I am not happy. People who know me well, know this about me. Sure, I act happy, because what choice do I have considering societal norms, but happy I am not.
So the question is, can a person with bipolar disorder by happy?
I am not an expert in happiness. I am more an expert in pain and suffering. However, if happiness is simply the other side of the coin, then I suppose I know it well. It’s the thing that I strive for but rarely ever reach.
I have what’s known as anhedonia. This is a fancy medical term for an inability to feel pleasure. I suppose pleasure isn’t the same thing as happiness but I think that pleasure is required for happiness to exist. Although, I could be wrong about that.
People with Bipolar Disorder and Happiness
However, I am hardly a stunning example of all people with bipolar. I am but one person with bipolar disorder and my story is but one of many. And I must say, very loudly, for all to hear:
Yes, it is possible to have bipolar disorder and be happy.
In fact, I have been happy in the past when my meds have been good (which apparently is a small act of god). When things align and before tolerance sets in, I am, in fact, a happy person. And, actually, if I were to characterize myself, my “normal,” un-bipolar self, I would say that I am a happy person. Really. Pain and suffering and sadness and despair are just threads in the horrific blanket the disease throws on top of me. It’s not really me at all.
And knowing that it’s not really me means that I know that I can get back to happiness, and I believe that all people with bipolar disorder can get there, whether they are familiar with that place or not. It may take a lot of work, therapy, lifestyle changes, medication and so on, but I believe happiness is out there no matter what your illness, mental or otherwise.
And, believe it or not, there are walking and talking examples of happy bipolar people. In fact, I happen to know one of the bounciest people ever and she happens to have bipolar disorder. It happens. Things work out. Life gets better. Sometimes you win the fight.
But until you exemplify that happy bipolar person, try to remember it’s out there. Happiness is waiting for you. I believe happiness, when life is viewed appropriately, is our natural state. And that means that we all can have it. Maybe just not right now.
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.