Mental Health Blogs

“High-Functioning” Bipolar Disorder

Sometimes people don’t believe I’m particularly sick. They meet me, I look fine, I interact, I charm, I wit and all seems, if not normal, at least something reasonably normal adjacent.

And that’s fine. It’s by design. Being a high-functioning mentally ill person, I can’t really afford to run around with my hair on fire. But faking normalcy, happiness and pleasure is a tricky and very expensive bit of business.

High-Functioning Bipolar

Being a “high-functioning” bipolar doesn’t really have a definition, per se. The term indicates that I’m not in a mental hospital, and I do things like live on my own, pay rent, work and whatnot. I would suggest that being “high-functioning” seems to indicate that I can fake not being a crazy person.

High-Functioning Weekdays

It’s really important that I be able to put my bipolar on the shelf. I have to be able to put the crazy away so that I can talk to people, engage in business, produce technical documentation, write articles and so on. I wrote about 12,000 words last week for clients. You can’t do that if you’re pondering where on your wrist the best place to slice is.

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Low-Functioning Weekends

The trouble is, using all my control, sanity and energy during the week to try and produce enough work to pay my rent then leaves me with a really large deficit when I’m not working. I’m crazy. Remember? Not normal? I’m just faking the normal. And faking normal requires more effort than you can possibly imagine.

So then, as soon as I’m not working, I break into a thousand pieces all over the tiles on my kitchen floor.

Sure, you go out Friday night with friends. My Friday night is usually spent fairly catatonic trying desperately not to get suicidal.

Energy is Finite, Bipolar is Exhausting

As I see it, everyone has a similar tank of energy. We expend that energy in lots of ways. We run after kids, we go to the office, we jump out of planes. All fine uses of energy. Me, on the other hand, I spend a massive amount of energy just trying to keep my brain in one place. I have almost no energy, or brain left, outside of that.

I Give Up a Life to Survive

So all the appearance of my functioning is paid for by utter decimation and exhaustion the rest of the time. I don’t have energy or brain space left to read, see friends, date or do pretty much anything else. The last thing I want to do is leave the house. I want to sleep. Forever. And ever.

I do know wonderful people and I do adore them. But that doesn’t overcome the inertia of having every drop of energy sucked from me so I can pay rent.

Bipolar Sucks the Life You Don’t See

I’m the least fun person in the world. I work. I sleep. I have a schedule. I keep that schedule. I’m tired. I make excuses not to go out. I’m sort of the lamest person ever.

But that’s the mental illness sucking the life out of my ears. I want to go out. I want to see my friends. I want to do something fun. I want to have a drink with you after work. I just can’t. I’m too tired.

So yes. I’m capable. I’m talented. I work hard. I produce stuff. Yay me. But the price I pay for that is not being able to be anything else.

You can find Natasha Tracy on Facebook or GooglePlus or @Natasha_Tracy on Twitter or at the Bipolar Burble, her blog.

This entry was posted in Being Crazy, Coping, Depression, How Others See Bipolar, Impact of Bipolar, Understanding Mental Illness and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

181 Responses to “High-Functioning” Bipolar Disorder

  1. elisa says:

    Im exhausted at the moment, and very depressed. But i wanted to say thank you for this article. I feel the same way, was high functioning at all costs. Today i snapped. I had already upped my therapy to early intervention, as i felt myself skipping away. But the place was not taking me seriously because i was high functioning. And also because of a bad back injury since april, its getting soooo hard to fight for myself and even there get the help i need. I wish it wasnt so hard. Then today, i could not do any of it any longer. I have been forcing myself to keep going at all costs. I have to make a decision. Im scared. Im so used to being “ok” and functioning. I see my therapist for a half hour tomorrow,then finally (been there since 13th) get to talk to the apn. If med change helps, ill be happy. If not, for the first time in a long time, maybe inpatient. But i have an appt with the surgeon on sept 4th. Ahah trying to take care of back and mental health at same time is sooo hard. Just want to go to work, pretend all i have to, and go home. That to me although so hard, kept me healthier mentally.

  2. I really appreciated this article. People who see me work think, Wow, how can he do all that stuff every day? He’s smart! They don’t know that after a day on the job I sleep for 4 hours on the couch until I can manage to drag myself to the refrigerator to get a microwave dinner and pop it in the nuker and even eat the Goddamned thing. Then I sit in my recliner and zone out and watch movies and listen to the stereo and maybe talk to a bipolar friend about being bipolar and high functioning. After I’ve bugged my neighbors enough, I take a Seroquel for sleep and do it all over again the next day.

    Some days I can’t even drag myself to my computer lab. I just stay in bed and sleep the day away and pretend I’ve done a day’s work when I fill out my daily report. I don’t LIKE to do that, but I’ve learned some survival mechanisms to keep my job and please my boss and still deal with bipolar.

    I just came off of a 7-week leave. I worked 320 hours in 2 months on a serious deadline and got burned out and got in a motorcycle wreck to boot. I came back, not because I was ready, but because I burned through my savings in 7 weeks. I’m doing my best to hang in there, but I fear it may not be enough. The worry of having to leave Wine Country and move in with my mom in Utah if I lose my job is enough to keep me moving forward, but is the pace fast enough? I hope so. I value my freedom and my perks of living here.

    So the high-functioning bipolar person isn’t a myth, but there’s more to it than meets the public eye. I’m so happy you brought this up and shared your experience.

  3. Sarah says:

    As someone who resigned from a dream job, just to try and fix myself, and immediately went into a manic episode (my first)
    Then after recovery got a great little stepping stone job, resigned from that, and went into manic episdoe,
    I say DON’T QUIT YOUR JOB, whatever you do. The whole thing you’ve got going on there is obviously really important to you.
    Hang in there, you will make it.

  4. Marie Blanch says:

    Hi, thanks for this. I have been diagnosed quite late (55, now 57) and the revelations it has brought are huge. I have been a successful journalist for 30 years, but never quite seemed to get to where others thought I should (family members) and was criticised for that. While my daughter was at preschool and other mothers went for coffee and shopped, I went home and stared at the wall until it was time to go back and pick her up. I have now been made redundant twice and retrained in an industry where I will work parttime and study … I still seem driven to be at the top of tree, even though I probably won’t get there. but hey, despite some seriously deep depressions, addictions (3 rehab admissions) and the loss of my marriage (menopausal maniac) I am still here … fighting every day. Stay strong.

  5. Maggie Hill says:

    What an impact that your blog entry has had…thank you. I have felt so frustrated as I have been off of work for going on five years, and now am ready to return to work, but have no job to return to! I have a University Degree, have been an Educational Assistant and finished Teacher’s College here in Canada but did not graduate due to a math course requirement that turned into a full blown phobia inciting my second setback since initial diagnoses, and my first year of marriage…I am angry that I have five years of emptiness of my resume and can’t account for it. If I had cancer, I could talk about it in an interview, or in a cover letter, but bi-polar disorder??? I completely understand the entries that I have read previous to mine. Friends just don’t get it, and are not willing sometimes to stick around. They get tired of asking and getting told ‘no’. I have also fallen through the cracks of Canada’s available resources for people with ‘disabilities’. Luckily we have those but I am not ‘disabled’ enough to qualify. Just trying to believe and keep treading water. Thanks everyone.

  6. Julia says:

    Work does help, or at least it can. My bipolar diagnosis and real break happened over the course of an entire year to 1 1/2 years after wrongfully losing my job.

    I know it’s not the case for many people, but my job, my life’s work, did define me. It’s how I chose to define myself. I was, and always will be, a teacher. Although I know I can do just about whatever I might want, teaching and working with children is what I love.
    That is one reason why work can help. The other is that it provides a tremendous STRUCTURE.

    Let me say it again, STRUCTURE.

    Notably, an EXTERNAL structure.

    And do not fool yourself or let anyone else fool you: STRUCTURE is extremely important for anyone, but most ESPECIALLY for anyone living with a mental illness . . . even if it’s well-managed. It’s this routine that Natasha talks about, either here in this posting or a different one I read at some point. It’s CRUCIAL.

    And having an EXTERNAL structure is oodles easier than than trying to establish and maintain your own little structure, especially if you’re in a current episode though also if you’re not.

    Work provides this. It gives you that framework, a foundation, to fight through your depression, to organize and give priority to your mania or hypomania, or to your adhd . . . structure that keeps you engaged in real time with real people.

    Of course work can also be too demanding, and that’s where the balance comes into play. However, here in the United States, you can and should request little accomodations to make your work life a little easier, so that it doesn’t completely overwhelm you. If you’re not so sure about disclosing, the good news is you don’t have to disclose the exact nature of your disability or even that you have a “diability” needing an “accomodation.” Depending on your work, there should be policies for you to follow if such a need arises. However, even if there aren’t, all you have to do is go to whom your immediate supervisor is and say the following things:
    (schedule a meeting, if needed and the time is inopportune)
    1. What it is that is posing the greatest difficulty for you
    2. Why–you have a chronic medical condition that flares up every now and then (or however you want to put it, but make it clear that it’s not a completely temporary thing)
    3. What you need from your supervisor, and don’t be stuck on just one thing. This should prompt a discussion about what kinds of things could help, so if you have more than one idea, it’s good to voice them to demonstrate that you have some flexibility.

    **Always take good notes, if not while you’re talking, then afterwards. Make note of the date, time, what was said in as specific wording as possible. Do be aware your employer can ask for verification, but also know that there is a LIMIT to what they can ask. The best thing to do is to look it up–EEOC’s site for guidelines regarding ADA, Americans with Disabilities Act. (From there you can also find several links to ideas for accomodations).**

    Since I lost my job, it’s been about two years and I am definitely more stable. I managed to get on disability (for the time being; not a long term thing in my mind, necessarily). I’ve been hospitalized seven times, twice involuntarily, and it all happened over roughly seven months, lasting an accumulated total of two monthss. This explosion into full-fledged bipolar disorder, caused by the loss of my job and the nature by which it happened, has taken a serious toll of my life . . . in what I’m able to manage stress wise, what I’m able to even do on a day to day basis. But I am determined to continue getting my life back. Will look the same as before? No. Will I be able to work full-time again teaching? I don’t know. Not now. Will I be able to do SOMEthing (workwise, that I want to do)? Yes. I don’t know how long it’ll take to get there though. And I don’t actually care about the time, as long as I’m working on it every day in some way or another.

    So my advice, if I were to give any–keep working, but put the tools in place that you need to be successful.

  7. Jamie says:

    What a reassuring article this was! I’ve been operating on all cylinders for many years, having broken down once for an extended period of time during the “dark years” of my bipolar illness. The depression was stifling. The anger and helplessness were debilitating. It took me 5 years to overcome that little setback. It involved several hospital stays, short term disability from work on numerous occasions, and a couple of stints of moving back in with the parents.
    I’d finally broken through this crippling fog back in 2009. I was getting healthy. I was feeling like myself again and I was happier than I’d been in years. I had pulled back from the regular therapy visits. There were no more classes on dialectal

  8. Jamie says:

    (cont)
    training. I felt I had climbed the mountain and reached its pinnacle. I was relieved.
    Fast forward to 2013. I’m still holding down the same job, spending my days functioning normally while at work and with friends, for the most part. Where everything comes unraveled is after work, on weekends and those times when I’m not “on”. The guise of pretending is at rest and I can be myself. I fall apart. I clean up the mess on the floor that is me once I walk through the door of my home. I spend my two days off a week licking my wounds, nurturing that scared kid in me and trying to find a way to decompress before Monday comes and I have to pretend again. I thought I was the only one who did this. This is what “normal” is like for me. I didn’t know any different. I thought that I was the only one who felt so utterly exhausted after work. Now I know…I’m different and so are many other people.
    Thank you for this article. It helps to know that I’m not alone.

  9. Courtney says:

    Thank you so, so much for this article. I’m fairly recently diagnosed, 22 and in grad school and working. I’ve noticed that phenomenon lately (this week/weekend has been the worst depressive episode in recent memory). I’m thankful to know I’m not alone in that sense, but discouraged to see that it isn’t a thing that gets better. I already feel like I’m too tired to deal with this diagnosis. I don’t know if you still monitor the comments here, but I wanted to ask if that’s a worthwhile way of life in your opinion. I’d imagine it’s different for everyone, but for me, the energy spent (not just at work, but in trying to deal with suicidality, etc. and just moving through the world) is getting to be too much for any sort of joy or meaning I get out of life. It isn’t worth it.

  10. Sarah says:

    Hi Courtney,
    It doesn’t have to be this way forever. Consider the hard work you are doing now to be an investment in your future. The joy will return, just keep trying and don’t accept second best in your treatment.

  11. Legina says:

    Thanks for sharing that piece of your life Natasha. That meant a lot to me because it seems like a more personal view of you.

  12. ANN says:

    I am glad to here there are others that have to pretend and then fall apart. That is so true of this illness. I am a nurse. I have been reduced to having to work night shift because I just can’t deal with the stress of the daily routines such as doctors orders, med pass, dealing with families, doing lengthy admissions and a host of other things. I have missed work to the point of almost pointing out for the last two years. I do share my Bipolar with friends at work and outside of work. The hard thing is while people are sympathetic they really just don’t understand what it’s really like. They don’t understand why I sleep so much and why I don’t want to interact. My nurse practitioner really wants my to apply for disability benefits but I am the bread winner in the family….more added stress!!! I am so glad I read this Natasha.

  13. Sarah Ryan says:

    While I respect that each case of bipolar is unique, I am quite sorry that you experience such fatigue and still call this “high-functioning”. There are treatment options for fatigue. I hope people strive for a full and complete life, meaning socializing as well as work. Perhaps it’s simply not possible, but I hope the message is out there to at least try!

  14. Maria says:

    I am 25, with a Bachelor’s degree and I was just diagnosed Bipolar last week. I knew something was wrong since I was a teenager with eating disorders and full blown major depression with psychotic features my first year of college. Somehow I managed to hide all my symptoms and the only ones that know of my inner turmoil are my immediate family. While they are very supportive and understanding, it is hard for me and my self esteem to accept that my normal is crazy. I wish every second that I hadn’t been born like this, that I had another chronic disease less shameful. I am currently on Lithium and a week of zyprexa to bring me down from the mania, but I don’t know how to deal with the fact that im gonna have to take an antipsychotic for the rest of my life.

  15. Sarah says:

    Maria – one day at a time. Anything is possible in the future.

  16. Hi Maria,

    When I first started taking medication I couldn’t fathom taking an antipsychotic for one day let alone for years. But I got over that fear and came to realize that one single day is manageable. I can choose to wake up in the morning and take my antipsychotic that day. And tomorrow will take care of itself.

    It’s not so much about doing something “for the rest of your life” as much as it is about making good decisions every day of your life. If that means taking a pill every day for better health, then that’s what it means.

    Tomorrow will take care of itself.

    - Natasha Tracy

  17. alex says:

    Thank you for sharing. What you said is the most accurate I have heard yet.

  18. meg says:

    I have never really realized there were high functioning people with the bipolar disorder. I’ve been in groups…but never with someone who was “high functioning”. I have been told I was years after I was diagnosed. I thought I was just fooling the Dr.’s even though I have told them everything I have done and feeling. I felt like I was not having a hard time like others…I’ve seen many Dr.’s half say I’m a fighter, blah…have to. The last Dr I’d been to told me he didn’t th8nk I was bipolar at all. That was exciting. Maybe I am normal and everyone struggles like I do. I think he was wrong. Now, I don’t have insurance, two toddlers and a beautiful home..with people giving me a hard time about not working full time. How am I to explain…

  19. Diani Meyer says:

    I have bipolar I. I just began (under treated) treatment in 2012. Last year I finally started to get the treatment from my tdoc and pdoc that I need.

    I know how it feels to lose your weekend due to exhaustion and depression. Your post shed light on why I feel that way starting Friday night. So I stopped working so hard. I turned into a type B person and I’m learning to have a life.

    I’ve read one of your posts about how you sometimes feel like you want to slit your wrist while working. I can’t imagine feeling that way. Are you working too much? What’s your support system like? What’s your self care like?

    I think it’s insane to feel the way you do all the time. Maybe we’re just different people, but can you make a therapeutic change in your life so you won’t feel so bad on the weekends? Feeling suicidal as much as you do? Falling to pieces on the weekends? When I get of work on Friday, I am spent. But I have ice cream to come down with. I spend the weekend lying on the couch watching movies. I may hang out with a friend. Taking long walks, etc. But I don’t feel like I’m falling to pieces.

    You have all these wonderful blogs but it seems like you are constantly going through hell. I don’t get it.

  20. Jan says:

    Great article. I work with individuals with developmental disabilites and think of them in terms of “higher functioning” but never thought to apply it to bipolar. I would then classify myself as a higher functioning bipolar. Work is good for me. It gives me focus that helps slow down my brain and keep away the negative thoughts. But, like you, I am exhausted and evenings and weekends are spent trying to re-energize. No going out with husband or friends. No time spent doing fun things. I just hibernate. But thank you for putting this whole experience into words.

  21. Irene says:

    Pffff, thank you.
    We need more days in the week, more hours in the day.
    So we can work and keep while keeping the brain in the right place, rest a lot and have some time left for social or lovelife.
    Take care

  22. Regina Downing says:

    Thank you for this topic. I’m in crisis at work after a year of being unstable on my meds. I work for the feds and got in through a special hiring authority for the disabled. Things were great the first 3 years, but I spent the next 5 begging for more work and feeling more and more useless and powerless. Those built-up feelings along with my meds not working, have brought me to a crisis. Although I have the option of making a six-figure salary indefinitely, my sanity might require I take my chances and retire on disability, which will threaten my future financial health. I feel like a victim of this disease and of prejudice. I don’t know how to have a role in this society anymore. It scares me and it hurts.

  23. Rebecca says:

    Oh ghods… I get this. I work a high pressure job and it’s killing me. I function…for months at a time…then I crash, and I crash hard.
    It takes me months to remember how to get up in the morning, eat, dress, take care of myself again… breathe.
    I know I have to find a job that affords me more balance because this pattern is getting worse as I get older.
    Career to career to career… I’m exhausted.
    Faking it, takes so much effort.
    I can put the mask on… be the social butterfly, charm the world, run the meeting, ….appear capable, but don’t let people in my house because I can’t do my dishes.

    I am so blessed with friends who get it. They often bring me meals, or open my door and let themselves in to make sure I’m not staring catatonic at a wall all weekend. They help me get up and go for walks.

    But I know my colleagues don’t get it. They see the capable me. They don’t see the dead inside me. so, tired.

    Anyway. Thanks for finding words that I haven’t found.

  24. Courtney says:

    Ok this site is unsetteling or at least just incompatant in my perspective. I say this bc I am a 24 year old female diagnosed with Bipolar disorder at 14 and have taken almost every kind of medication available over a nine year period of time with med combos and a long standing vigilance in CBT. I took my medication religiously and properly. Basically any scenario as far as care including inpatient/outpatient at multiple Psychiatric hospitals. I can honestly say that I have suffered as much then as I do now, the only exception being is that I’m completely unmedicated no Pharmaceuticals no street drugs for a year. I’m basically looking for a compatant formula to study on how to live well and be unmedicated if there is one, bc medications thus far do not work sufficient enough to still progress and evolve as a human being, the side effects stop the true meaning of life. Yet accnolagment of this illness is imparitive and I am happy people can feel better at least more connected by this site, unfortunately I know it doesn’t have to be this pathetic, use Bipolar as a gift but understand this gift is as capable as a car wreck of killing you. Help find a way to balance without any drugs, possible? I’m not insulting just wanting another way and wanting to see others with this tedious illness in brain chemistry to have different avenues for treatment that doesn’t become stifling.

  25. EthanS says:

    It sounds all well and good to pay your own rent, but what about quality of life? Atm, I’m in a day program and on disability. My goal is to pay my portion of the rent(instead of my dad[guilt!]), have a social life, and do something meaningful, be that a job or volunteering.
    I’ve done the run-myself-into-the-ground thing. All it got me was losing my job and a nice stay at a psychiatric facility. I can’t have a life like that again.
    Maybe someday I’ll be stronger, but illness has shown me that what other people see as a good life – job, house, car, kids- isn’t realistic for me.
    Maybe I’ll be on disability forever, I don’t know…but given the choice, I wouldn’t do what you do. I’d break. I hope that it is a good life for you. I love your blog.

  26. Peter says:

    Hi Natasha,
    Im a 46 year old single father-of-four (youngest is six). I was diagnosed in my thirties as Rapid-Cycling BPD with Temporal Lobe Epilepsy on both sides of the brain.
    I think I’m in trouble.
    It’s been years since I was hospitalized (many, many times) and I’ve been taking Tegratol, Neurontin, Seroquil and Lithium for over a decade, but haven’t seen a doctor in a long time. I’ve just moved to a new city after living for ten years in the same house.
    I’m reading that many people “pretend” to be normal and how exhausting it is keeping the truth from everyone. I think today that I am one of the people I’ve been working so hard to fool. And I’ve been very good at it. But I’m starting to notice that I’m getting reclusive, drinking, not showering, not brushing my teeth, not exercising – not doing much of anything.
    It requires all my energy and willpower to fetch and carry kids to school, feed them, pack lunches and so on. The older kids have started cleaning the house (they’re not very good at it – ha ha). The more I withdraw, the angrier everyone around me is getting (not the kids). They keep giving me useful advice and action lists. Each new task they try to force me to perform to sort out my life makes me increasingly suicidal and hopeless. I’m noticing behaviours emerging that I haven’t seen for years (none of them good).
    I feel like I’m sinking. Like my mind is slipping away out of my grasp. When I try to hold on, I just get so tired – can’t keep my eyelids open or lift my arms. And as I get more tired, I sleep less. I keep fighting not to sleep at night and I’m getting fewer hours of rest.
    I keep wishing someone would rescue me but I don’t want anyone taking control of me. So I don’t let anyone help.
    I’m not sure how long I can keep this up but I’m scared it may never end.

  27. I lost my job one year ago. Honestly it was unjustified. My supervisor wrote me up for any and all concerns or issues I brought up to her. My supervisor found out that I had a mental illness(bipolar) because she looked up the saint I was wearing on my necklace. St. Dymphna, patron saint of mental illness. I am sure she was proud of herself for solving this mystery. Since being let go from my job, I have had two more jobs but I’ve been unsuccessful in doing them. I have been frightened because I have a masters degree and work has always been my salvation. I have had to move home and am living with my sister. It is okay. Lot’s of good family here. I had been away from home on my own for 35 years. Although I have had some very lonely times. Due to mania, I have spent my only inheritance and I have no savings. I am in the process of building myself up again like working in a fulfilling part time or full time job. I am very anxious about finding the perfect long term job and ever having money again. I am building my self confidence by doing some part time, low wage work. I was hospitalized for the first and hopefully last time in 2008, when Anna Nicole died. First diagnosis of bipolar at the age of 52. I am now 58. I feel sad about being mentally ill, life is very hard as I have early morning anxiety and of course no medical insurance (that’s one reason I do not want to get hospitalized). I have been reading people’s blogs all day and it helps!
    Marcia

  28. Melanie says:

    Thank you for putting this article up. At least I know that there are more of us out there who are struggling to get by and face our demons, day in and day out. My bipolar episodes are getting worse as I grow older (I will be 30 this year). It started when I was 18. I thought it was just the extreme exam stress getting to me and until now, I still have problems handling stressful situations at work and in life. I have gone through several job changes but none of my superiors are aware of my condition because I hide my afflictions very well from friends, boyfriends, workmates, the bosses, the people I meet on the job. I have been in several abusive, possessive and unhealthy relationships, with the last one being the most devastating due to my ex and my best friend’s betrayal and cheating behind my back. My life is constantly surrounded by dramas and tragedies of some sort. Same scenes but different people, every single time. Most of my friends, ex-bfs and colleagues can’t accept that I can be weak, broken and small on most days. Even my parents think that my condition is burdensome. They have very little patience with me. I have major childhood,trust and self-hate issues that I have to battle on daily basis when they surface up. My depressive episodes leave me like an empty shell; i can barely function. I sometimes give up eating and washing myself for days. Cigarettes get me through the day. I have put my body through much abuse. I have taken all sort of psychiatric meds and the professionals kept on increasing my dosage till I could barely function at work and in daily activities. My mind became so dull and i was always tired with no energy left. So I quit my meds and tried to change my diet and lifestyle. When I do have energy, i have to battle my rage issues, sometimes with devastating results. I fly off the handle at the slightest things with my parents and ex-partners. I have an overly-suspicious mind and low self-esteem. If I don’t work off the excess angst and energy at the gym till I am exhausted, then I will be extremely fidgety and irritable. I constantly hurt myself whenever I get angry at myself or when I fight with my loved ones. I am starting to run out of excuse to explain my scratches, cuts and bitemarks on my arms, hands and digits whenever my friends and co-workers ask me how I got those scars/wounds. The self-inflicted wounds are usually caused by my mental anguish, depression, rage or just the need to feel alive. I’ve had head traumas and a broken rib in the past due to self-injury. I have major issues with my mum, since I was a small girl, I was constantly seeking her approval. The first time I tried to kill myself, was around age 10. There were times when I felt particularly murderous towards her whenever she threatened or taunt me, mentally and physically. Till today, I still feel suicidal. It’s something that I have to talk myself out of on a daily basis. I also put myself in dangerous situations just to feel alive. I used to get into fights in schools, to the point of drawing blood and injuring others. Despite all of that, I was pretty good in my studies, right up to graduating from college. I have a highly dysfunctional relationship with men and view on love and relationships. I have been cheated on, have cheated and had affairs with both men and women. I am really on the fence about my sexual orientation.

    I currently like this job I am in because it’s both creative and analytical, appealing to my changeable personality and I am trying my best to hold on to it and make small changes, one day at a time. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s either do or die, fight or flight.

  29. Gary says:

    Amen.

  30. Bob says:

    Wow, your post just described my entire 20′s & 30′s, sadly I am now 40.

  31. Jo Humphreys says:

    I had to give up work for that very reason 13 years ago, I have suffered with bipolar disorder for 25 years. By the time I was 25 I had 3 children under 5 and was working full time in a job I despised with people I couldnt relate to at all and was struggling so bad I was always wondering why I couldnt cope as well as other women in my position were. My son was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome at 3 years old and I just felt like I was on a rollercoaster I couldn’t get as both my husband and myself needed to work to pay the mortgage. Finally in 2002,my body told me enough was enough and I had a complete breakdown to the point that I was in so much physical pain that I thought I was dying of a terminal illness, and actually hoped I was at that time being so depressed and worn out with life. I attempted suicide a year later after not being able to leave the house or function at all for that whole year and finally I started receiving more help than just being sent away with anti-depressants by my GP. However, I was only diagnosed with bipolar disorder 3 years ago and have since been put on medication and become stable. I have started drawing again and hopefully will be able to make a career out of it. I finally feel like i am living not just existing.

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