mental illness issues
Bipolar disorder has changed me forever. When I was first diagnosed with a mood disorder, they said this wouldn’t happen. When I was first diagnosed with a mood disorder, they said I would go back to who I was before it started. When I was first diagnosed with a mood disorder, every question they asked what about comparing my medicated self to my old self. But they were wrong and their questions were irrelevant, bipolar disorder has changed me for life and no medication is going to change that.
I’ve talked about mood tracking before but, really, mood tracking starts with mood self-monitoring. In other words, there is nothing to track if you don’t know what’s going on in the first place. If you can’t say that you’re anxious, for example, then how are you going to track how anxious you are? But mood self-monitoring sucks because it’s a 24-hour-a day, seven-days-a-week kind-of-a-thing. With bipolar disorder, you never get a break from mood self-monitoring.
On this World Bipolar Day, I thought I’d focus on some of the most popular posts that tell people what they need to know about bipolar disorder. These are posts that thousands have searched for and read spanning seven years. And what’s more is I think these posts are bipolar myth-busting. Share one or more on social media to help bust bipolar myths (not to mention stigma).
I get nasty headaches with bipolar disorder. I don’t think they’re migraines, but I do have to take medication and typically have to lie down for the headaches to go away. They tend to happen about two hours after I get up in the morning (meaning medication side effects may play a part, certainly). And I know that I’m not the only person with bipolar disorder suffering with headaches or even migraines – there is, actually, a known link.
Earworms are torture. If you’re not familiar with earworms – lucky you – they are like when a song gets stuck in your head. Over and over and over you hear the same thing. An earworm doesn’t have to be music, but from my experience, it typically is. And If I were to torture someone, I would make them listen to four lines of a song for days and days. I’m fairly certain it would break a person. I feel like earworms almost break me.
I wrote an article on earworms years ago and people still email me about it. This is because people get earworms for days, weeks, months or even years. Some people truly do feel tortured by earworms and would do anything to get rid of them. I completely understand where these people are coming from.
Recently, I wrote a Facebook post and someone said it indicated that I hate my life. This is not something I said, but hating a life with bipolar disorder is a pretty easy thing to do. But I have to be clear on something: I don’t just have one life – none of us do. So saying “I hate my life,” is a blanket statement that just isn’t true. It’s a judgment, and it’s not fair.
The issue with bipolar disorder isn’t that we have feelings, it’s that our feelings are too big. Emotions are normal, even big emotions at certain times are normal but people with bipolar have feelings that are too big far too much of the time.
I am not a parent, let alone a parent of someone with mental illness, nevertheless, but it is still clear to me that parents of the mentally ill get blamed for their child’s mental illness. I honestly don’t know if my mother has ever experienced this, but I know of other parents who have. One woman I know comes to mind. Her daughter has schizophrenia and requires a lot of help to successfully maintain her wellness and live on her own. Her mother provides everything she can to make this happen – and it’s a lot. And yet, this mother has been blamed for her daughter’s schizophrenia. But parents aren’t to blame for their child’s mental illness.
I can’t control my brain. I can’t control my emotions. I can’t control my tears. I can’t control my irritation. I can’t control my need for excess sleep. I feel like I can’t control anything. And not being able to control my brain or my emotions makes me feel entirely inadequate as a human being.
One of the annoying things about having a serious mental illness like bipolar disorder is that doctors blame all physical pain on bipolar disorder. It feels like if you have a hangnail it must be because of bipolar. It feels like the pain from a broken leg must be from bipolar disorder. Doctors just seem to leap to the conclusion that bipolar is always to blame even when other physical ailments are or may be present.
I want to be happy. It’s been a long time since I, genuinely, have been. Yes, the bipolar medications do their job and keep me alive; and yes, I’m less depressed than when the bipolar medications weren’t working, but, still, I’m not happy. And while some people seem to think differently, I really, really want to be happy. It’s not my fault I can’t be happy.