I’ve written about suicide a lot and on those threads I hear it all the time: “I’m too much of a coward to kill myself,” or, “I wish I were braver so I could commit suicide.”
I understand these thoughts and I think they’re very common and normal. When you’re in unbearable pain, it feels like suicide is necessary. And if you’re not achieving a necessary thing, you feel like a failure. And because of the nature of suicide – because it is scary – people feel like the reason they are “failing” is because they are a coward.
This is not true, however. Cowardice has nothing to do with killing yourself or living. You are not a coward for not killing yourself.
Being diagnosed with bipolar disorder is tough thing. It feels like the end of the world. Being diagnosed with bipolar disorder feels like the foretelling of your whole future.
But it isn’t. Being diagnosed with bipolar disorder doesn’t have to dictate your future. You still have the power to do that.
This list is always an interesting one for me because it tells me what you, my readers, care about. In general, you care about a lot of what I can about but sometimes you surprise me with exactly how much you care about a given subject (and by what doesn’t show up on the list).
The Top 10 Popular Bipolar Posts of 2014
10. Bipolar Treatment Fatigue — We start the bipolar post top 10 list with a term I invented. “Treatment fatigue” is a concept that is widely felt but underrecognized. It’s when you can’t bear undergoing any more treatments because you’ve just lost faith in bipolar treatments altogether or are tied of the side effects or are exhausted with your doctor or, or, or. I would argue that while these feelings are real, we need to fight bipolar treatment fatigue in order to get better.
9. Accountability for Your Actions with Bipolar — I’m a big believer in accountability and I’m a big believer in not saying, “the bipolar made me do it.” Sometimes, bipolar does strongly influence our behavior and sometimes we truly aren’t accountable for it, but most of the time this just isn’t true.
Every day I fight bipolar disorder. I have to because every day my bipolar disorder requires fighting. Every day, bipolar disorder is at the forefront of my mind. Every day, I have to do all the things that are required to improve (or at least maintain) my mental health. Every day, I have to fight the bipolar depression that makes me exhausted and upset. Every day, I have to focus on medication and schedules and sleep. Every day, every day, every day.
And my reward for all of these fighting and fighting and fighting of the bipolar disorder? If I’m lucky, it’s the reward of not being sick. If I’m lucky, my reward is feeling like one of the normals for one day – a way that other people feel without putting any work into it at all.
And if I’m not lucky? My reward is just another day with illness, with me expending hopeless amounts of energy in a seemingly-impossible fight to stay alive.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about a life with bipolar it’s this: it’s never going to be what you expect it should be.
I was watching a television show about gluten-free baked goods and on it, a gluten-free chef said of gluten-free bread, [when compared to bread with gluten,] “it’s never going to be what you think it’s going to be, so one of the things you should do is to try to adjust your expectations.”
Now, I don’t know anything about gluten-free bread, but I do know about a life with bipolar and I have to say, in my experience, it’s never going to be what you expect it should be and you should probably learn to adjust your expectations so it doesn’t taste quite so bad when you bite into it.
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?
As you might have realized, it’s two days until Christmas. Because of that, I’m up against deadlines and and trying to get oodles done before I take a couple of days off.
Long story short, I don’t have time to write an original article this week. But, don’t worry, all is not lost. I have written quite a bit about bipolar and the holidays over the years and I thought I’d pull it all together for you here:
What I Want for Christmas
I hate you.
Or, perhaps, it might be more accurate to say my bipolar hates you. Or my bipolar makes me hate you. Or something.
I feel this pervasive negative, black, dark, inky hatred spread atop my “Natashaness” that seems to affect how I feel about everything. Theoretically, philosophically, intellectually, I know that I don’t hate everything. In fact, I know that I don’t really hate anything. But I sure feel as if I hate everything.
Someone recently reached out to me for some recommendations of mental illness resources as she was concerned for her sister. Unfortunately, the feedback I received from her afterwards was that her sister felt, she was “beyond help” for bipolar disorder.
I understand the feeling of being beyond help. I have felt that way so many times. I had so many goes at medication roulette and I had two doctors give up on me completely so I absolutely felt (and was pretty much told) that I, and my bipolar disorder, was beyond help.
Here’s the thing – those doctors were wrong and so was I.
I have mentioned several times that bipolar depression isn’t just mental, depression involves physical pain too. And when I talk about the physical pain of depression, I mean idiopathic pain (pain that appears “without reason” (with the reason, of course, being bipolar depression)). But there’s another part of pain that is a part of depression and that’s real, physical pain that has been exaggerated by the depression.
So many people come onto this blog and say, “the answer to curing bipolar disorder is . . ..” Their answers range from magnesium to religion to talk therapy.
And all of them tick me off (as I ranted in Stop Telling Me How to Cure my Bipolar Disorder).
Because your answer to curing bipolar disorder is nonsense.
Yesterday I got the news that I’m losing one of my best friends of 16 years. He’s someone I’ve known pretty much since birth. He’s giving and loving and very furry. He’s my cat.
And while I can understand that not everyone will fully comprehend the bond between a human and animal, you will just have to take my word for it that the news put me into shock and I am now grieving what will very soon become a physical loss.
And, of course, a trauma like this (yes, it is a trauma) will make my bipolar disorder blow up. Bipolar makes grief worse and grief makes bipolar disorder worse.