I wasn't coping with my thoughts of giving up on school very well the year before I was due to graduate. I was ready to quit school. I would sit in my therapist's office and cry at the thought of going back to campus that following Monday, and it negatively affected my mental health. I would freak out and cry at the drop of a hat, I would freeze up in class and become so jittery that I could barely sit in class.
Lately, I feel as if I've hit a roadblock in my recovery. I take my medications regularly, I go to therapy, I exercise, but I've hit a wall that I can't seem to move past (Bipolar Treatment: If I'm Doing Everything Right Why Am I Still Sick?). The other day, I received a book from a good friend of mine: Sane: Mental Illness, Addiction, and the Twelve Steps by Marya Hornbacher, and I started thinking about new things that I could incorporate in my life.
Typically, when people talk about bipolar disorder, the extent of their understanding and knowledge about the disorder is that we have our ups and downs. We become depressed, followed by an episode of mania (intense energy and ups). Many people who do not live with bipolar disorder or do not have experience with it do not understand that we live with so much more – the good and the bad.
Symptoms of bipolar disorder can make it difficult to volunteer even though giving back benefits those of us living with bipolar disorder. However, as a person living with bipolar, I often feel inadequate, hopeless, and inferior, so it's essential to find opportunities to give back that we can become passionate about and look forward to.
Between the social expectations of college and the stress of every day life that young adults face, substance use is something that many of us living with bipolar disorder often turn to (Self-Medication Of A Mental Health Problem).
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?
Bipolar and school or university! For some, it can be like oil and water; they just don't mix. School and university is, without a doubt, an incredibly stressful thing for adolescents and young adults to live through. There are exams and deadlines, papers and presentations, early mornings and all-nighters. These years can be especially tough for those living with bipolar disorder. The stress of school can not only trigger urges to use drugs and alcohol, but it can also trigger other things such as the urge to self-injure and to over-work oneself, which can sometimes lead to severe depression or mania, hospitalizations, and even suicide.
Should taking bipolar medications bother me? Psychiatric medications, including bipolar medications, are at the center of many controversial debates. Many people feel as if taking bipolar medications daily means that they are completely dependent upon them, while others believe that medications are necessary for their bipolar disorder treatment.
How does a person know which type of bipolar disorder therapy will work best for him or her? As a psychology student, I learned about the different types of therapy available to patients with various mental illnesses. I learned about their history, how they were developed and their classifications. As a patient with bipolar II and obsessive-compulsive disorder though, my therapists never explained what specific type of therapy they practiced and why one type of therapy might work better than another for me (Types of Bipolar Therapy and How Bipolar Therapy Helps).
I have always felt different from everyone else, alienated, alone. As a young child, I would react to things, even tiny things, in such intense ways, and I would look at other people and wonder: did they feel things this strongly, too? Did they fall to the ground crying when they saw a dead butterfly on the sidewalk? Or have sudden intrusive thoughts of swerving and crashing their car in a wall?