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Living With Bipolar Disorder

The Confessions Of A Sufferer

By Susan F WeimerPublished about a year ago 4 min read

The hardest thing about describing what it's like to live with bipolar disorder is not knowing what it's like to live without a mental illness. Because of the stigma attached to mental illness, some people are ashamed to admit they have the disorder. Shame arises from the fact that people label you as crazy.

The truth is, I am a bit crazy, but I'm not sure the bipolar disorder is entirely to blame. There are nutty people in the world who don't have a mental illness.

I am not ashamed of having bipolar disorder because it is not something I brought upon myself. I was born with it. My brain has a chemical imbalance. It's like any other congenital illness, except it affects my brain. Some people are born with heart defects, lung defects, learning disorders, or a variety of other disorders and syndromes. Mental illness should not have the stigma it has.

But I digress. I'm here to tell you about what it's like to have bipolar disorder.

Racing thoughts: Sometimes, my mind gets so cluttered with thoughts it's almost impossible to concentrate. Imagine trying to watch fifty T.V. shows at the same time and trying to keep up with the plot of each one simultaneously. You can't do it.

The noisy head: Sometimes, it's not racing thoughts that make it difficult to concentrate. Instead of racing thoughts, my head seems like television when it's receiving nothing but static. The static is loud, annoying, and makes it nearly impossible to concentrate on anything. Even holding a conversation is difficult.

Flash Backs: I sometimes get stuck in a disturbing memory, and it keeps playing over and over for most of the day. It is very difficult to break out of flashbacks. Usually, I resort to video games or action movies that require a lot of concentration. Sometimes sitting down and writing works as well.

Intrusive thoughts: I loathe them. They are random thoughts that appear out of nowhere and are often very disturbing. The experience is like a schizophrenic hearing voices, except these occur as thoughts inside your head.

Mania: This is the upswing I get. Bipolar disorder is so named because the person who has it swings from an emotional high to an emotional low and then back again. It's a constant roller coaster. Medication helps level me out so the swings aren't as drastic and don't last as long, but they are still there. Mania can be dangerous to me both financially and physically. I lose sight of the fact that things I do have consequences. I spend money on frivolous items that I need for necessary things. I rack up credit card bills without considering I will have to pay them later. I sometimes feel as if nothing can touch me. I could jump off a building and survive because I'm never meant to die. This leads to risky behavior. It's dangerous.

Insomnia: Insomnia often comes with mania. I have gone 72 hours straight with no sleep, without even being tired. Every time that happens, my psychiatrist has to adjust my meds. I've been sleeping better since the last adjustment to my meds.

Depression and irritability: The opposite side of bipolar disorder. Just like mania, either of these can hit at any time. I can wake up feeling depressed for no reason. It's just how I wake up that day. The same holds true for irritability. I never know how I'm going to feel when I first get up in the morning. Despite my plans for the next day, when I wake up, I may find that one of these is holding me back. And the plans go out the window. Those days, I'm not easy to be around. The lows of bipolar disorder often come with a desire to sleep through the day. Often, thoughts of suicide or the feeling you would be better off dead will accompany the low swings of bipolar disorder.

Sometimes I'm antisocial: I get invited to parties like everyone else. The difference is I can't promise I will be there. I sometimes find it challenging to get myself to show up to a party on the day of the event. Just the thought of having to socialize can be overwhelming. I'm not afraid of going. Sometimes I'm glad to go when the day comes. It just depends on how I feel when I wake up.

People who don't understand: Having a mental illness is challenging. It can be exhausting on particularly rough days. Especially when the surrounding people don't even attempt to understand your illness. It's not something I can "snap out of". Yes, I'm ruled by my emotions, but stop telling me that's a terrible thing. Okay, I can be moody, but it's called bipolar disorder for a reason. My moods swing back and forth all the time.

If you think it's hard to be around someone with bipolar disorder, just imagine how challenging it is to be the person with bipolar disorder. Sometimes I wish there was a way to plug someone else into my mind so they can experience what it's like to be me. Maybe someday in the future, it will be possible. But for now, this is the closest I can come. This article is an attempt to explain what it's like to live with this disorder.

If you liked my article, you can treat me to a cup of coffee. It will go a long way in supporting me as a writer.

Thanks for taking the time to read. Subscribing, leaving a heart, or tipping will help me continue writing.


About the Creator

Susan F Weimer

I live in a rural area in upstate New York with my fiancé and three dogs. Mine is a simple life filled with simple pleasures.

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Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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