Living With Bipolar Disorder and Finding Your Identity
Living with bipolar disorder – the drastic ups and downs, the intense emotions – can cause confusion, desperation, and hopelessness regarding what you want to do with your life. Finding your identity while living with bipolar is a rollercoaster. One minute, you're on top of the world, feeling as if anything can be accomplished, and a second later, hopelessness, despair, and inferiority take over (Living With Rapid Cycling Cyclothymia). How do you clear your mind of the “bipolar thoughts” – those automatic, obsessive intrusive thoughts that penetrate your mind? How do you see through that fog of intensity to find what it is you're meant to do? How do you find your identity when bipolar causes constant brain shifting?
I have always found the term “bipolar” to be somewhat misleading. Instead of only feeling and experiencing the extreme high and the extreme low, I experience everything more intensely. I learned to use this to my advantage. I began writing more consistently, and after I was diagnosed, I began to become more involved in mental health advocacy. I began to feel inspired and useful, like I had a purpose, and I began to feel as if I was helping people. I feel that this is my life's purpose, and sometimes I feel grateful for my bipolar disorder. I feel as if it helps me view the world differently.
How To Find Your Identity And Deal With Bipolar Disorder Too
- Make a list of the things you enjoy and are good at. Investigate these things and see what you can do with them. Write or paint, go out and play your favorite sport, or start studying for that pre-med program you want to get into.
- Do some volunteer work. Not only will this help to fill up your schedule and create a routine, which is incredibly beneficial for those living with bipolar disorder, but you'll be able to build your resume while trying your hand at new things. Volunteer at an animal shelter or the children's hospital, for example (Bipolar Disorder and Benefits of Giving Back, Volunteering).
- Create a bucket list. It doesn't matter how big or small your goals are, they're all important. My major goal is to have a piece of my written work published, and so I have many little goals that I strive to fulfill in order to achieve my major goal.
- Get in touch with your spiritual side. By figuring out your beliefs and how you view the world, it is then a bit easier to focus on what is important to you.
- Take advantage of your school's resources and your college's career center. High school guidance counselors and college career centers are more than willing to talk to you about your interests and goals, and they can help you explore all possibilities. They can give information on other schools and jobs, internships and volunteer opportunities, and can help with creating resumes.
- Be open to new opportunities. Sometimes my shame and anxiety keeps me from doing the things I want to do, or feel like I should do, such as going out with a friend where I'll meet new people. Think of every new opportunity, even things as small and seemingly insignificant, such as a social get-together, as an opportunity to better yourself.
What does a "personal identity" mean to you? What have you done to reach your goals?
Poe, A. (2013, July 2). Living With Bipolar Disorder and Finding Your Identity, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, July 13 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/bipolarvida/2013/07/living-with-bipolar-disorder-and-finding-your-identity
Author: Alexa Poe
Thank you so much; this is so true - "I experience everything more intensely. I learned to use this to my advantage. I began writing more consistently, and after I was diagnosed, I began to become more involved in mental health advocacy. I began to feel inspired and useful, like I had a purpose, and I began to feel as if I was helping people"
You're very welcome! I hope you're well!