4 Lies I Tell Myself When I Feel Like I'm Losing the Battle Against My Bipolar Disorder
Managing my bipolar disorder is an ongoing battle; one that lately, I feel I am losing. This is just one of the many lies I tell myself as I fight to keep depression and mania at bay. I lie to myself every minute of every day — about little things and big things. I tell myself I can handle my disorder, that I am in control, but I am not. I am lying to everyone, including myself, about so many things.
Lie #1: Self-care is not as important as caring for others.
This is a huge lie, one I tell myself on a regular basis. “Life is too busy right now to practice self-care.” With one under school-age child in the hospital and another special-needs child at home, my time is divided. I rarely have time to cook or eat dinner, let alone carve out time to manage my disorder. I make every excuse in the book from, “It is too hard to find the time” to “My children need me more, right now.”
The truth: Self-care is the most important thing I can do. You cannot pour from an empty cup, so refilling and refueling is essential. Is it hard to carve out time to do something for myself? Absolutely. Is it imperative that I do? Yes. Self-care doesn’t need to be a huge ordeal or an extravagant outing. It can be as simple as enjoying a warm cup of coffee in the morning, and I enjoy that cup every single day.
Lie #2: Reaching out is pointless.
“No one wants to hear about my problems, let alone my mental health status. It is better if I keep it to myself, and try to manage it on my own.” Reaching out is hard on a normal day, so reaching out when dealing with suicidal thoughts and ideas of grandeur seems damn-near impossible. First and foremost, I don’t want to worry anyone. Secondly, I am often embarrassed of my thoughts and feelings. This, coupled with my lies on self-care, make it hard to confide in anyone.
The truth: I have an incredible support system. From my therapist, to my family, to friends new and old, I am never truly alone. They will not allow me to be. My mother and sister call me daily to check in, and there is nothing I could ever say that would make them love or respect me any less. I have a spouse who is involved and engaged in my care plan. He has learned my triggers, and does his best to reduce my exposure to them. He listens without trying to “fix” me or my problems. People are not only willing to listen, they worry when I stop talking to them.
Lie #3: My medications are not working, so I should stop taking them.
This is a big one for me. With side effects in full-force — including weight gain, restlessness and drowsiness — I often find myself rationalizing not taking my medications. “They make me feel numb to the world. You can manage just fine without them.” Someday, I may stop taking my medications, but I am not there yet.
The truth: I am brave beyond measure. I have not skipped doses or strayed from the directions. I continue to speak with my psychiatrist about what medications are working and which are not. I advocate for myself daily, and when I need to, I find a creative outlet to help battle through the medication fog.
Lie #4: You are a failure.
As a wife, a mother, a friend, a daughter and a person. I battle this thought every day. I wake up in the morning believing I am not enough, and go to bed at night begging that tomorrow will be different. Lately, it seems like I can’t do anything right. From the complex tasks, like advocating for my son, to basic activities, like taking my daughter to the park, I feel like I am failing.
The truth: I am an exceptional mother, advocate, wife, daughter and friend. I might not always be the best I could be that day, but I am a damn-good person. If you need me, I will be there — sometimes before you knew you needed me! If you need a shirt, I’ll give you the one off my back. More importantly, I will give you everything I am. I am enough as I am, today and every day.
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Thinkstock photo via Transfuchsian.