bipolar too, and I also struggle with episodes of decompensation, and yet I don’t hate my life, at least not any more than the average Joe.
And I have a few things to say about that comment.
“I Hate Myself, I Don’t Deserve Happiness, My Life Is Awful”
Okay, so, yes, that post I made on Facebook is a tough one, but, in my opinion, it’s balanced out by the oodles and oodles of writing I do on bipolar disorder. I discuss absolutely everything – from myself to the condition to pretty much everything else you can think of. And while bipolar depression can make me think I hate myself and it can make me think that I don’t deserve happiness and make me think that my life is awful, these things are not empirically true, and I’m always one to state that. I have said over and over that the bipolar brain is sick and tells these sorts of lies while the mind is not and can fight them.
Let me be clear about something, I have two lives (well, more actually, but for the sake of this exercise, let’s say two): there’s Natasha’s life, easily described by biographical details, and there’s my bipolar life, dictated by symptoms. These are not the same thing.
Now Natasha’s life is fine. If you were to look at the biographical details of my life, you would see that. I live in a condo. I have friends. I brunch. I have two fabu cats. There’s really nothing to hate there. Yes, Natasha’s life has issues (like a dead fireplace I’m going to have to go into debt to replace) but these issues are no direr than anyone else’s – mental illness or not.
On the other hand, there’s Natasha’s bipolar life. This is a horrible thing indeed. This life is full of symptoms, side effects, pain and suffering. This is a life that is almost always sick to some degree. This is a life that no one should ever have to live. And yes, I hate this life terribly.
But, as I said, my bipolar life is not my whole life. And, yes, sometimes I talk from a bipolar life perspective and sometimes I don’t. But I’m not confused about what I hate.
“I Struggle with Episodes and I Don’t Hate My Life”
Well, isn’t this commenter lucky? This commenter has “episodes of decompensation.” Lucky her. This commenter doesn’t have live almost every day with some degree of bipolar. Lucky her. It’s incredibly unfair to compare lives when one has episodes of bipolar and one has an ongoing illness.
And I see this all the time. People judge me (and others, of course) for struggling all the time. It really isn’t my fault that bipolar has taken over most of my life – that is the bipolar’s fault. This judgment is unfair and hurtful. These people have no idea how lucky they are – and it’s just luck. They could be as sick as I am and they’re not. That’s the genetic lottery. They got a better hand dealt to them then I did.
And I wish they would appreciate that luck instead of judging me for not being so lucky.
I Hate My Life – Sort Of
Yes, when it comes down to it, I hate my life with bipolar. I hate my bipolar brain. I don’t hate the parts of it that are good, but I hate the parts of it that are sick and bad. And that’s okay. It’s okay to say you hate your life and yet still appreciate all the good things you have. And no one deserves to be judged for expressing themselves in that way.
Banner image by Flickr user K-Screen Shots.
About Natasha Tracy
Natasha Tracy is an award-winning writer, speaker and consultant from the Pacific Northwest. She has been living with bipolar disorder for 18 years and has written more than 1000 articles on the subject.