How Are You? – I’m Not Fine, I’m Bipolar
Out there, in the world, we must be asked how we are 20 times a day. People ask it on the phone, in line at the grocery store, face-to-face and pretty much anywhere two humans intersect with each other. And, of course, the answer to the question as to how you are is, “I’m fine.” And there’s nothing wrong with that as an answer, really. The person who asked the question likely doesn’t want to know how you really are anyway.
But what about when you tell your friends and family that you’re fine when really you’re anything but? What about when you lie your heart out, tacitly or no, showing and saying that everything is “normal” and peachy-keen? What about when you are a big, fat liar to those that you love?
Lying about Bipolar Disorder
I believe most of us without well-controlled bipolar disorder do this all the time. Who wants to answer the how are you question with, “I’m horrendously depressed,” or “I feel a mania coming on,” or “I’m in pain because of my self-harm from last night?” No one, that’s who.
But all this lying takes a toll on your soul. No one likes being a liar. No one enjoys having to lie to people. It feels like living two separate lives – the one that exists in bipolar suffering at home, and the one that people perceive thanks to our lies.
Being a Liar is Another Reason to Hate Yourself
People with bipolar disorder tend to have low self-esteem so the kicker is, all this lying is just another reason to hate ourselves. Perhaps it shouldn’t be. Perhaps it should be seen as an understandable reaction to an impossible situation, but the sick side of our brain’s looks for reasons to hate and this is one that’s easy to cling to.
I’m Sorry for Lying about Bipolar Disorder
I feel sorry for lying about bipolar disorder so much; I do. I just don’t see any way around it. I think it’s best for me and it’s best for the people around me. No one wants to get bogged down in my bipolar reality all the time and I understand that. Let’s face it, I sure wouldn’t want it, but I’m forced to do it anyway.
I think the secret to this is telling the truth whenever possible (even when we don’t want to) and to let ourselves off the hook for the rest. I think that sometimes we lie when we could tell the truth, when the person really does want to know how we really are, but we lie anyway. It’s convenient. It avoids their worry. It probably avoids an uncomfortable conversation.
But uncomfortable conversations are a part of life as is worry and maybe it’s worth telling the truth when we don’t want to just to have an honest piece of our lives. To have a safe space where one person really knows how we’re doing. Maybe that safe space is all we need. It’s a breath in an otherwise choking disorder.
(Oh, and I know some people aren’t going to like the title. What can I say, sometimes I use the English language in a correct way that ticks people off.)
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.