What if Bipolar Disorder was Respected as a Physical Illness…by us?

Let’s face it, the world does not treat Bipolar disorder as a physical illness and therefore we are not given the same respect and compassion that other physical ailments receive. The truth, however, is that all too often we don’t give ourselves this respect and compassion either.  We say the same inappropriate and damaging things to ourselves that other people say to us.  And we can be much more harsh.  We don’t say them to each other. We are very good at recognizing the ways in which our fellow Bipolar is saying and thinking damaging, untrue things to and about themselves.  We are empathetic, supportive, and encouraging with each other.  But with ourselves? Not so much.

You guys know what that thought stream sounds like…”God I’m so lame…I can’t even do X…everybody else can do X…I must just be lazy…I must be making this up…how hard is it do just x, y, or z?…I suck…just get the fuck up!…you really can’t get up…what a loser?…why is it necessary to be sobbing right now?…this is ridiculous…I can’t clean anything! I’m so gross…why am I acting like such a freaking weirdo?…seriously I cannot even leave the house?…just shut up!…how could I have just lied here all day and not done x…I cannot believe I am acting so crazy!…

And my personal favorite…

“WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?????!!!!!!!!!”

It is as if having serious Bipolar disorder does not strike us as a being a good enough reason to struggle and suffer so very much.

Why do we do this to ourselves?

Maybe it is because everybody else does it to us?

Maybe it is because it is an invisible, confusing illness that is impossible to explain and impossible to understand and that carries some intense stigma?

Maybe it is because we ARE judged by others so it follows naturally that we should judge ourselves?

Maybe it is because we do not understand Bipolar either?

Maybe it is because the depth and complexity and confusion and pain of Bipolar is so strong that we ourselves cannot begin to fathom how it is possible be so debilitated?

Maybe it is because we are constantly battling an illness that fucks with our brains (that organ responsible for our thoughts and feelings) and in turn makes us think and feel things that are disordered?

Just a few ideas.


Add Yours
    • bipolarfirst

      I know! It is hard enough to deal with everything that comes with the Bipolar without the added stress of feeling like we shouldn’t be Bipolar in the first place! As if we asked for it. As if we are getting away with something.

      Sometimes we treat ourselves like we are trying to slither off the hook of having to be functional because we WANT to. As if we LIKE it. But many people honestly do think those things about us. So we also shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves for the knee jerk reaction of being hard on ourselves.


  1. Toodles

    I am pretty high functioning. I work for myself. I can just about run a business when I’m hyper, but I’d never get away with working for somebody. I often take days off and I am pretty difficult to be around when I’m up. When depressed, I’m lucky if I can get out of bed before 1300 and even more lucky if I can work 4 hours in a week.

    I don’t know how anybody could want this illness. I’ve only been diagnosed for about 6 months. I’ve told 4 people. I’m still reeling and the stigma surrounding MH has made me feel pretty embarrassed and ashamed.


    • bipolarfirst

      Yeah. The stigma is so tough. Especially when it comes from ourselves. That is why we need to hear from each other. When we realize how awesome we all are that personal stigma starts to fade.


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