I’m Tired of Lying to Myself About My Bipolar Disorder

I lie to myself about bipolar. I lie to myself about everything being fine. I lie to myself about the next day being a clean slate and possibly a beautiful one. I lie to myself about the possibility of falling in love. I lie to myself that the bipolar isn’t that bad. I just lie and lie and lie and lie.

The Lies About Bipolar

The lies I tell myself about bipolar are all about my life and possibility of getting better, or, at least, my life getting better. Bipolar has, after all, demolished parts of it. The lies about bipolar are about my pain today, my pain tomorrow, and my pain the next day. My lies about bipolar are about what I can do and what my goals can be. My lies about bipolar are the lies I tell myself to pretend I can be like other people.

An Example of a Bipolar Lie

I met this girl. And I felt something. This virtually never happens to me. I walk through this world not being attracted to people. I assume it’s the depression, the bipolar, the medication’s influence on my brain.

I lie to myself about my bipolar disorder. These lies are critical to keep me going but I'm tired of lying to myself about bipolar.But this girl broke through that for some reason. For some reason, I really enjoyed talking to her. For some reason when I talked to her I felt the tiniest spark. I felt like I want to know her more. I even wanted to give her my number. I thought to myself, “Maybe we could date.” (What the hell was that about?)

And then, this morning, I was making coffee and I realized something: I would be a very bad girlfriend. I realized I would have the most difficult of times trying to wedge another human being into my life. I realized the games I would have to play in my own brain to act in a way another human would find acceptable would be exhausting. I realized that as much as one person has said they loved me in spite of, and even because of, my bipolar, that is impossible to expect again. Who would love this? I don’t love this. I hate this.

Why Lie About Bipolar?

It’s obvious why I lie about bipolar to myself. I lie to myself to get through the day. If I didn’t think that tomorrow had the possibility of being better what would be the point of following all the rules of today? What would be the point in anything?

The lies I tell myself are critical, and I know it. But I’m so tired of them. I’m so tired of what I have to say over and over to myself just in order to survive. What do other people tell themselves? I’m sure they say things to themselves that aren’t true, too. But so many things? Just to get through the day? I think only people in extreme pain have to do that.

I’m Tired of the Lying About Bipolar

I’m just tired. I’m tired of so many things. I’m tired of the reality of this disease. I’m tired of the effect it has on my life. I’m just so very tired.

[Interesting note: I hesitated in posting this piece today because someone told me I was too depressing. But then I realized that reality is reality and if someone finds it depressing, that’s really their problem. I get that this reality sucks, but sometimes reality does. That’s a bit beyond my control.]

Image by Flickr user What What.


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.

Natasha’s New Book

Find more of Natasha’s work in her new book: Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar. Media inquiries can be emailed here.

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  1. Anything can, does and might heal over time. Give yourself a break and maybe rest, if you’re feeling tired, and get outside and sit in the sun (maybe with a coffee) if it’s a sunny day – sunshine is good for the soul. And write some poetry! Things can, and do, get better – mental illness can heal.

  2. Wow, I truely can say I am totally understanding what you are hartfelt saying, I have to explain why, it is feb 2017 so O.K., I have had a tough life but challanges are how I roll and I love to seeif I can proove to all even me I am strong in ways I don’t even know, O.K. so in 1972 @ 5 yrs.oldI had a massivehead injury, I recovered well due to youth right…, O.K. so I did get petti mall epilepsy from it tho you see, O.K. so, after that I was on powerfull med’s go figure, then in school I was heavily teased about my illness and it caused a lot of fear anger and distrust in peer’s right?, O.K. on top of that @ 11 yrs.old I was struck quite properly by a GMC truck because I was beinf a stupid kid, totally my fault & I admitted it to all, no big my pain right but now I had grand mall seziers and more med’s right?, O.K. now that I was high for the majority of my childhood I had some anger issues you could believe baby, O.K. so add my genetic M.H. issues of powerful Bi-Polar #6 anxiety/depression and occationally manic episodes you see, then After many yrs. Untreated M.H. chem imbalance and drug addiction self medicating with the wrong drugs of all I found myself violently angry & don’t even remember why right, O.K. so as a good sick person I sought out violent peopleso my behavior was acceptable, imagine to my wildest supprise that even among thos types my unwarrented violent outbursts were still unacceptable, O.K. that was in the late 80, so O.K. I still have no trust or faith in people’s humanity or even respect I can’t imagine that I have 1 human friend then or now that truely cares for my welfare other than my Mother & doubt that to ever change, if I had the strenght to face the fear of eternity in hell I would eliminate myself because I am now divorced after a 7 yr relationship activating my illness in massice preportion, no medication again, my autistic son of 14 has decidedto attack my patience and anger issues in unfathomable perportions also even falsely calling Child Protective on me”unfounded of coarse” and here I sit homeless and suisidal and ill and hopeless and scared and confused and no true friends or even aquaintances, O.K. so my point is shouldnt the agencies or Law or somebody have a way to help anyone to deal with M.H. sort of quickly before the destroy their unbelievably unhappy miserable existance before they actuall just figure the only opt. Left is to hurt themselves until they find the courage to actually really harm themselves critically, I mean I honestly feel there is no solution to any of my problems other that leaveing this place, really tho, the Morman faith claims we all got to see our ebtire life play out to end, and we chose our parents and accepted our life to procede here but I cannot believe that I could have ever even imagined I would have chose anything even similar to this and agreed to live out a miserable painfull unhappy 90% existence and said sure where do I sign, if that is what they really believe that makes no sence whatsoever to me and so i got your story beat royal flush in spades and I wanted to loose the hand to you my fello sufferer.

  3. i’ve surely been around depression’s block before, i know its truth and lies. after 40 years i’ve learned (the hard way) to simply tune out the soul-killing insights this disease brings — if they’re so important, i can attend to them later, when my mood is more supportive. as for love, i’ve tried (and failed) to convey to my 23 yo daughter one simple truth, eg: depressed people are attractive. (perhaps only to people like me, but, still, it’s a large set, those of us who find thoughtful, soft-spoken, downcast individuals as charming, beguiling, mysterious; the phrase ‘still waters run deep’ comes to mind.)

    and, since i’ve brought up my eldest child, i should report that after finding no-one in college, she’s happily in love now. she’s still shy and introspective, but suddenly she is outwardly beautiful, too, like a 600 watt light that’s been turned on.

  4. No, you are not lying to yourself or anyone else. You are better than you realize this way. The treatment and therapy you receive has worked. You realize all these things that encompass bipolar and many other mental illnesses. Don’t be afraid to stick yourself out there. You would be a great friend, companion, and more. You are in control. I am in awe that you realize all these things you describe today. You can handle a new focus. It would do you a world of good. So many have not evolved to the level with this disorder as you have. You go for it. Make new friends. Have fun. Best to you.

  5. Hi Natasha,
    I totally understand.
    Lying is a strategy of choice for a season when saying the truth is just too ugly, only makes us feel worse. So we lie in hopes that we ourselves can believe the lie!
    It’s depressing just saying it….
    The thing I find challenging is that all of the good strategies that I have used before with some success, I can’t even seem to remember them when I am not well.
    One thing that does help me is the truth. And if the truth is that I feel rotten, I feel sorry for myself, I am tired of this old bipolar, then so be it.
    But if I keep feeling rotten for a long time then too much of that truth is not helping at all.
    And so we lie?
    ‘I’m just so tired’ is totally a symptom of this illness.
    You have pushed through before and you will push through again.

  6. So just one more comment…I think plastering a label on a health issue puts it in a sort of stasis…as in it is cut and dry…and you quit looking for other answers, if you accept that it cannot and will not ever get better. There is always a chance for a break though even after years of suffering. Keep yourself open to that. I am in agreement with the poster who recommeds CBT to challenge dysfunctional thoughts. It is suprising how many of us live semi conscious. Myself I have started to sort though (revisit) some childhood trauma’s and I think this type of inner work is never done and throughout time one must return to these darkened places within one’s being and allow transformation and transcendence. Also I think there is something to be said for any therapy that can help you access your deeper nervous system and be a catalyst for innate healing. (I tried Cranio Sacral therapy and found it useful for clearing energy etc on a deeper level.) Finally I am thinking daily meditation can help one deal with the storms much better…as you create a stable center you can return to. A couple other things that seemed to have helped me is gentle hatha yoga also known as restorative yoga….and I reframed some of my greatest dissapointments in myself- I wrote to myself in a positive/remedial aspect for this encumbrace. It was framed in terms of how I believe in myself now, and why I do believe in myself. Two pages in large block letters and posted them on my bedroom wall. Positive affirmations. I have found it has created a ripple effect in my life now where I can respond in the world the way I want to, and partake in activities that are meaningful to me. This benefit was created through reading the positive affirmations from my bed, each morning upon rising. Essentially positive brain washing…I think rerouting the nervous system into a very relaxed and peaceful state…in whatever way fits into your life…is like training grounds for when life is super rough…Be good to yourself, nurture your inner child, heal your wounded self…never stop trying. If all else fails, I think belgium has lenient euthanasia laws. For me I find the hardest thing if I am depressed is to face other people…I don’t want to be seen, plus am too anxious to leave the house….soooo my joy or my functional space would be solitude….but maybe for those with bipolar aloneness isn’t always practical…Sorry this is so long. I really want to make things better for others. It is comforting to know that in my experience I am not alone and there are many others who struggle in a similar fashion….even if only being aquainted through this post. thank you.

  7. Well, I can empathise. While I watched others find friends, and partners in life I have been friendless and single nearly indefinitely throughout my life, (since onset of symptoms) and now am nearing my 40’s. It’s kind of like, welp so much for that. But the weight and burden of mental illness is there. It seems like you can deny it sometimes, as on the outside you look normal….but it rears it’s ugly head and wipes out all semblance of self esteem and stability in those times. I still stand by true hope emp, as a product as I have now been taking it for two years. I only had chronic depression, no bipolar myself. However, I just feel there has got to be a way to at least fix mental illness by a great deal…maybe it is dietary…as in you have an allergy to foods that are adding to the imbalance….myself i believe it was lack of nutrient absportion…and if I am not breaking my food down into components that can lead to the production of neurotransmitters….then that affects how my brain functions. About 98% of serotonin is made in the gut. In any case, my sense is there has got to be a biological factor within ones control to at least make ones condition better…..To Natasha, I hope you find something that lessens the blow of your illness and suffering. Your written peices are definitely worth the read. Thank you.

  8. Natasha, I love your work. And I hear you on all levels of “just being so tired.” Bipolar disorder is beyond exhausting. Just know you’re not alone. And perhaps it’s not what you want to hear, but it’s also a lie that you would make a bad girlfriend! Much love! Keep doing what you do :)

  9. Thank you so, so much for writing this–for everything you write. The “too depressing” accusation is why I don’t talk to my more neurotypical loved ones about my illness, but if we can’t talk about this stuff honestly SOMEWHERE, it’s a hundred times worse. Finding your work–currently reading everything I can find–is the biggest blessing because I feel like I’m not alone in this. You are extraordinary. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  10. Natasha, I’ve been there, I go there, and I climb out every time. That familiar cycle is so difficult to cope with, and most people don’t understand the incredible amount of energy – physical, emotional and psychological – it takes to daily manage this condition. It’s exhausting, and that exhaustion gets to us at times. It exacerbates the depression and the physical pain we feel even as we attempt to fight it. I know all the lies I’ve told myself in the past.

    I think I’ve finally learned to navigate the rapids in the bipolar river, and finally recognize the distinction between solitude and loneliness. I can now embrace my solitude and be productive in it; when the loneliness hits, I let it wash over me, ride the river and hold on until I’m in calmer waters again.

  11. On good days it’s called hope….on bad days lies. HOLD ON to the truth that there will be good days.That is not a lie and you know that!!!!
    Much love and hugs
    PS I have the blessing of being married to a man for twenty four years now who loves me despite….

  12. Dear Natasha, thank you for the truth, I am in the same boat as you, I lie to myself and others in order to save them the uncomfortable feelings I have about myself and my life. I live for others and it is a struggle, a daily roller coaster of loathing, pointlessness and futility. I worry for you, look up to the sky, and if you can like me, find a moment of beauty in the sky it can help. If for only a moment. Please please take care your inner voice reminds me of my suicidal self, and your website and opinions have been of huge help to me. YOU are not alone. With kind wishes from across the pond….Samx

  13. “I think that’s why we lie: survival.” Agreed, Missy Richmond. There are days (or months or years) when getting by “on a wing and a prayer” (as the Rangoon hotel clerk said to John Wayne’s in “The Flying Tigers”) won’t do. And that last, dying flicker of hope drowning amid the ink-black depression? Mockery. The final glimmer of light seeps from my soul, the impenetrable box of endless snaps shut.

    But … I’m still here, even if only vertical and sucking air. How so?

    Because every inexorable darkness leads – inescapably – to a rebirth. A spark of energy, a taste of light, an inevitable lift gradually burns away the horrific mist. That’s what I live for. That’s why I am alive. The sunrise may be early, it may be late. But it will be here. Always has. Always will.

    That is no lie.

  14. You are right Natasha – it does get to a point that lying about bipolar to yourself becomes very very tiring. I too have been there more times than I can count; sick of the medication, sick of the weight gain, sick of the self-enforced bedtimes, sick of worrying if tomorrow or even today will be the day that everything will collapse yet again, and once more standing at the abyss thinking is it all worth it…
    But it is. You and I both know that our bipolar brains make us “think” in ways that people who don’t have it just can’t understand, but it is because of this personal experience of the thoughts and feelings that pulls us through. We think things differently, see things differently, and experience things differently.
    For me, bipolar and depression are partners in crime. When I become slightly unstable, the depression and anxiety become pronounced, and then my OCD kicks in as I HAVE to do things a certain way otherwise I know and greatly fear that the depressed/anxious part will run away as by then I have lost a great deal of perspective and reality.
    So I guess you and I share that same trait? A bit of instability leads to uncertainty, which enables self-doubt, feeds the underlying depression and anxiety, and ends up in a cloud of jumbled thought and loss of perspective? Well, if you can take something from me who owes you a great deal for the many times your words have helped me, it will get better. Maybe not now, maybe tomorrow, but it may not. Or maybe not yet?
    But always remember that from the lows can only come the rise…

  15. Natasha, I will admit it makes me sad to read this blog entry. And you’re right, it does have a similar tone to one or two of your other recent entries.

    Though we both have bipolar disorder that does not make us the same. I don’t know if part of it is because I have bipolar 1 vs. 2, part of it is just our personalities, or other things too. I do know that I can’t dictate to you how you should feel. You have to make those choices on your own. I will say that for me I am generally a very optimistic person, even though I’ve been on disability for years. Though I still haven’t yet reached the point of “full recovery” and who knows, perhaps I never will. Hmm? Probably not completely. I think I have come to that acceptance. But I do think that good things are possible. I know it, at least for me. I still seek out simple pleasures and let them play an important part in my days. I try to make accomplishments. Little ones. Ones I can really achieve. And then I relish them.

    I have had times when I told myself I could accomplish this (big thing) and that (even bigger thing) and then when I’d talk about them to my pdoc he’d seem like a wet blanket and squash them down. Would I say I “lied” to myself that I could achieve them? No. I don’t think I’d use the word “lie” in my case. But it is important as a person with a serious mental illness to be somewhat realistic and grounded in your thinking. And that goes for thinking yourself too incapable too.

    I have had therapy of all sorts over the past 14 years. I got a little bit out of most of it, but I got a lot out of the CBT therapy my current psychologist has provided. Challenging dysfunctional thoughts, in particular. I’m getting to be pretty good at it, and that has improved my life in many ways.

  16. I have lied for over 2 decades. Hasn’t worked. Prayer, nope. Hope for me is no longer a strategy. As I Have gotten older it just seems harder and harder to cope with all of this especially since I am a rapid cycler as in almost every day. I have come to the realization that I can’t lie anymore about living in America when I turn 65. We don’t want to be homeless if I get dementia etc because I see my memory failing and the costs of taking care of me would be astronomical. and would bankrupt us so we are being forced to move to a country where at least I can rest assured that I won’t bankrupt my wife. But, I still keep on lying and hoping that one day I will wake up and this was just a very long nightmare and I am fine now. So, every day the lie persists, the hope keeps on living as my brain tells me different. No more tears left. Just fear. we were all born innocent.

  17. This piece resonates a lot with me. Of course, I use thr much kinder word ‘pretend’. I ‘pretend’ a lot about my bipolar, it’s strengths, it’s effects on my past life and probable effects on my future. Do you remember the film ‘ As good as it gets’? I ask myself that question all the time. Is this as good as it’s going to get?

    Then I lie. Or at least I pretend. I don’t really know if it’s a lie. Maybe I can be at least a little better. Sometimes these lies or pretences are just the thin veil of hope. Hope is a good thing providing it’s realistic. Maybe these lies and pretences are our way of talking ourselves into a little hope.

  18. Thank you for writing this, for saying it out loud to an audience. I’m tired of the lies, too, but afraid to let them go. I’m afraid I’ll have no reasons left to keep fighting. I think that’s why we lie: survival. And maybe a bit of hope. My depression is rearing it’s ugly head again, so the lies are thick these days. It’s refreshing to see someone be so candid and truthful about this crappy aspect of our lives with bipolar. Thank you for the honesty.