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What It’s Like Living With ‘High-Functioning’ Bipolar Disorder

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There’s a lot more to high-functioning bipolar disorder than just being able to function day to day. Not only are there positives, there are negatives as well. Just because things are being somewhat accomplished doesn’t mean the bipolar disorder isn’t there. It doesn’t mean the struggle to make it through the day isn’t just as difficult.

• What is Bipolar disorder?

Sometimes I feel like people think I’m faking it. Both in the sense that I’m faking my condition as well as fake being happy. I am constantly exhausted from trying to put my best foot forward and go about a daily routine. While I get things done, it takes everything out of me not to break down and collapse. I try to function by running errands, doing projects around the house, going to work and getting dressed for the day. Sometimes I feel like I’m overcompensating for my disorder with the level of productivity I’m trying to complete. I even feel like it’s a burden to prove to people that individuals with bipolar disorder can live a “normal” life by trying to prioritize my tasks and checking things off my to-do lists.

The biggest part is that no one really thinks you’re struggling, when that’s the far from the truth. To the people watching me, I might seem totally fine, but in reality I’m just trying to keep my head above the water. My symptoms are persistent and ongoing, but some people see my productivity as if I can turn my condition on and off.

Living with high-functioning bipolar disorder is extremely hard. There are days where I’m just going through the motions, passing the time until I can crawl back into my bed and hide from the world. But I have to remember it doesn’t make me any less strong to ask for help. I don’t want my mental illness to hide behind my ability to function.

I see my capability to be high-functioning as a coping mechanism for all my other symptoms of bipolar disorder. I justify the fact that I want to hide away in my bed all day today because yesterday I was able to accomplish certain tasks. It’s hard for people — and even myself — to grasp the concept that there is a difference between “high-functioning” and “fully-functioning.”

People deal with their conditions and disorders in different ways. Whether you feel like you have high-functioning bipolar disorder or not, don’t forget to take a step back and love yourself. No matter what the definition of your condition is, just remember to take it day by day and don’t let other people’s opinions define you.

Photo by Anton Malanin via Unsplash.
Originally published: December 13, 2019
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