I overslept last night. I think I woke up at my standard time this morning but then I, lazily and foolishly, turned over and went back to sleep. This seemed like a good idea in the moment, as I love sleep, but in the long run, my experience says that oversleeping with bipolar disorder is bad, bad, bad.
I got up and got into my bipolar routine as per the usual. Then, I was watching TV while eating breakfast and something a little sad happened on the show. An animal was hurt and killed. And I hate it when animals are hurt. Humans, somehow, you get used to seeing die on TV but innocent animals are so much harder for me to take. It might just be me.
But this sent into production a stream of tears and even sobbing. I was in such pain because of this tiny, make believe thing. And I know it’s the bipolar, the bipolar depression, specifically, rearing its ugly head. And I know it’s because I overslept. And, naturally, I feel like an absolute imbecile for letting it happen.
Have you heard? You can choose to be happy. That’s right. If you’re sitting around right now all depressed and unhappy it’s just because you’re not choosing the right path. You’re not choosing to be happy.
I find this concept to be absolute hokum and incredibly insulting to anyone with depression – an actual brain disorder.
General practitioners (GPs) should not be treating bipolar disorder. It’s as simple as that and I have no idea why GPs don’t get this. If it’s obvious to me, a little ol’ mental health writer then it should be more than obvious to a medical professional that GPs are simply not equipped to treat bipolar.
Last time I talked about why we find it so hard to finish tasks with bipolar but this time I want to focus how we can successfully finish tasks with bipolar disorder, even if it is difficult.
I’m often an ideas person. I have many, many ideas and I like to think many of them are good. And, being a writer, these many ideas translate into articles, which I appreciate as it’s how I pay my bills.
That being said, ideas translate into starting a lot of tasks. The skill (talent, habit, what-have-you) of starting tasks based on a (perhaps) brilliant idea is one thing, but finishing tasks involves a different skill set altogether and finishing tasks when you have bipolar disorder (depression or mania/hypomania) is extremely, extremely challenging.
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?