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Bipolar Is Unfair

When most of us were young we learned that life isn’t fair. Yes, that boy got a bigger slice of cake than you. Yes, that girl gets better grades than you even though she doesn’t study. Yes, that’s boy’s imaginary friend’s clothes are nicer than yours. Life isn’t fair.

But when I was diagnosed with bipolar at 20, my definition of “unfair” had to be reviewed.

Disease Isn’t Fair

It is true that no disease is fair. No person asks to get a disease and diseases are, by their very nature, random. It’s never fair to get diabetes or cancer or the flu. It’s random and you have to deal with it.

Are Some Things Less Fair Than Others?

In point of fact, lots of nasty things have happened to me. Most of them have been pretty unfair. But I can step forward from these things in my life because they are things, discrete experiences, they don’t have to affect me every day. You get therapy, you burn a scarecrow in effigy, you move on.

But I never move on from bipolar. It isn’t a thing. It’s everything. It’s sleep schedules and med schedules and bipolar symptoms and medication side-effects and moods and therapy and doctors and control every day of my life. There’s never a break. Not for a moment. I’m bipolar now. A minute from now. A day from now. A year from now. Always sick.

scaleIs it Particularly Unfair to be Destroyed at 20?

At 20-years-old I had a pretty normal life. School, relationships, a place to live, an on-track career, bad hair – pretty standard stuff. And then I became bipolar and broke apart. And while I don’t recommend that anyone get sick with anything I especially don’t recommend getting a life-long illness at 20. You have too many years you have to live with it yet to go.

Is Diligently Applying Every Known Therapy and Yet Remaining Broken Unfair?

I have tried every medication, therapy, and bipolar treatment imaginable for this thing. And it doesn’t work, treatment barely makes a dent. I’ve done everything right and I’m still sick. Of course, now I’m fat, ugly, scarred, old and sick. It seems unfair.

Is Still Being Destroyed at 32 Unfair?

Illnesses steal your life. They might still moments, or days, or weeks, or years, but they steal your life. And as my entire life is structured around not getting worse it seems that other people just can’t deal with, or fit into this rigid structure. Bipolar has stolen friendship and love and the possibility of ever having children.

Bipolar IS Unfair

And so while I realize that Life Isn’t Fair and that we all get bad cards to deal with now and again, the level of unfairness brought forth with this disease still strikes me. I shouldn’t have to deal with this. I should get to be happy. I should get to get married. I should get to have someone who loves me. I should get to have the things that I want.

But I can’t. I was born with a bad brain. And it’s not fair.

[As a quick aside to the people who will tell me I have a bad attitude: 1. The fact that bipolar isn’t fair is an actual fact. Admitting it isn’t negative, it’s honest. 2. Just because people don’t admit to thinking this out loud doesn’t mean that a huge number of us aren’t thinking it. Admission and expression are helpful in acceptance of such realities.]

You can find Natasha Tracy on Facebook or @Natasha_Tracy on Twitter.

Author: Natasha Tracy

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43 thoughts on “Bipolar Is Unfair”

  1. Hi,
    I feel like that a lot of times. And Yes, I know there will be people who will maybe say:
    “but you can get married! You can have kids!”
    i’ve heard those remarks and I know Bipolar people who are married and does have kids.
    But me? I know that will not happen with me.
    I don’t think I want to share this horrible life of mine with anyone. I don’t know any other person in the world who would willingly put up with me. I just don’t have someone who loves me enough. And in any case: I have way too many issues. And yes: IT SUCKS! I also want to know what it feels like to know that someone truely cares and got my back. But it ain’t gonna happen.

    And kids?
    I think I got my bipolar from my mom, although she is not diagnosed. I don’t want to do that to my kids. I don’t want them to experience the same screwed up life than me. I don’t want them to have the possibility to inherit this thing. I don’t want to create kids that will always feel different.

    If there are people reading this and you have it all: the hubby, the kids, the happy ending: I am really glad for you. It’s nice to know that it is possible. But I don’t think I will ever be part of that group.

  2. Hi,
    I feel like that a lot of times. And Yes, I know there will be people who will maybe say:
    “but you can get married! You can have kids!”
    i’ve heard those remarks and I know Bipolar people who are married and does have kids.
    But me? I know that will not happen with me.
    I don’t think I want to share this horrible life of mine with anyone. I don’t know any other person in the world who would willingly put up with me. I just don’t have someone who loves me enough. And in any case: I have way too many issues. And yes: IT SUCKS! I also want to know what it feels like to know that someone truely cares and got my back. But it ain’t gonna happen.

    And kids?
    I think I got my bipolar from my mom, although she is not diagnosed. I don’t want to do that to my kids. I don’t want them to experience the same screwed up life than me. I don’t want them to have the possibility to inherit this thing. I don’t want to create kids that will always feel different.

    If there are people reading this and you have it all: the hubby, the kids, the happy ending: I am really glad for you. It’s nice to know that it is possible. But I don’t think I will ever be part of that group.

  3. Hi Corne,

    Yup, that pretty much sums it up for me too. I wish that someone would prove me wrong, step up, and love me, but so far, I’m painfully right.

    And yeah, while I would never tell someone whether they should or should not have children I, personally, would hate to give this disorder to another person. All I can think of is an innocent young life being marred with this forever, not having done anything wrong, but being sick forever anyway.

    You’re not alone. We, the alone, are out here.

    – Natasha

  4. myself suffering from depression and having a husband that suffers from bipolar disorder, i understand the unfairness of life and how it can so totally suck. it is a daily struggle — one that i know will never end and probably get worse as we age (we r in our 40’s). if we didn’t have our faith in Christ Jesus — i don’t know what we would do. i know that churches haven’t been too kind to the mentally ill and have contributed greatly to the stigma that causes alot of unnecessary anguish — but ppl are ppl and we push against the dogma — refusing to be isolated and shoved aside like trash. we are blessed with an awesome church and pastor — they are actually paying for additional counseling (above what my hubby already kinda gets with his pdoc and therapist) to help us with our struggle. we have been married almost 12 yrs now and have 2 kids together (he has 3 from prev marriage – all adult age) and know that we are blessed beyond belief even with our struggles — knowing that Christ has strengthened us and gives us hope. we have been burned by some churches — but we didn’t give up because we knew that Christ loves us and would find us a safe church home. Please know that you are loved, Natasha — by us and by Christ. Not trying to sell u on religion — just reaching out in Love and holding and rocking you in my arms as if i were trying to comfort my own child during their struggles. you are a blessing and a precious gift to many!! don’t forget that.

  5. Cat,

    It sounds like you have found a support system that works for you and that is something we all need. Thank-you for the kind words.

    – Natasha

  6. I am schizoaffective bipolar type, and boy do I know life isn’t fair. I am married, and have a child. We weren’t supposed to be able to have kids, so she is our miracle baby. But it is so hard to be not only the sick me, but to be the sick wife, the sick mother, the sick daughter, the sick granddaughter, etc.

    My mother is going through cancer treatments and it’s hard to be there for her. My brother helps take care of both me and our Mom. There are some times when I can’t even be at home with my husband and child, and have to go for visits, and try to get myself back into their routine. Medications don’t work all that well, but I am on them. I hate ECT treatments, but I do them. Yet, still no relief. What is a person to do? Try to keep on keepin’ on. That is the best I can come up with (actually, my brother came up with it!).

    I sympathise with all of you and your unique struggles. In my own struggles, I feel like a burden to everyone, and that doesn’t help with the disease. It just makes it hurt even more, but I am working on that.

  7. Hi Amy,

    Well, keep on keepin’ on is all many of us do, you’re not alone on that one. You are lucky to have family even though I understand that must be hard as well.

    Thanks for sharing. Good luck.

    – Natasha

  8. Dearest Natasha,
    My husband is now 67 years old and has suffered with Bi-polar disorder for 40 years. It is hard, I read him what you all wrote and he wanted to tell you something….Medication is a given. It definaltely makes him more stable. Even though the disease never leaves him. He has been on every med you can imagine. Some help, most do not. It is a wonder that he remained stable enough to pull a 20 year career in the Army. Spending the last 13months in a hospital in Georgia before retiring. He lost two marriages and two of his children have it. One does very well, the other denies that something is wrong and suffers daily. Steve found his Faith in Jesus Christ and it has saved him from suicide on more than one occassion. Then he met me. My name is Gena and I will tell you that the good times are great times and are worth all the times when things aren’t so great. I love him so much, you are a beautiful, young person. There is someone out there that will see all the attributes you have to offer and will be willing to ride the roller coaster with you. Like Cat, I am not trying to sell you on religion, but it has made the both of us whole. As a couple and as individuals. Steve says to hang in there, the best is yet to come. He also says that perhaps bi-polar is the normal adn the rest of us just haven’t caught on yet.lol May God Bless you and watch over you during your trials. Sincerely, Steve and Gena

  9. Hi Gena and Steve,

    It sounds like you both are lucky to have found each other. It’s great that you’ve found ways that work for you.

    Thank-you for the kind words.

    – Natasha

  10. i can relate to your feelings about mental illness. as fate would have it, i’ve been really down all day today thinking about how i was born with a damaged brain and how mental illness has killed my life. when you described the feeling of being destroyed, from the time of your diagnosis till the present, i just wanted to cry. that’s exactly how i feel inside. i feel destroyed. and the medicines i take, they don’t do much to help. if anything, i feel they’ve contributed even more to the deterioration of my brain.

    and because my brain is so sick, i, too, cant have the things i want. i never had an easy time with friendships. my family are all normal, so none of them can relate to me. and i only had like one real boyfriend my whole life. i wish i could find someone like steve and gena found each other, but my illness is so cruel and merciless, it tries to keep me trapped inside my own lonely world. and therefore, my fear and shame towards myself for being this way just continues to grow. and i retreat even further inside myself so i wont have to feel that pain.

    mental illness is a murderer of the brain, as well as the heart. it is as evil and remorseless as cancer is to the body. it’s a lifelong condition that can only be managed. to me, that just isn’t fair at all. none of this stuff is, but life is life and it doesn’t ask us what can it do to help make things more fair. life sucks really bad for some of us. and i guess we can only accept that and try to do our best. otherwise, we’d only be torturing ourselves by focusing on the negative things all the time.

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