The Hopelessness of Bad Bipolar Days
The first thing I thought of this morning was killing myself. Literally, as consciousness slowly overtook my brain thoughts of suicide were all that were there.
It’s a bad day.
I have bad days a lot. I don’t particularly like to admit it and I don’t like to talk about it, but I do. Life is hard. Life is very, very hard.
As I’ve mentioned I’m one of those high-functioning bipolars so I’m known for continuing to deliver to my clients in spite of swirling insanity in my lobes but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Oh, it’s there. The tears streaming down my face will confirm that it’s there.
But there is one thing that I do (and many others do) that is particularly magical: I keep going.
Is Bipolar Treatment Working?
If you know me then you know I’ve spent great portions of my life without effective treatment. Treatment works, in that I’m not dead, but it doesn’t work in that it doesn’t make life particularly worth living. And when one wakes up plagued singularly by thoughts of suicide one is likely to feel an abandonment of hope and faith in treatment. It’s normal. For whatever that’s worth.
But it’s important to compare life with treatment to life without. Life with treatment may be impossibly hard sometimes but life without treatment wouldn’t exist at all. So there’s something to be grateful for even if the thing seems terribly tiny.
Will the Bipolar Treatment Ever Work?
So I’m not dead. Fine. Let’s call that the absolute minimum that a medication can helpfully accomplish. But will it ever actually work? Will it ever actually give me a life wherein when I wake up suicide isn’t the first thing on my mind? Will it ever actually give me a life wherein I don’t cry while making breakfast? Will it ever actually give me a life?
I have to believe that it will. And while this belief could be based in hope, it isn’t, really; it’s based on past experience. Treatment has worked. It has worked for me and it has worked for others. Even after years of trying every chemical under the sun, the right combination is found and people discover their lives again.
So I must keep working my magic and keep going. It’s the only way to move forward. It’s the only way to find a better day, even if that does feel impossible and saline-drenched.
Yup, bad days breed hopelessness. But we fight back. We fight back by continuing to breathe.
Tracy, N. (2013, February 27). The Hopelessness of Bad Bipolar Days, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 17 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2013/02/hopelessness-bad-bipolar-days
Author: Natasha Tracy
Yes, sometimes it seems that I'm everywhere :)
I'm so sorry you are where you are right now. I know the exact spot. I have lived there, too. All I can tell you is that things change. Everything does. From the seasons, to our medications to us, ourselves. And while it's so, so, so very hard, medications do work even if it takes seemingly forever to find the right combination.
Try to take it easy and lean on your loved ones if you can. Ride it out. It's a storm. Storms are horrible but they don't last forever.
- Natasha Tracy
When I'm feeling this way I try to search through previous journal entries for evidence of better days, re read them over and over and take comfort in knowing that this too shall pass. But sometimes this can be a hindrance because when I'm depressed I tend to focus only on the negative entries
It's hard to stay positive sometimes when all I feel like I'm doing is merely existing and for what I ask myself. When I focus on the what long enough I can usually come up with something, however miniscule and I hand onto that for dear life...
Thanks so much for not being one of those assholes who says "just go to an emergency room if you have thoughts of suicide/self harm." I'm also high-functioning, and I'd be in the ER more days than not if I followed that advice. I know it's well-meaning, but I've always found it patronizing.
Thanks for this article, and to all who posted comments.
I feel suicidal a lot, in fact almost daily. I just push through the day reminding myself that I made it through yesterday, and the day before, so I can make it through today too.
Being bipolar still carries enormous shame, loneliness, and isolation for me. I don't have much support from family, and friends. There is still that "stigma" for them, so it is a great relief for me to know that I am not alone in my day to day struggles, my quest for wellness, and the hope of some semblance of a normal life again.
You have reminded me that none of us are alone here, so thanks again Natasha, and please continue to share your awesome articles. They truly do help :)
Thanks for your comment. I'm honoured my words can be there for you during what I'm sure is a very difficult time.
You are definitely not alone.
I am so thankful for your honesty. I have definitely spent more days suicidal than being stable. However, now I have the right cocktail of meds and strangely enough I have my life back. Not the life I used to have full of creativity and energy. I am getting some of the creativity back, but I still feel dead inside compared to how I was without meds. Life is very hard and we keep breathing. I hope you find peace in your heart that you are helping so many people by being so honest. Thank you so much for writing this blog. I always look forward to reading them. :) xoxo Linda
Sarah, not sure if you will see this post but I wanted to thank you for the advice from one of your earlier posts. It was dated 1/27/13 on the blog titled "facing the terrors of new bipolar medications".
I found it as I have been reading older posts to keep my mind from wandering to "bad" places. Started trying some of those nine things you listed. I am hopeful I can take action to make this depressive episode end soon.
Natasha, thanks for sharing your daily routine. I just wish that I had the will power to follow a set routine everyday. I have written at least 5 daily routines as assignments for my therapist, but I have never been able to follow one for more than a few weeks.
Speaking of assignments from therapists, my homework for Monday's appointment is to try and identify any triggers that caused/started this depressive episode. I am so glad that I found the blog titled "Depression: Why do people keep asking what happened?" I can't think of any trigger other than waking up 4 days ago and not wanting to get out of bed, or do anything else for that matter.
Argh, I just wish there was an instruction manual for how to deal with my illness.
Love and support to you---
The thing is I've had not a bad day, I've had some bad months, just days keep adding, somedays I just feel I can breath, mainly I try to continue feeling bad... The thing is, what do you do when you really feel you can't keep going? I feel like this big breakdown will come soon. I'm trying, just trying, I try to remember is temporal, that I have so many things I love, and etc... but this is drowning me... so, anyway thanks, reading you made me feel not so alone in this...
She was a little put off by my new "label" but was willing to try and learn with me what it all meant. However, I fell of the deep end one day. I wish I had found this blog before that "bad" day... ok very bad day, on which, unlike you were/are able to do... I gave in... Thankfully, not successful. I now seriously question if I was "high functioning" or just lucky for those 44 years of avoiding the temptation(s).
Very glad I am here and that I have found this community. It is really helpful and comforting to read the posts from so many people. I have felt alone with this illness since my diagnosis. I don't know anyone else who has this illness, inspite of reassurances from my therapist that I am not the only person in the world who is bipolar.
I can feel myself sliding down uncontrollably into the depths of depression...again.
I hope that this entry wasn't/isn't too dark for anyone. I am truly sorry if it causes anyone any grief. I just feel that I can't or won't share this with anyone else. I hope that I find the courage not to cancel next week's appointment like I did with yesterday's.