Beating Bipolar – Do What You Don’t Want To Do
It is a sad reality that life is full of things we don’t want to do and mentally-different or no, this is something with which we have to deal.
And it’s even sadder to know that people with bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses have a much longer list of things they don’t want to do than the average person. And, of course, ironically, the mentally ill are typically the least-equipped to deal with such things.
But beating bipolar disorder, or any mental illness, means doing what you don’t want to do, pretty much all the time.
What Don’t You Want to Do?
Anything. Everything. Many people with a mental illness would prefer to do nothing most of the time. This is thanks to medication, apathy, depression, anhedonia and a series of other things.
But “nothing” isn’t a terribly productive state. “Nothing” doesn’t move you forward in life. “Nothing” doesn’t pay the bills.
So “nothing,” while alluring, isn’t really useful.
Do What You Don’t Want to Do
So here’s the thing, no matter how much you don’t want to do something, you have to do it anyway.
- Doctor’s appointment? Definitely don’t want to, but need to.
- Prescription refill? Hate standing around in drug stores but have to.
- Remembering to take meds? Hate side effects but need them.
- Work? I’d rather sleep but I need the money.
- Sleep schedule? Hate being so regimented but it keeps me sane.
- Socializing? Don't want to but need to see my friends.
And so on and so forth. Days are filled from the time you don’t want to take your meds until the time you don’t want to go to bed with things you don’t want, and wish you didn’t have, to do.
I know that doing what you don’t want sounds like a really depressing message but really it’s just standing up to an illness that wants you to turn into a sick, crazy rock and saying, “no!” Really it’s just standing up to bipolar and saying that you won’t let it win. Really you’re just saying that you are more powerful than the mixed up messages coming from your brain.
So you bother because bothering means beating bipolar back. You bother because you’re better than the bipolar. You bother because you won’t let your life be dictated by chemicals that you can’t control.
Tracy, N. (2012, August 13). Beating Bipolar – Do What You Don’t Want To Do, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 16 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2012/08/beating-bipolar-do-what-you-dont-want
Author: Natasha Tracy
I know that coffee is a stimulant and maybe not the best choice for someone with bipolar disorder but I'm not overly concerned about sparking a manic episode since they've always been few and far between for me. At least coffee works while medication does very little to help since I have treatment resistant depression
But thank you Sarah and Bibiana for your posts. You've given me the courage and incentive to keep on trying.
Thinking back, this started when I was 19 years old. I had lost 5 family members in a car accident that year, and little did I know at the time, that tragedy altered my life forever. I wasn’t an aggressive child, growing up, but I do remember not having a normal childhood. My parents ran a few businesses which took over their lives, leaving my gran to raise us up and to depend on.
My uncle at the time of my child hood, was like a dad to us. He would teach us the basic things in life, like changing a flat tire, to fishing, to fixing things around the house. He along with my gran and his wife and two of their four children were killed in that car accident that year. I was so angry and hurt, but mostly saddened by the loss of losing them all in a second. Two of my uncles four children survived the car accident. My parents were legal guardians over them so they came to live with us.
I felt as if I had been robbed of my youth. My mother (being that it was her mother, her brother, and his family that were killed) took a turn for worse. She had lost all hope. She deteriorated over the years so badly, that today, she has dementia, looks like skin and bone, and slips into depression going for days without leaving her bedroom. She is seeking help at the moment, working on the little steps to build herself up again. My dad on the other hand, buried himself deeper into his company, working all the time and never participating in family affairs. I gathered that this is his way of coping though it all. I had to learn how grow up fast, raise my brothers and my now new adopted brothers in a manner I didn’t know how.
Today, we aren’t much of a family anymore. All my siblings behalf of the youngest one, have moved out living a life of their own pretending that nothing has happened and that family isn’t of any value. I suppose there are many reasons why this has happened, too many actually that it is just too painful to revisit them again so we choose not to walk down that road.
I grew to hate my parents for not taking on parental responsibility. I tried involving a family psychologist but it doesn’t work if no one wants to participate in the healing. I was hurt by this because I knew then that we were now a broken family. I became angry, bitter towards life and hateful to everyone, blaming the ones I loved and of course religion. This triggered my bipolar off.
I had seen many psychiatrists, and they all just threw medication at me. They would tell me the details behind the medication and how the one will help the other etc etc…. But It wasn’t long that I was taking 15 different types of medication a day (from one psychiatrist)!! Now you know as well as I do that the kidney can only take so much until it starts to fail.
Two years ago I was admitted into hospital and almost died from kidney problems and decided then that this wasn’t worth it. I wasn’t going to let this kill me. I deserved better than this.
Today I am completely off bipolar medication. I have a better job, moved to a different state and stopped blaming everyone else for my issues. I am much happier living my life the way I want it to be, and not what others expect of me. I gave back the responsibilities that weren’t initially mine and owned my own.
We all have problems and we all have issues, but for some the problems may carry a lot more weight than for others. Although, regardless of the weight these issues may carry, in the end, it’s still an issue. Here you should ask yourself, “is it my issue or is it someone else’s issue that I’m carrying?”
If it is yours, learn to love it, own it and you will see that it no longer holds any weight on you.See the lesson behind it and turn it around to make it work for you.
If it is someone else’s issue you’re carrying then ask yourself, “If I didn’t carry this issue how would I feel?”
The answer is much lighter.
Bipolar is a mood disorder, but it’s a mood disorder pertaining to your feelings and thoughts patterns. I had been on many different variations of medication to help "balance" the chemicals in my brain, but none of them didn’t really help unless I dealt with my issues.
If you had to peel away all the issues and problems you have weighing you down, you would be doing LIFE better and solely for yourself!
My key to beating bipolar, was taking back my own life and changing my environments that best suited me.
Learn to be selfish, but not self-centred
Do what you don't want to do?... Most insulting thing ive ever read.
Do what you need to do. And after that- do what you will. Could be fun, it might suck. Just disregard that lame article. I felt like a slave reading that [moderated]
The issue of antidepressants in bipolar is a contentious one, to be sure, but try to remember, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." So, in other words, if you're doing well, don't change what is working for you.
If, on the other hand, you tend to cycle rapidly or are having other issues, then you might consider whether an antidepressant is right for you. Remember, sometimes an antidepressant is the right call and sometimes it isn't, but it all depends on the person.
I'm sorry, I don't have any information for you on mental health help in your country, but you might try this organization which connects people to helplines worldwide. A helpline might be able to provide you with more information: http://www.befrienders.org/
I guess "want" isn't the best word but I think the complex emotions around the situation don't have a word invented for them yet :)
Yes, sometimes doing something is like moving a tonne of bricks but sometimes it's worth doing anyway. And sometime you just have to give up and rest. Both of those things are OK as long as you find a balance, that's what I figure.
Thanks for this great article!
Nice to have you here. I'm always happy when people feel a sense of belonging when they find me.
What you're going through is normal. It's extremely challenging to accept any kind of illness diagnosis and for many people accepting a mental illness diagnosis is even harder than most. I'm glad you've gotten to the point where you understand the diagnosis and are getting treatment.
It's really understandable to be in crisis when medication stops working. It's happened to many of us and it is never fun. I wrote about it here: http://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2012/05/tolerance-when-psychiatric-drugs-stop-working/
What I will say is that even if these drugs are losing their effectiveness, that doesn't mean that another combination won't work for you. If your doctor is suggesting recalibration in a hospital and that's an option for you, I would take it. It might be the fastest way to get you back on your feet. Don't get me wrong, it won't be fun, but it might be what you need.
It's OK to be afraid. I've been afraid many times. But just remember to keep putting one foot in front of the other. You handled getting treatment and you can handle this.
Thanx for the blog, and the people who place comments after the articles. I found this website today and am relating to most of the articles on this site. I've been crying (in relief)reading the similar experiences of the readership.
I was diagnosed 10 years ago with bipolar II (not sure if this was a "compartment" back then). I have been mostly in denial for 9.5 years. I asked my psychiatrist three separate times, 'how do you know?'. He showed me his notes over the years that clearly show the mood swings. After the third re-diagnosis at the Centre for Mental Health and Addiction, I guess I belive.
I find it interesting that I have fully accepted Type 1 (insulin dependant) diabetes for the past 35 years, but still have trouble acknowledging and accomodating bipolar. I am stubborn to believe that I need to make changes, even though the energy required to maintain my high functioning bipolar life is beyond its limit.
My current point of crisis is that my medication mix is losing its effectiveness and the cycles are more frequent with the lows deeper and longer. My psychiatrist suggested I be hospitalized to recalibrate medications. Because of the increasing cycle frequency, I have a paralyzing fear that I'm not coming out.
Any feedback would be greatly appreciated,