They Will Never Understand Us

They don’t understand us.

They may try.

They may think they do.

They may really want to.

They cannot.

The pain and tumults of Bipolar are nebulous and spiralling.

They are invasive and pervasive, unpredictable, and violent.

We who suffer have a hard time pulling language out of our tortured brains and pinning it down on Bipolar.

Especially in a way that might actually mean something more than “Wow, she is really worked up about something” to a Muggle (a non-bipolar).

Describing how Bipolar feels to a Muggle is kind of like describing winter in upstate New York to a Jamaican who never once in his life left Jamaica and never saw any pictures of anywhere else.

You could tell him about the

bare trees,

the gray skies,

the bone chilling cold,

the way your toes grow numb,

the way snow spills in over the tops of your boots and forms an icy ring around your legs.

You could tell him how hard it is to shovel and shovel and shovel and about all of the winter gear you have to wear just to try not to freeze.

You could tell him about the old heater you have installed in your house in order to keep you warm enough to function and not freeze and how much you have to rely on it.

You can tell him how hard it is to get on with your life during and after a blizzard when everything is covered in snow and unrecognizable.

You can try to describe snow.

You can tell him that in the beginning it can be very beautiful, silvery outlined magical trees and powdering gorgeousness falling from the sky just for you.

But then it suffocates you.

You can tell him that you hate it, that it exhausts you, that you wish you could just leave.

Get on a plane and fly to where he is in a land where winter just doesn’t happen.


If he is polite he would sit there nodding at you and he probably would feel very sorry for you (though he might be intrigued by the sparkling trees).

Like most people he will probably now feel like he understands you.

That he understands harsh winter and how it feels.

But if he was actually picked up and dropped into a harsh winter he would be blasted away by the cold of it.

He wouldn’t for one second understand how the hell you survived it.

There is so much more to Bipolar than up and down.

It is that little secret the Pdocs don’t tell you when they hand you your shiny new Bipolar card.

It is something you either learn on the street (Internet) or glean for yourself over time.

Bipolar is much more complex than a clean up and down. There are so many many pieces that are impossible to understand and impossible to explain.

But why did I start by saying don’t tell those Muggles?

Or more accurately don’t try to explain or describe Bipolar to the Muggles?

Because it hurts.

Because they’ll never get it.

Because we’re not talking about cold weather…..

we are talking about a deep raw circus of emotional pain that feels….

vulnerable and

personal and

lonely and

achingly dark and


And because we are not talking about winter gear and cold toes and shoveling driveways

we are talking about some extremely private, personal behaviors, actions and feelings (I won’t list them all here as you all know them).

To share these hurting precious damaged pieces of us,

to show our brokenness,

to let known the depths of hideousness we feel is a leap and the sharing itself is painful

. When you put something out there like that you need to know that it will land somewhere.

Somewhere soft and warm where it can implant and be held.

To toss this loaded ball of sharing to a Muggle is like throwing a crystal wine glass to a toddler.

They will never catch it.

No matter how hard they try.

And the results can be shattering.

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