What If I’m not Really Bipolar…NOBODY is textbook Bipolar

Except maybe Patty Duke.  She seems to be.

Another title of this was going to be

“Get Your DSM Off my Bipolar”

and another one was going to be

“What is REAL Bipolar..the threads that join us all”

One deep

One cutesy.

So whatever

C’est moi


But there are a couple of things in this one that all deserve a title….

  1. The question so many of us ask ourselves……”Am I making it up?”
  2. No one is textbook Bipolar.  It is OUR Bipolar NOT theirs.
  3. If #2 is true then what is it that we share?

Wow that sounds so organized.

Don’t worry.  It is still me.

Does it help if I confess that I already wrote this and added that number bit in now?


okay cool



Many of us ask this…think this…

At some point or another in the whole journey after diagnosis…

or maybe at a lot of points.

because it feels so fucking weird

to say


and to place


over all of those feelings and behaviors and pains

that you thought

were you


Bipolar is a physical illness the symptoms of which mascarade as psychological issues.

So it is hard to get it through anybody’s head…including ours….

that what is happening is NOT a psychological problem…NOT a character defect

And I think it is Bipolar’s impersonation of psychological problems that breeds such doubt within us.

Because Bipolar just feels so wrong

It makes no sense

it can’t be described (though we sure try)

and therefore it is so slippery and so hard to really catch

to grab and hold it in your hands and get a good look at it….

at your own Bipolar

and that makes it





Many of us enjoy the relief of hanging your hat on the diagnosis.

But first for many there seems to be a period of time in which there is A lot of questioning and searching and pondering and wondering and doubting and…..

Because it seems like some of us very much want to join the club.  Want to grab a handbook and a cookie (sugarless for those of us who go cray on sugar) and find a seat on the floor in the “No Normies Allowed” clubhouse……

we think…okay well maybe these are my people…maybe this is actually where I belong…

But we hesitate…


“what if I’m

not really



And whenever that thought hits… it spirals around to all of your crazy shit…and you start thinking well hmmmmm

“If I’m not Bipolar……..


And there is this icky little fear that we may not be Bipolar and if we are not Bipolar……..

then we must be one sick twisted little nutcase.

Because WHO would CHOOSE this shit?

You’d have to be INSANE

And so we whisper in our heads…

to ourselves…

maybe we ask…

Am I making it all up?

What if I am making it all up?


I think this is such a deep rooted question.

I see it coming from the very most suckiest part of Bipolar (one of them)…

This is the part that makes the absolute understanding of the disorder…the understanding of what is wrong…the understanding of what is happening in your own brain….

the understanding of WHY

All of the Whys and Hows

it makes them………


it makes them


Bipolar doesn’t let us understand it

Which is perfect because that allows it to destroy our self esteem.

And since Bipolar is nebulous and endlessly confusing and then you add low self esteem….

you are perfectly set up to think

“Am I making it up?”


but dude

I am going to try to say this nicely….gently….

if you went to a Psychiatrist and told them stuff and they stamped


on your forehead

then you can be pretty sure that there is something…



about you.


And also if there is something so different about you that you spend a lot of time wondering if the doc was right and you “might” be Bipolar….

Then there is something so different about you that you might as well just call it Bipolar and come on into the clubhouse.

And at that point you can start all of the….

“but I’ve never been grandiose(this is sad to me btw) or spent all my money so I can’t have been manic….I must not be Bipolar”


“But i’ve never wanted to kill myself……”


“But those people sound way crazier than I am….

I just CAN’T be Bipolar!”

blah blah blah blah


this is where I’m going to do the rules thing….

Who the Fuck CARES

There are no rules!

They are making this shit up

You may not feel like you “fit” the diagnosis perfectly……

Most of us DON’T

and you may not feel like your “episodes” “fit” the criteria perfectly……

most of us are not textbook Bipolar

Most of us are some swirling conglomeration of symptoms…traits…manifestations…things….

and somehow “fit” under this BIG broad heading of “Bipolar.”

It is our Bipolar.

They can’t tell us what we can and cannot be and feel and have and still be Bipolar….

We tell them that Bipolar consists of this and that and the other thing….

WE are the ones who KNOW Bipolar


They will keep changing the DSM again and again

Our Bipolar will never change


And yes…we all have different Bipolar

some of us don’t have much mania

some of us never get psychotic

some of us have never been suicidal

or delusional

or hospitalized.

Some of us hear voices…

some of us dissociate

etc etc etc etc

you get it


there are these strong tiny invisible threads

that seem to weave through all of our experience

and hold us together

these we feel and see in each other’s writing

and words

and feelings

and suffering

this is when we read someone’s words and we

just know






We all do this for each other.

People read this blog and say the most amazing stuff to me about how they relate….

I read other people’s posts and words….

and I feel like their writing….





We don’t need to all have the same DSMable checklisted symptoms to get to claim our place among each other ……

Those lists….

are not

REAL Bipolar…….


The way we know each other’s pain…

THAT is the REAL Bipolar


So are you making it up?


You’re not.

If you read this blog and relate….

If you read other Bipolar blogs and posts and threads and words and relate….

You’re not.

Either we are all making it up or no one is.

Either way….

Let’s stick together.

Bipolar Together


Add Yours
  1. bpnurse

    “Am I making this up?” is the question I asked myself right up until I was hospitalized last year. That’s when I knew for certain that I was bipolar. It had taken three years to get there. So I know what you’re talking about. Thanks for putting the feeling into words!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Screaming Jean

    Absolutely fan fucking tastic, is how I would describe this post. Brilliant, don’t stop writing! You hit the nail on the head each time



  3. lolabipola

    Yup – even though I read these blogs and relate to so much of what others experience, I still caught myself wondering the other day if I really am bipolar. I know, of course, that I am… But sometimes I recall the stuff I have done, or thought, or heard, or experienced, and thought, “But that’s normal isn’t it?” Some of it very well may be, but I sincerely doubt that the Universe imparts her knowledge via songs by P!nk – although, I guess its not entirely impossible… There are things in our universe we just do not understand.

    I’m rambling now, but yes… I quite agree. No one ticks all the boxes for a diagnosis – a friend of mine who is studying the same thing as me (and who is exceptionally intelligent – she almost always gets better grades than me!) believed that to be diagnosed with Bipolar I you had to have been hospitalised. This is not true. Mania manifests in different ways for different people, and even for one individual, each manic episode may be different. I never really go off on big spending sprees when manic, although my last episode I spent over $1200 on tattoo’s (four or five sessions over two months! Not all in one sitting!) – that was less about frivolous spending, and more about dealing with some emotional pain, and giving in to my grandiose delusions.

    Anyhooooooo – great post! Thank you!


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