Bipolar is such a liar! It says things that are not true, but they feel real and it’s hard not to get caught up by the thoughts that we KNOW are unrealistic—they feel so real it’s hard to fight the words and feelings that are generated from the “bipolar brain.”
An example: I am currently sitting at a café where I like to drink a cup of Cappuccino and watch people pass by.
I’ve been here for half an hour to get some writing done, I am currently alone at my table. There are other tables filled with people having a good time. The minute I walked in, I had this thought,
“Look how much fun everyone is having. You never have fun like this! Most people have groups of friends they hang out with. You are always alone. Look at them! Laughing and having fun. I bet they have easy lives. They are all laughing and you are always alone!”
What the F***?! Really?
On top of all of this, when I am in a bipolar/depression/anxiety spiral (a real thing I swear I didn’t just invent!), there is always a level of guilt and powerlessness. For example, it often looks like this:
- I’m extremely anxious right now and I can’t stop it.
- My life is horrible, I can’t stand this feeling.
- I am going to feel like this forever.
- No one likes me. They’re all just pretending.
- I’ll never be happy again.
- I’m a failure. Everyone else has their life together.
- I’m going to mess up my life if I make the wrong decision.
- My mental illness makes me unlovable.
- This time the depression is never going to go away.
- I’m not good at anything.
- I’m broken & worthless.
- I’m a burden to everyone around me.
- The world would be a better place without me.
How many lies does my bipolar brain have to tell me until I finally realize that my bipolar brain is not to be trusted?
And before anyone says this is about self-esteem or personalty, please know that I’m NOT like this when my life is stable. I have these thoughts and worries when I am slightly depressed, as I am today. This is my stress response and not the real me.
The real ME, my stable SELF simply walks in, sits down, and gets on with life.
My goal? To recognize when my bipolar brain is lying to me. I simply can’t listen and I must be very careful not to act on the lies my brain tells me when I am feeling down and stressed.
What about you? Do you know the difference between yourself and your bipolar brain? It helps to have a list of the lies your bipolar brain tells you. They usually have a pattern and you can learn to recognize the pattern and say NO when your brain is not being your friend.
You are not a burden. You are not a terrible person. You are loved, wanted, and needed.
So, stay alive. Keep fighting. Know that hope is real, and help is available. Better days are ahead, and you will come out of the darkness stronger than ever. You will find yourself again. I promise. Be strong, even if being strong is the only choice you have!