Living with Bipolar Depression

Mental health is a topic not many people openly discuss. Celebrities in L.A. open up about their struggles, but the average person struggles to open up; there’s a stigma about having any mental health disorder, and the fear people will consider you crazy. Only recently have I begun to be more open about my own mental health struggles.

A couple years ago, I was diagnosed with bipolar depression, and I’ve always experienced anxiety. Having these issues is frustrating because I feel hopeless in controlling my emotions. I’ll be extremely happy one moment, and suddenly I’ll be depressed. It’s stressful. Sometimes, it feels like it runs my life. I feel like I’m on an emotional roller coaster where my emotions go up and down as they please. I take a mood stabilizer to help my moods even out, but no medication is magic. It takes a whole toolbox of things to live with it. You learn ways to try to relax, ways to make yourself happy, and having a support system is important. But there are times when your tools don’t work. I’ve learned I isolate myself or become absolutely needy, reaching out and bothering my friends.

Isolation becomes a huge problem because it leads to suicidal tendencies. I’ll think about it, consider it, and try to give myself excuses why suicide is the answer to my problems. Of course, it’s not a rational answer, and it will only cause pain to the people I leave behind; I often have to persuade myself that someone will even notice my disappearance and miss me…that there are people who actually care for me. I always second guess whether I’m cared about, it’s my insecurity.

Since suicide isn’t a true answer, even if I have attempted it multiple times, cutting has become a bad, unhealthy habit. People think cutting is a way to get attention, but it’s really about relieving all the pain and tension I feel from the depression, and because I’m frustrated from not being able to control my moods. Reaching out to friends is my way of trying to get help before the cutting begins. Just talking to someone helps. A hug helps. Hearing a caring voice helps.

Reaching out is sometimes difficult, especially when I begin isolating myself. And you know what I’ve discovered? There are suicide prevention websites where you can chat with someone online when speaking on the phone isn’t convenient, or even possible. Even if you’re not suicidal it’s helpful.

Another problem of having bipolar depression is how quickly small problems turn int “world ending disasters.” I quickly go from being fine to snow balling a small problem until I’m certain my life is over. Add general anxiety to the mix and you have a potion for disaster. My mind reels, and I don’t think rationally.

Bipolar depression is hell for the person plagued with it. Many times I’ve been told I’m over dramatic, I whine too much, and I’m too needy. But consider this: you wake up one morning happy and content. You don’t have a care in the world. But someone says something rude or negative to you…or you say the wrong or awkward thing…or a small problem arises. Without your choice, your mood drops. Without being able to fight it, you feel your world crashing around you. You involuntarily begin crying, and you can’t understand why you’re suddenly so depressed. You want to scream, cry, hurt yourself, and just end the pain. It’s scary, uncontrollable, and leaves you with a hopeless feeling.

Doctors will tell you the simple reason of why it happens: there’s an imbalance of chemicals in your brain. But that doesn’t make it easier. As I said, medication isn’t magic; it can’t fix your problems, and it sure won’t fix you. Despite that, don’t let yourself feel hopeless. I know, it’s easy to say it and sometimes hard to think that way. Trust me, only during my good moments can I think that way. I’ve started becoming interested in advocating for mental health, and those who suffer with any mental health issues. I want to bring attention to it, and I want to help people feel comfortable opening up about it. It’s important. It should be discussed. People need to be told they’re not alone. There are people that DO understand, and “help will always be given…to those who ask for it” – Albus Dumbledore.

6 thoughts on “Living with Bipolar Depression”

  1. I always commend people for their bravery in sharing their stories about mental health. The more we talk about it, the more we can help people around us understand and help them to help us. Not everybody will want to. Not everybody will be willing to read and learn about it.

    I’m lucky that I have friends who are willing to learn or they themselves have had it. I also have friends and family who are not willing to. They have known somebody in the family with it and think everybody will act the same way when in reality, that is that person’s personality. I am not like every depressed person that everyone has ever met.

    No it’s not easy. And it’s very hard to think clearly in the worst of moments. I have depression, not bipolar. But what you describe is very similar to what I experience only for me it’s more constant and less sudden. Thank you again for sharing.

    Reply
    • Thank you for your warm comment. I absolutely agree with you, which is how my blog began. People avoid the topic. I began a major mental health activist on my college campus because the administration wouldn’t take it seriously. It’s really sad, and a lot of people suffer because of it. My well wishes to you.

      Reply
      • Wow. I’m surprised your college didn’t take it seriously. College can be the first place somebody gets help for the first time. That’s how it happened for me. I’m glad you’re helping students who wouldn’t otherwise get help at your campus.

        Reply
        • They prefer to spend their money on sports, but it’s been a struggle for mental health issues. They pushed out their best therapist because of their ignorance. They’re still psychological services available, but their overloaded with students. It’s a sad, sad state.

          Reply
  2. I am you. Trust me. Look at my screen name. I’m honest. I’m a list. Misti hate myself. Much love to you. I have isolated to the point where honest to God nobody cares. I’m 41. When I was in high school I was voted “Best Personality”. I graduated from college. I raised a brilliant and compassionate 22 year old son. But I am nothing. I lost it all. Depression is depressing. I feel you.

    Reply
    • Awww. You are something, and you still have a lot in your life. As hard as it is to remember that sometimes, it’s true. Big hugs your way for continuing to fight.

      Reply

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