Today I’d like to talk about 7 things people with Bipolar Disorder don’t tell everyone. Things we might not want you to know. I’m no stranger to tackling difficult topics on this channel and take pride in being very transparent about my Bipolar experiences. If there’s something important you feel I missed, join the conversation in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts and I hope you feel very welcome here.
Number One: We’re SCARED of our symptoms too! I struggle with a lot of guilt, loss, and shame from my actions when I wasn’t well. I know from experience that there’s a certain threshold where my emotions completely take over and all rational thinking stops. I’m scared of spending all my savings on another million dollar idea that goes nowhere. I’m scared of driving when I’m overstimulated and angry. I’m scared of hurting a best friend’s feelings and having to say I’m sorry AGAIN. I’m terrified of panic attacks or being hospitalized. I’m scared of how I’m going to feel next week after being manic for a while. I’m scared of not living as long because of the stress Bipolar puts on my body. So yes, we get scared of symptoms too.
Number Two: Sex can cause a LOT of stress for us! There’s nothing worse than forcing intimacy when you feel depressed. It’s like forcing food down when your stomach is painfully stuffed. It’s awkward and self-defeating when medications prevent you from becoming aroused. I’ve had partners wonder if I was cheating because I’d lose my sex-drive during episodes. I’ve been cheated on because my life-saving medications impacted my ability to satisfy a spouse. This creates a lot of fear and insecurities. There’s a flip side to this, and that would be hypersexuality. I have a whole video dedicated to this one. I’ve slept with people while manic and spent weeks in fear waiting for STD test results to come back. I’m terrified of making a mistake while manic and having to tell my partner what I did the next day. Bipolar Disorder majorly impacts our sex lives and it honestly sucks to have fear attached to something as special as physical love.
Number Three: We have no idea what the hell we are doing most of the time! Here’s the reality of Bipolar treatment… Our episodes can be like trying to predict the weather. Most of the medications we take were designed for something completely different like epilepsy or schizophrenia. We have no idea if the meds are going to work, and the side-effects of the wrong med can make life even worse. It’s BEYOND frustrating when you have these dangling hopes that life will finally get better and the treatment makes things worse. Doctors spend very little time with us and most of us have been misdiagnosed at some point. This isn’t like treating diabetes or the flu. It takes a true Polar Warrior to fight through all of these challenges and find the stability we deserve. That being said, we really can be strong and resilient people!
Number Four: We don’t need – and usually don’t even have – a reason for being upset! If our reasons don’t make sense to those around us, it’s probably because we’re having a hard time processing the feelings ourselves. When something hurts, it eases the pain to have a reason for it that makes sense. When we can’t explain our feelings, our mind will come up with a story to fill in the blanks. It’s like this subconscious psychological survival mechanism. I know how confusing and frustrating this can be to those around us. Especially if these feelings get misdirected towards others. It’s just not fair to anyone involved. I encourage our loved ones to take a step back and see the situation for what it is… Someone is suffering, has no idea why, and is desperately trying to make sense of it all. Keep in mind that it makes us trust people less when they try to force a reason out of us. If we knew what was wrong, we’d be doing something to fix it.
Number Five: Just because we share the same condition does not mean we share the same capabilities… There’s a reason why I haven’t made a video talking about famous people with Bipolar Disorder on this channel yet. There are so many famous musicians, writers, artists, athletes, and more who have Bipolar Disorder. It’s kind of a blessing and a curse to hear about them. I hear things all the time like “doesn’t Mariah Carey or that one guy from that one movie have Bipolar?” This is almost like telling someone in a wheel chair about a famous athlete who learned to walk again. It’s a nice gesture, but I’ll say it again… Just because we share the same condition does not mean we share the same capabilities. The first thing that always comes to my mind when I hear about someone famous is how “it must be nice to have access to the best doctors, brand name designer-drugs, the most expensive food, massage therapists on stressful days, and live in a mansion.” That might help me to be more capable too. I also try try to remember that even if I had all those things, there would still be plenty of days where my world was falling apart and none of that would matter. It’s just good to keep all this in mind.
Number Six: We live our lives under a giant magnifying glass! The good and the bad. All of our moods, feelings, emotions, and aspirations are amplified during episodes – beyond a threshold that most people could even imagine. The average ups and downs that rock people’s lives are 10 times stronger for us. I know suffering is relative, but when a friend tells me they have anxiety because of the weather, or they are depressed about not getting a job they wanted, I’m almost envious of their suffering. When I get depressed, I’m afraid of waking up in the hospital. When I’m having a bad week, I might quit my job, break up with my partner, and move to a new town instead of just having a healthy cry. When I’m depressed and someone passes away, it feels like I lost everyone I know. The weight of the world feels a lot heavier for us. That being said, when you see us having a really hard time, picture that giant magnifying glass being held over our heads.
Number Seven: We all have our own brand of Bipolar Disorder! Comparing us to your “crazy zany uncle” or your “moody neighbor” is just not fair. I really like using reading glasses as an analogy for they way people experience Bipolar Disorder. If I put my partner’s glasses on, I’d run into a wall. The way we experience life with Bipolar Disorder is almost as unique as our eyes are. Sure we all experience the ups and downs that got us a Bipolar diagnosis in the first place, but that’s about where the similarities stop. Beyond that, we all have different tolerances and reactions to treatment. We all have different thresholds for suffering and abilities to cope with it. I mentioned in number five that we all have different capabilities too. I have immediate family members who are living in denial, while I’m running the largest Bipolar YouTube channel out there. It’s all so very relative.
If you are new to learning about Bipolar Disorder, I’m so glad you found my channel and I hope you feel very welcome here. If these free videos are making a positive impact in your life, PLEASE help me to keep a good thing going… If just one out of 10 subscribers donated $1 a month, I’d be able to dedicate all my time to producing these life-saving videos. It just comes down to time and resources. There’s a link at the top of every video description where you can donate. If you can’t donate, you can also make a big difference by interacting with my videos. The more people like, comment, and share my videos, the more YouTube will show them to people looking for resources like this.
Take gentle care of yourselves this week and I’ll be back soon with more Polar Warrior videos.
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