Bipolar disorder (BD), also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. It’s being as happy as can be one second, then crying yourself to sleep the next. It’s feeling everything and absolutely nothing all at once. You get agitated easily, making it complicated to explain your feelings to others. You’re sad.. over little nothings. And happy for seemingly all the wrong reasons. Basically, it’s bullshit.
Living with bipolar depression is like being on a carnival ride that never ends, it’s literally an emotional roller coaster. They have medicines you can take to “help,” but from personal experience, all they do is make you feel like a robot. Not happy, nor sad. Just nothing, at all. Usually I start off happy, ecstatic even. Eventually something will happen to piss me off, then I get angry. And usually by 10 ish, when everyone is sleeping, the depression part hits. I get sad, I listen to music that upsets me even more and I wind up crying myself to sleep. Keep in mind this is pretty much an every day thing, and it’s absolutely exhausting.
Bipolar depression also tends to alter your energy, not just your mood. Some days I’m ready to crack down and get things done. I’m doing laundry, dishes, vacuuming, heck I’ll even dust and mop. Then, on the bad days, all I want to do is watch Netflix and eat ice cream. On the bad days, I nap a lot. I also eat a lot more junk food. And the crappy thing about the good and bad days is usually I’ll have three good days in a row, then a week straight of bad days. You never know what type of day you’re going to have, it’s like rolling dice and praying the odds are in your favor.
BD even messes with your ability to focus on every day things. Unlike ADHD, you’re focusing on keeping your moods from fluctuating. You are doing everything in your power to hold back the tears because your cheeseburger fell apart (true story but the tears actually flowed). You’re taking deep breaths so you don’t kick your boyfriend out of bed for not giving you enough room. You are refraining from grinding your teeth down out of anger. You are just trying to be normal, and it’s really dang hard.
And if you think living with bipolar depression is hard, try explaining it to the person you’re living with. It’s impossible to talk about it half of the time because,
- You don’t even know why you’re feeling the way you are, or
- You get to agitated trying to explain yourself you just snap and cause an argument.
Every time I’ve ever tried to talk about it I just get told it’s in my head, or that I don’t know what I’m talking about. Even “There’s no such thing as bipolar depression, you just want attention.” They had the audacity to tell me this in the hospital after my first suicide attempt, seconds after being diagnosed for the first time. I’ve been to therapy, time and time again. And their fix is always the robot meds. And I’m sorry but I'd rather be on a roller coaster ride of emotions than to feel absolutely nothing at all.
It’s hard to explain, and you probably won’t ever understand it unless you’re living with the disorder yourself. But I would never wish this upon anybody, not even my worst enemy. You lose friendships, relationships, even family, all because some stupid disorder that makes you say things you don’t mean. A disorder that makes you shut people out just because you know when you try to explain, it won’t make any sense. A disorder that makes people think you’re crazy, or seeking attention, when in reality you’re just searching for help. Understanding. And acceptance.