As many know, bipolar disorder is a complicated and demanding illness. There are many things that I personally dislike about living with bipolar disorder and I’m sure others may agree:
It can control or consume me at times. It sometimes feels as if I am trapped by this illness. It can distort my thinking, destroy relationships, affect my energy and motivation, interfere with both my education and career. It seems as if it takes over everything at times.
- I have to basically be on medication for the rest of my life. This is probably one of the most inconvenient things about having this illness. I don’t think I could function if I didn’t take something to help with the devastating lows and mixed episodes. I personally don’t have the extreme highs to worry about, but the extreme lows are what can absolutely break me.
- I feel like everything is ten times more difficult for me than it is for others who don’t live with this illness. I often feel frustrated that I cannot do or accomplish what other people can. It can be hard to see other people succeeding when you, yourself keep having setbacks. Some days it’s a battle and a real accomplishment just to get out of bed or take a shower. I don’t think many understand how difficult it is to live with this illness.
- I can’t always accomplish my goals or be reliable. This is one of the effects of the illness that seems to bother me the most. I feel I constantly have to work around this disorder which makes any tasks such as attending class, work, and keeping plans with friends or family a real struggle. Sometimes I find that I cannot commit to anything which makes me feel like a failure or just a terrible person/friend/employee (even though that’s not true).
- People tend to stigmatize or judge a person based on the illness. I often feel embarrassed to bring up that I live with this condition because some can be so quick to judge or I find that it makes them uncomfortable. I actually don’t mind discussing the illness, but it becomes awkward when I see that someone else isn’t comfortable with it. It actually does help to talk about it with others and I personally enjoy it, but sometimes I find that I have to be selective with whom I choose to discuss it with. I also dislike that some automatically associate “crazy” or “violent” with this illness. In reality, I am actually a rather sensitive, extremely caring, and emotional person.
- Weight Gain and other unpleasant symptoms. This one is rather frustrating to me because I grew up as an incredibly slim girl, but once I got on medication, I blew up like a balloon. My fingers and stomach started to swell and I began craving carbohydrates like crazy. I have also experienced a plethora of other unpleasant side effects from various medications such as hypothyroidism from lithium, seretonin syndrome, muscle spasms, rashes, lethargy, etc. The list of effects could honestly go on and on.
These are just a few aspects that I strongly dislike about having bipolar disorder. I am sure there are plenty more that could be added to this list. What are some things you personally dislike about living with this illness?