'Functional' Is a 24/7 Job When You Live With Bipolar Disorder


In the dark of morning, I struggle the most. Every day, I wake up and try to convince my rapid cycling bipolar brain to function. There is a debate. Every day. I stand at my bed and argue silently as to whether or not I should crawl back into it. It is in this moment I struggle with being functional the most. This exact moment.

Realistically, I don’t actually get to claim the title “functional” until I am up for about two hours. Technically, I claim it as soon as I hit the shower.

For a moment, let’s back track to the night before. At 10 p.m., which should be my bedtime, my brain suddenly decides that it’s time to take over the world. Fractions of ideas, half concocted story lines, bits and pieces of thoughts and images project into my consciousness. They’re just semi-completed annoyances trying to self-actualize into my brain without actually being a whole self. Nothing is accomplished, as I allow them to stream through without attaching any value statements to them.

But they certainly keep the lights on while they party, while I lie in my bed, awake.

As anyone who takes psych meds may know, well, sometimes they can destroy us with side effects. It’s like stopping that party by literally burning the house down, party-goers inside. (On a side note, one med is trying to ruin my cholesterol, but that’s a different story.) In this instance, another med makes me drink ridiculous amounts of fluids to combat the vicious, unending thirst that accompanies the ridiculous and incessant urination. I wake up every two hours to take care of business. I am in the process of getting blood analyzed and all that jazz to determine if this is, indeed, the problem.

So, I go to bed every night with the synapse remix blasting in my head, preventing me from going to sleep, and the brutal side effects of the sacred medication cause me to continually wake up. Often less than five hours total, no more than two hours at a time. 

Yes, I am tired. In the dark of morning, I struggle to reason that going to work is the most logical conclusion at that particular point in time and space. But I am here to rise, period. Sucking it up one day at a time just seems like the right thing to do. It’s a fight, right? We don’t get paid, and we can’t win, if we just sit in the corner.

In the dark of morning, with little to no faculties available, I can’t give in. I just can’t. So I don’t.

The Mighty is asking the following: For someone who doesn’t understand what it’s like to have your mental illness, describe what it’s like to be in your head for a day. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

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