Understanding Bipolar Disorder

man alone
Danis Lou

Bipolar people are no strangers to screwing up and destroying the things they care most about. Behind each of them is a trail of ashes, shattered dreams, and broken relationships.

The way you look at those things is important. I’ve talked to many bipolar and depressive people who shoulder the blame entirely. They feel that since they couldn’t control themselves in a moment of “weakness”; that they are only to blame for the situation. They shoulder the responsibility and do not want to use their illness as an excuse.

There is a problem with that. Let’s say you break your arm. The cause of the broken arm is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter if you did it to yourself out of stupidity or if it was an accident by someone else. The bottom line, you have a broken arm and you’re not going to be doing any heavy lifting with it until it heals. It doesn’t matter how you feel about it, the circumstances, how pissed off, sad, or judgmental other people may get about it; your arm is presently not working correctly.

An unwell cycle is the same. An unwell cycle means your brain is not working the way it should be. You’re sick and your decisions will be tainted by that sickness.

How is a bipolar person supposed to make decisions with clarity when their mind is feeding them misinformation about the world around them, their feelings, and their lives? Is it fair to hold them to the same standards that you would a normal person even though they have a “broken arm” at the time? We wind up getting assigned or assigning ourselves the shitty labels of society for our actions.

For those of you who don’t know, the love of my life is bipolar. So I understand the blogs I read online and why people were so harsh, I know what people with bipolar disorder are capable of, which led to the biggest mistake of my life.

I’m hoping that this can help someone that may be put in the position I was, my boyfriend of 5 years randomly became unwell. I can say I handled it poorly, with all the blogs I read, there was never an explanation. There were just people just talking about how much they regretted being with that person, which made me react and not understand anything,which made our situation worse.

If you love the person, I can’t stress enough for you to to educate yourself, I can’t stress enough for you to remember why you fell in love in the first place, it may be too late for us but I’m hoping to help anyone reading this.

Many bipolar and depressive people have poor opinions of themselves because of there long lists of failures. He was no different for a long time. He saw very little positive about himself though plenty of people tried to show him otherwise, including me. After he was diagnosed, he was able to objectively look at his history, actions, and path in life. He took a spiral for the worse, which made me spiral downhill, neither of us knew how to cope or to what extent we were looking at.

I came to realize and understand eight months later that he wasn’t all of those negative things I thought he was because he wasn’t like that when he was balanced. It was only when he was unbalanced, did things really come off the rails. I know that’s a narrative a lot of bipolar people out there face as well. They haven’t learned to see who they really are versus who they are while unwell. The person may think they are unlovable, unworthy, irresponsible, hateful, unfaithful, or just plain old crazy.

But what happens if you set aside the mental illness? Who are you when you’re balanced? Do you even know? Or have you been dealing with it for so long that you don’t really know who that person is? You are not your illness. You are not the walls you had to build to minimize the damage of the disorder.

Somewhere behind the disorder and the walls is a person smothered by the weight of the illness and the pain it created in your life. So be kind to yourself. Give yourself a little leeway when the disorder fucks things up for you. No one will ever get it 100% right. Most people won’t get it or “understand” the personal circumstances even if they want to; that’s just something we have to come to terms with. It doesn’t mean everyone won’t though.

Fight for the ones you love, mental illness is a real thing. Would you leave a loved one if they got diagnosed with cancer? Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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