7 Things I Wish People Understood About My Bipolar Type 1

I have bipolar disorder type 1. I wish those in my life knew a few things about my life.

1) I am not a threat: Whenever someone finds out I have bipolar disorder, they give me a look of insecurity and fear. They treat me differently, and I can see and feel them judging me with everything I do.

2) I have no control over my symptoms: When you get mad at me for my mood swings, outbursts, or ups and downs, it doesn’t change anything. I am not making an excuse, I’m explaining a fact.

3) I am not lucky to be home all day by myself: I do not like being alone, I did not choose to be unable to work. So your ignorant comments about how great it must be, how lucky I am, they only hurt me.

4) Stop telling me it’s all in my head: I suppose it is because it’s a mental illness, not a thing I chose.

5) Bipolar depression is more than being “sad.” I feel impending doom all of the time. I want to die. I isolate myself. I hate myself. I can’t do responsibilities like bathing, doing housework, going out with a friend, etc. All become kind of impossible for me to do. I feel nothing or everything all at once. I cannot make it go away. I cannot “fix” it.

6) All of the positive thinking in the world will not make my illness go away.

7) Guilt: I feel it every day, all day. I constantly feel like I am not good enough because I do not work, because I have this illness, because I can’t do “normal” things that everyone else can do. But I fight, every day, all day.

This is an illness, not a choice.

There are more, but I hope this helps.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.
If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255

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Thinkstock photo by Pavel Ivanov

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