Pressure and the Limited Time, Resources of One with Bipolar
My bipolar is making me feel like hell. But then, there are so few days that I don’t. And now it’s particularly bad because my body won’t seem to regulate its sleep properly. I’m having trouble getting to sleep and then I’m waking up too late. (Yes, an alarm would fix the too late part but then I’d be even more tired than I already am.)
Did I ever mention that I hate bipolar disorder?
I Have Bipolar Too
Sometimes people rag on me here and in my inbox for not getting back to them. They get mad that I don’t do what they want. They’re mad that I don’t support their causes. They’re mad that I don’t look at their books. I get it. You want me to do something and I don’t do it. That tends to make people mad.
But I think these people forget that I have bipolar too. All those sucky days that they suffer from? Yes, I have those too. All those days when they don’t want to get out of bed? I have those too. All the times when they can’t work because they are too sick? Yes, I have those too.
I’m not super-bipolar-girl. I’m just regular-bipolar-girl. And I’m a pretty damn sick one at that. So people need to just lighten up.
Pressure and Bipolar
I think that people have no idea what kind of pressure is exerted when people contact you every day for something. Strangers that expect me to fix their lives and an uncountable number of people who are suicidal. Well, just for the record, I don’t fix people’s lives. I don’t have that power. And I am not a suicide hotline.
And when people write me absolute novels in the form of a message? Yeah, I don’t have time to read all that. I get that your circumstances may be complicated but perhaps it might be better for you to talk to a friend or a professional psychotherapist, in that case.
Time in Bipolar is Valuable and Precious
Because my time is very valuable. I don’t say this because I’m special. I’m not. I just know that I have few productive hours in the day and that makes those hours more precious than it does for the average person. And if you don’t want to pay me for those hours, that’s okay, but I need to find someone who will. “Dear Natasha . . .” letters do not pay my mortgage.
And it’s like this for all people with a severe mental illness. We have to spend our functional hours carefully because there just isn’t enough of them. I have to spend my functional hours working. I have to spend it on speaking gigs. I have to spend it writing. I have to spend it doing paid consultations. Because if I didn’t, my kitties would have no kibble and I would have no roof over my head.
So, the next time you think about getting mad at a person with bipolar who doesn’t call you back or can’t make it out to a party or who has to sleep instead of see you, maybe consider that they just don’t have the time. His or her bipolar (or other mental illness) is taking up that time and energy. We don’t have the time you have. Our days are shorter. Our lives are shorter. Please understand that we are doing the best we can with very limited resources. I wish I had more to give, but I don’t. That’s just the way it is and I don’t like it any more than you do (personified by the fact, by the way, that I’m crying as I write this).
As a quick side note: most of my long-time readers do understand this about me and are very good about understanding. And I do get messages where people clearly understand that I might not get back to them. So this isn’t a global thing, it’s just something I felt I needed to say for my own self-expression.
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.