Judging My Bipolar Disorder Disability

Judging My Bipolar Disorder Disability

I judge my bipolar disorder disability. I admit it. I do. I wish I didn’t. I wish I were more Buddhist. I wish I could show more enlightenment in this way. But I judge how disabled I am by my bipolar disorder and I just don’t know how not to.

People Judge Mental Illness Disability

There’s an issue where people judge those with a disability due to a mental illness like bipolar disorder. People think that a “mere” “mental” illness can’t possibly cause severe disability. Sure, if you’re babbling to people who aren’t there while wandering the streets, maybe then, but if you “pass” as normal? No, you can’t possibly be disabled.

I understand this. It takes time for people to accept something new. And mental illnesses and bipolar disorder disability are new for many people.

Their judgement might not be fun or kind, but it’s a lot better than the judgement I make on myself.

Bipolar Disorder Disabilities

Bipolar disorder can be disabling. People experience it differently, of course, but many with bipolar disorder are disabled to the point where they can’t work. This is a real thing. Bipolar disorder is a real disability. And it can’t necessarily be fixed through therapy and/or medication. Even with the best of what medicine has to offer, some people are still severely disabled.

In my case, I do work and do many of the things that your average person does, but my bipolar disorder disability pops up its head every day in many ways that upset me.

One way is showering. I avoid showering. I hate showering. I’ve written about this before and it’s in my book because it is so frustrating to me and so many other people know exactly what I’m talking about. Even though I know I need to shower, even though I know normal people do it every day, I just can’t make myself shower most of the time. I try. But I can’t.

Explaining the inability to make yourself stand under running water is nearly impossible, but just take my word for it, it’s real.

Judging Bipolar Disorder Disability

So today I did take a shower after many days of avoiding it. And after I was done and the goop was in my hair and the cream was on my skin, I felt relieved and almost proud of myself. I did something that is very hard for me. It was a win. Today was a success.

But that’s where the judgement came in.

I suddenly found myself looking in the mirror and chastising myself for feeling positive about showering. I judged myself for being so weak that such a tiny thing even mattered. I judged myself as pathetic. I judged myself as a grubby, gross loser. I judged my own bipolar disorder disability as pitiful and unacceptable in every way. I internally flogged myself for finding showering difficult and then I flogged harder for feeling good about overcoming it.

Damned if I do and damned if I don’t. Really, I’m just damned.

I Know that Judging Bipolar Disorder Disability Is Wrong

I know there’s no reason to judge a person with a disability. I would never judge someone else with a disability. If someone with bipolar disorder told me that they couldn’t cook themselves food for weeks at a time, I would totally get it and not feel judgmental, but, rather, just want to help. But when it comes to me? Disability is weakness and weakness is unacceptable. And, as it turns out, even overcoming weakness is unacceptable because I shouldn’t have had to try so hard to overcome it in the first place.

People often judge those suffering from a bipolar disorder disability. But do we also judge ourselves for our disability because of bipolar disorder?Oh, and did I mention that I judge myself for judging myself? Yeah. I can’t really get anything right.

I know that a disability – bipolar disorder or other – is not a thing to judge. It is not a failing of any sort. I totally get this. Really, I do. But when it comes to me I’m just so hard and harsh. I just can’t take my own bipolar disorder disability. I can’t believe in it. I can’t let it be. I can’t just roll with it. I can’t just accept it.

And I know what this is. This is bipolar depression finding things to beat me up about. This isn’t the genuine Natasha believing that there is anything to judge. I am not a judgey person. This is my bipolar disorder disability beating me up for my bipolar disorder disability. It’s a snake-eating-its-own-tail thing.

Bipolar Disorder Disability – Be Gentle with Yourself

There is a sentence, “Be gentle with yourself.” I know this sentence. I tell people this. I do believe in this. I do believe we should be treated with care. I believe we should be treated with the same love we show others. We deserve to be treated gently.

It’s just really hard for me to internalize this. As it turns out, I know virtually everything and yet it doesn’t fix the judgement. I just get annoyed at my knowledge and my inability to act/feel as enlightened as I know I am.

Sigh. Struggle.

Bipolar disorder disabilities are just one, big, long struggle. I get it.

So right now I will try to be gentle with myself the way I know I need to be. I’m going to put a checkmark in the “win” column for showering and I’m not going to feel bad about it. I’m going to tell myself the truth: that we’re all different and we all have different challenges. And every challenge, every disability, every difficulty, every win is okay.

Image by Swiertz (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.


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.

Natasha’s New Book

Find more of Natasha’s work in her new book: Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar. Media inquiries can be emailed here.



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