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We Asked People With Bipolar Disorder How Their Illness Impacts Their Lives

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Although bipolar disorder is one of the most common mental health conditions, but it often doesn’t receive the same amount of attention as mental illnesses like anxiety and depression. To shed light on real-life experiences with bipolar disorder, we asked our bipolar community which parts of their lives are most impacted by bipolar disorder. Here’s what they had to say.

• What is Bipolar disorder?

1. Their employment.

“Employment. I’ve had more than 20 jobs in my lifetime due to experiencing depression, loss of interest in going to work, and isolation.”

“My ability to work has been affected the most. I own a business, and for the past year, I’ve had a very hard time doing much of anything. I’ve had to drop about half of my client load which … affects my income.”

2. Their relationships.

“Relationships and self-image.”

“I don’t have a great relationship with my mom … dad or daughter, and I don’t have any friends other than my husband.”

“I’m destroying my marriage.”

3. Their education.

“I can’t finish school … I have wasted thousands of dollars on it. I’m about to start a new education program … and I’m terrified that I’ll mess it up.”

4. Their finances.

I spend money often. My credit cards are close to having no money on them. I also don’t make enough money on SSI disability to move anywhere.”

“I’ve blown away significant amounts of money.”

5. Their ability to stick to a schedule.

“Conforming to a schedule that is established by others — like for work or family meetups — is difficult. It is hard when I don’t have control over my own comings and goings.”

statistics graphic from The Mighty. text reads: Where bipolar impacts Mighties most. 54% said their personal relationships. Of those, 53% said familiar relationships, 33% said romantic relationships, 27% said social relationships. 54% said their motivation was most impacted. 39% said their work or school performance was most impacted. 18% said their finances were most impacted.

6. Their motivation.

“Bipolar affects my motivation. I do not want to do anything or go anywhere. I just want to stay in bed.”

“Most of all, my bipolar disorder affects my motivation. I have days when I am fighting myself just to participate in life.”

7. Their plans.

“Changing plans constantly. It gets to the point where I just want to crawl in bed and not try to make plans at all.”

8. Their home lives.

“Bipolar disorder affects my home life because when I’m depressed, my family knows, and I don’t want to put them through my depression.”

9. Their parenting abilities.

“Bipolar disorder has had an impact on many areas of my life. However, I feel like it has affected my parenting skills and ability to be a good mommy most of all.”

“Bipolar disorder affects my relationship with my little boy. He is only 5 years old, and he knows when Mommy doesn’t feel well.”

“I feel guilty all the time for being a ‘bad mum.’”

10. Their overall mental health.

“My breakdown was so profound that it took … months to stop the panic attacks and agoraphobia I was having.”

11. Their empathy.

“I feel I am extremely compassionate and empathetic towards others in difficult circumstances.”

If you’re living with bipolar disorder and want to connect with others with similar experiences, join our Bipolar 1 Support community or follow #BipolarQuestionOfTheWeek.

Lead photo by James Wheeler on Unsplash. Statistics graphic by The Mighty.

Originally published: December 7, 2021
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