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Breaking Bipolar

I've often felt left out of life. In fact, I often say I'm an alien. It's not because I'm green or have bug eyes; it's because my experience of life is so radically different from that of your average person. I'm obviously not the only one. People with serious mental illness (or other chronic illnesses) often feel left out of life. I'm going to take a look at why this is and how we can feel more included.
When I started seeing a psychiatrist, he said I would get back to life before bipolar disorder (well, I was diagnosed with just depression at the time). He focused on it a lot. He wanted to know how I was doing compared to what I was like "before." But there are so many problems with that thinking. I'm not sure you can ever get back to life before bipolar disorder.
Ghosting can affect a person's depression. And while people with mental illnesses like bipolar are known to sometimes ghost others, we, ourselves, get ghosted too. So, what happens to a person's depression when they're ghosted?
Once a person has experience with a person with bipolar disorder, they may assume that they will always have a similar experience with others who have bipolar disorder. In other words, a person may paint everyone with bipolar disorder with the same brush. If the first person with bipolar disorder they have experience with is very intelligent or creative — they may think all people with bipolar are. On the other hand, if their experience with a person with bipolar disorder was very negative, they may assume that all their future experiences will go the same way. Generalizations of any group don't help us, however.
I should be able to fix my own depression -- or at least that's what the world keeps telling me. We have a lot of euphemisms for it: pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, walking it off, turning that frown upside down, and so on. And the Internet is full of New Age gurus (and lay people) claiming to know the secret of how to do it -- just buy my book and wave your depression goodbye. But if everyone says it's possible, why can't I fix my own depression?
I've recently undergone a routine change with my bipolar disorder. This has been harder to adapt to than you might think. I find doing the same thing every day has a protective effect on bipolar disorder, so removing that rhythm can do the opposite. A change in my bipolar routine has officially thrown me off my game.
Waiting for depression to pass is interminable, but sometimes it's the only thing to do. In bipolar disorder, what goes down must come up -- at some point, anyway. The trouble is, no one knows when that's going to happen. There can be a lot of waiting for depression to pass in bipolar disorder. I hate it.
I often hide depression with a smile, even when I'm actually extremely depressed. This is a characteristic of "high-functioning" bipolar or depression. In other words, I'm carrying on with life and maybe even look okay, but really, I am drying inside. I've had practice looking mentally well when being really sick for years. I'm awfully good at it. But while this allows me to move through the world more successfully than some, there are also problems when you hide depression despite being very ill.
I have a bipolar routine that I adhere to pretty rigidly. This is important for my mental wellness. However, I know that one reason some people don't want a bipolar routine is because they fear the rigidity that can come with it. I can understand that, so let's take a look at bipolar routines and their rigidity.
I have found that being too overwhelmed can lead to a loss of executive function. Basically, my head gets filled with life's troubles and illness, and then it can't think complicated thoughts. That's the crux of it. The thing is, complicated thoughts like those involved in planning and problem-solving are pretty crucial for getting through your day. So, how do we deal with the effects of overwhelm on executive function?