This is one of my favorite analogies for Bipolar disorder!
I feel like people have some sort of expectation regarding Bipolar and depression.
It goes something like this…
the knowledge that You are dealing with Bipolar disorder alone should be enough to make you feel better….
and like ease the symptoms up.
We even tend to do this to ourselves…
“I know this is just Bipolar and it’s not true that no one cares about me and life is meaningless and I should just die….but somehow I just can’t stop tHINKING that. And feeling truly miserable.”
add onto that the expectation that
nice things should equal feeling better
(by feeling better I mean that you should stop feeling the intense internal indescribable agony of Bipolar Disorder)
You know how it goes.
you or someone else says to you….
“You had bacon and pancakes this morning… how can you still feel bad?”
“I stayed up with the baby and you got sleep…shouldn’t you feel better?”
“Everything has gone the way you wanted it to go today….STOP FEELING LIKE SHIT NOW.”
“Other people have REAL problems like poverty and starvation and no dishwashers….so GET OVER YOURSELF and feel better dammit!”
So here is my analogy for this.
I’ll draw it out anyway.
Person A is in abject misery..on the bathroom floor…feels like they’re going to die….
Person B says to Person A “This is just food poisoning. It will pass. You’re not dying.”
Does Person A now hop up and say “ok well good I will try to stop puking and I guess I need to get up and get back to normal even though my insides feel like microwaved cat vomit. Just knowing what is wrong sure makes the sickness just stop now doesn’t it”
or does Person A just moan
If you guessed the first one than you have not experienced food poisoning or any kind of stomach flu and this analogy won’t work for you.
If you guessed the second one than you get a prize. You prize is…I think you’re smart…now that is a good prize right?
So next time you’re curled up in a fetal position feeling unfit for any kind of human experience including sitting up or breathing and just in that perpetual sea of bewilderment we feel at what goes on inside of us and how this could possibly be for real and why can’t we will it away…..
and I know what you do…I know how it goes…well I can give an educated guess…
maybe some thoughts like these
“This is ridiculous/pathetic/unacceptable/stupid”
“You are acting like an insane person”
“Get up already!”
“How hard is it to not be so weird?”
“You seriously can’t even make the dinner/finish that paper/go get the mail/put in a new trash bag/eat anything/get dressed/clip that hangnail??????”
“I know this is bipolar…nothing has happened…I just need to pull my shit together.”
“Don’t you dare pick up that phone and text people crazy ass gobbledee gook! Nobody needs to be burdened with this crazy shit”
“How am I so lame?”
“I am disgrace”
“Everyone is just pretending to like me.”
“Why would anyone like me????.”
“BUT wait!!!! This is JUST Bipolar Disorder!!!!!!!!!!!”
“It’s not REAL”
“THERE IS NO REAL PROBLEM YOU LOSER!!!!!!”
“JUST get UP!”
We don’t expect people to stop feeling sick when they have the stomach flu just because they know the cause of the pain.
We cannot stop FEELING Bipolar disorder just because we know that Bipolar disorder is CAUSING the feeling.
Bipolar is a REAL problem.
And we cannot make it stop.
We cannot get out of it.
All the dishwashers and pancakes and sleep in the world is not going to make the pain go away.
That’s not how it works.
Those things can help us MAKE IT THROUGH THE PAIN
help us make it through the moment
the way when you have the stomach flu you stay in your PJs and watch movies and sip gingerale.
You’re just surviving the illness
Same thing with Bipolar
And that is what we do.