I don’t believe in Recovery




So here is this weird thing.

I know that I just posted my recovery tale from the website Dropping Keys.

And while I was able to use the word…rework my idea of the word “recovery” to mean something that worked in my head and my experience

the truth is that I don’t really believe in recovery as it relates to Bipolar

especially not in the traditional sense.

I can stand by the way that I presented it in the piece.

Recovery as actually being a process of uncovering and discovering and all of that pretty sort of language.

But something hasn’t been sitting with me quite right

I don’t know

I think it is the fact that the front page of my Bipolar website was announcing how “recovered” I am

and the fact that I think that the word is actually sort of detrimental to us Bipolars….and to the others with Atypical Brain Conditions (my new word for mental illness.  I’m trying it on)

The word recovery, no matter how much I moosh language around, just still smacks of achievement…of finality..of something being over or ended or healed or gotten over or ….ya know recovered.

And that is not how I actually feel

and that is not what I want to make you guys feel

and I don’t believe “recovery” should be our goal

It makes it seem like if you just TRY hard enough than you can get past Bipolar in some way

that you can get less Bipolar

that you can become better at being Bipolar


and I don’t feel better at being Bipolar

not at all

I just feel more accepting of Bipolar

I just feel less alone in my Bipolar

I just feel like I’m putting the pain of my own Bipolar to use somehow

I don’t feel any less Bipolar


Yes I have been lucky with meds.  My second round of trials did succeed in leveling me to a great extent.

Which I know is totally obnoxious and should not be admitted to a group of Bipolars except with the acceptance that tomatoes will be thrown.

But I don’t lie.

And it has not been perfect.

I just mostly have not fallen back to extreme depths I had hit in my last “big one”

and I have so far not experienced the next “big one” that I have nervously been scanning the horizon for….

feeling the way Californians do about earthquakes….

“we’re due to have one…anyday now….”

that could just be luck

Bipolar is cyclical….or not cyclical so much as all over the fucking place…

You seriously never know

and one can always wonder when medication “works” if the episode was just ending anyway

and one can always wonder when the medication doesn’t “work” if the episode simply has not run its full course yet and can’t actually be stopped by the imperfect inadequate meds.

at least I always wonder that


The experience I describe in the post Don’t.Fuck.With.Me. happened while I was on my “right” medication.

I was still very depressed for a long time on my right medication…

just not to the extent I had been at the bottom of my crash. When I was on no medication at all

(though I was taking a homeopathic remedy…no never mind that’s not true…I had lost it….of course…)


And while I have been feeling relatively stable for awhile now I still routinely find myself

in a puddle of my own bizarreness….

in a pit of agitation

in a pool of despondency

wrestling once again with the lies Bipolar tells me

with the regrettable paths it leads me down

with the shame of realizing my brain cannot be trusted

the 100,014th smack in the face letting me know that I am not like other people

that I am not like my friends

that I have a disorder

I know that I use all sorts of other language for Bipolar and I don’t generally like the word disorder.

but sometimes I feel disordered

Let’s be honest

sometimes…a lot of the time

all of the time depending where we are….

Bipolar FEELS like a fucking disorder


When you start to list out all of the life shit you suck at

everything you fail

everything that you cannot do

cannot pull off

when you start to list out

all of the stupid shit you have done





and when you think about all of the

explanations you have given

all of the apologies

all of the regrets you have filed


It is hard not to dig your self a shame burrow and stick your

“I’m a fucking loser” flag at the entrance.



So no.  I don’t feel like I have mastered or recovered Bipolar

I don’t feel farther along than anybody else

All I have is that I have listened to many other Bipolars

and I have accepted that I am Bipolar

but it is easier to accept something that you don’t believe is an entirely real construct

It is easier for me to accept that some of us are neurologically atypical and therefore different and gifted in ways but also experience great suffering because of them and that this group of people just has the label “Bipolar” for now…..

than to accept that I have a very specific illness called Bipolar Disorder

but now I am getting deep and word playing and roundabout and I didn’t want to do that in this post

and you know what…. as I wrote that just now I was actually thinking

sure I actually do accept that I have an “illness” too

it is weird but I just do right now

and I just do think it is both


I just wanted to be real with you guys about this word “recovery”

I just wanted to let you know that it makes me feel weird to apply it to myself

and you know what else doesn’t sit right to me…

being described as a “brave woman”

I love the Dropping Keys website and I respect that choice of words

but I just don’t feel like it applies to me.

I might identify with strong

because I believe we are ALL strong badass warriors

not because we are recovering from Bipolar

but because we are HERE every day

and that is Bipolar

we are here everyday



So if recovery is not our goal

than what should our goal be

I don’t know

I think most of us are just striving for days





where we can be free

of the pain

and that is goal enough

that is noble

that is


that is Bipolar

real Bipolar







Add Yours
  1. dyane

    I really related to this post; you are SO right in everything you discuss.
    I never use the word “recovery” lightly and it doesn’t feel authentic; I have problems with stability (which I use but always feel freaked out and pretentious using it, plus I always feel like the other shoe is about to drop in terms of bipolar and have written a lot about that) and even “healing” which is in my book title.

    I will never feel “recovered”, 100% stable, or “healed”. I am healing super-slowly in some ways so it’s the least bad of the 3. Oh well……you are humble and realistic and I know that your post will help anyone reading it despite the “R” word!!!!!!!!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. bipolarfirst

    I agree with this whole comment. I really relate. And have the same feelings thatbyou do about these other words as well.

    It is so hard talking and writing about Bipolar all of the time when none of the language is true or accurate for it.


  3. lolabipola

    My thoughts are that “recovery” is a lifelong process. I don’t think we can ever BE “recovered”, just as alcoholics and addicts never “recover”, but the day by day acceptance (I like that!) of the process is what I strive for I think.

    As you say, it’s a difficult concept to wrap your head around. There is no word in our language for this process really. Not that I’m aware of anyway… And it’s all ambiguous and contradictory, but that’s life! And then add bipolar to that little formula, and the process of acceptance adds a whole new dimension to “ordinary” ambiguities and contradictions.

    Thinking a little more on this, I think my aim is to reach a place (or space rather) where my behaviour and my brain functions are congruent with who I feel I am as a person. Sometimes I reach that space, and other days I’m so far off the mark its fucking ridiculous!

    And yes! We are strong! Even when we feel we aren’t, when we’re in the depths of depression, we ARE strong because we keep fighting even though we have no more strength to. We keep fighting even though it doesn’t feel worth it – but it IS worth it.

    I feel so lucky to have found this amazing community of strong, talented, and REAL people! Thank you for all of your insights – so much of what you share resonates with me so much! It’s so good to not feel alone in this, even when you’re all half a world away!

    Liked by 1 person

    • bipolarfirst

      Thank you! Yes! My feelings exactly

      and this..

      ” I think my aim is to reach a place (or space rather) where my behaviour and my brain functions are congruent with who I feel I am as a person.”

      very well put. That is so true.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. darie73

    I have always had a problem seeing the word “recovered” or “recovery” when it relates to Bipolar Disorder, Conversion Disorder, or Alcoholism. People who do not deal with these issues get the impression that “recovery” or “recovered” means “cured”. It doesn’t. I will always be Bipolar and an Alcoholic. I might be in remission. A time where I am sober or doing somewhat better with my Bipolar symptoms but I’m not in recovery or recovered. It is so difficult for people to understand this. I can’t just have a bad day either. Somehow it has to be related to one of my illnesses. I’m at the point where even I don’t know anymore which is which and I’m and I’ve stopped questioning it. It is what it is. I don’t know until I wake up. Even then things can change as the day goes on. I am always at my worse in the morning. I do know that I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. I’m angry at being avoided and left to deal with myself by myself because I’m the only one who hasn’t given up. It’s the loneliness, fatigue, and lack of human contact that I find the worse. I also find some of it unforgivable. I still smile and say I’m fine because if I don’t the few people left would stop interacting with me. Lying all the time makes me tired. No one wants to hear you when you’re down. Except here.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s