How to Have Hope When Bipolar Disorder Makes You Feel Hopeless


The liar that is bipolar disorder can tell you so many horrible things about yourself, and it repeats these lies internally until you firmly believe them.

In the lowest of lows, life can feel overwhelmingly difficult. Bipolar will lovingly stroke your hair, all the while whispering that you are a burden on everyone — that every single person in your life would be better off without you. It tells you to withdraw; it isolates you. It tells you to hate yourself and it makes you feel the pain you’re in will never get better and there is no hope.

You have to fight. Fight it with everything in you. Tell your bipolar to fuck off and cling to that tiny thread of hope struggling for its foothold. Hang on to that hope with all of your might and tell yourself to survive just one more day. And the next day, do it again. Survive the day, sometimes taking it minute by minute, hour by hour. Just get through that moment and the next. Don’t look ahead. Focus on what’s right in front of you. All that matters and the most important thing is to just get through that moment. Then the next one will be a little easier. And easier. And easier. Until, before you know it, you can breathe again and you realize you’re surviving.

And then you start to resurface socially. And then, one day, you find yourself with a smile on your face. It feels foreign. But you realize, in that moment, you are happy. And then you pick up an old interest. Just one to start. Something you enjoyed before. And you realize there’s more to life than just surviving. Suddenly, before you know it, you’re not just surviving, you’re thriving. You find the smiles come more often and more readily and they don’t feel so foreign. They come naturally now. You realize happiness isn’t just a fleeting moment that slips through your fingers — it’s a state of mind that you slip into for long stretches and it feels so good.

For those of us with mental illness, happiness is never taken for granted. It’s earned, minute by minute, by walking through the darkest hell and emerging in the light, stronger from the experience. That forged strength makes it easier to handle the next time you succumb to bipolar’s destructive lies. Because we all know there will be a next time. That’s the only certainty mental illness offers. But you know you can get through it because look at what you’ve been through. Look at what you’ve endured. You are a survivor. You are strong. And there is always hope.

Follow this journey on the author’s blog.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “HOME” to 741741.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Photo by Matthew Brodeur on Unsplash


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Bipolar Disorder

Woman wearing headphones listening music, dancing and emotionally singing song at home.

3 Things I Do for My Mental Health as a Mom

Self-care — I wish it was as simple as waving a wand and saying a spell: “Accio self-care! But unfortunately for me… it’s not. It’s not easy as a mom, as a woman or as a general person of any society. The stigma of mental health makes it hard to take a moment to use your [...]
young confident woman smiling and laughing into camera

Why I Actually ‘Like’ My Bipolar Disorder

By no means am I saying bipolar disorder is a “good thing.” Learning to live with bipolar and learning to love yourself alongside the disorder is hard. Bipolar can manifest in pessimistic traits; however, there are rarely some good ones too. I’ve taken the time to take a step back, look at my disorder and [...]
young woman walking down alleyway while traveling

8 Tips for Traveling When You Live With Bipolar Disorder

Spring and summertime! It’s the time of year when my husband and I need a break from work and home life, so we get away for a few days. I attempt to never go too far from home because that can be a big mistake. (I had a complete meltdown in Rome and I disappeared [...]
David Harbour

‘Stranger Things’ Actor David Harbour Shares Why Mindfulness Doesn’t Help His Mental Illness

Actor David Harbour isn’t one for popular mindfulness activities like meditation or yoga to help treat his bipolar disorder. Harbour, who plays Jim Hopper in the hit series “Stranger Things,” talked about what works for him on the WTF podcast. Harbour hadn’t publicly said he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder until the podcast. The 43-year-old [...]