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.

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