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Is Life Ever Normal for a Person with Bipolar?

A normal life is something I’m not very familiar with. I’ve never really had one. From the time I was a kid with an alcoholic father, to the teenage years I spent depressed, to my adult years dealing with psychiatrists, symptoms and medication side effects, I’ve never really enjoyed anything termed normalcy.

But the question is, does anyone with bipolar enjoy a normal life?

What’s a Normal Life?

Now, people will tell me that there’s no such thing as a normal life. These people are wrong. There is such a thing as normalcy. You might think of it as the “average.” There’s always an average and yes, there is an average life. I would say the average life, a normal life, consists of happiness, sadness, anger, glee, and other emotions all wrapped into one. But these emotions are moderated. They run a reasonable spectrum as do experiences. In a normal life, people are generally well. People do not have to fight every day to stay alive. People don’t have to worry about brain altering medications. People do not concern themselves with psychiatrists. People do not have to track every mood. The normal life is outside of all these things.

What’s a Bipolar Life?

Well, that depends on who you ask. I talk to a lot of people with bipolar disorder and I would say that a life with bipolar is a life that is, at least in part, dictated by bipolar. It’s a life where bipolar needs to be taken into account almost every moment in the day. It’s a life where medications and routines and sleep and food and exercise and therapy and doctor’s appointments all must be made the priority. It’s a life that may contain normal elements, but sure the heck also contains abnormal elements. Emotions tend to be extreme. Coping mechanisms must continually be applied. People must use the tools they learn in therapy all the time. It’s a life that cannot be separated from the illness.

Bipolar is Like That

But bipolar is like that. Bipolar is an illness of the brain. Your brain is in every part of your life and so is the bipolar. Persistent, serious, long-standing illnesses creep into every aspect of your life. But this is on purpose. This creeping into your life is what needs to happen if you plan to stay well. You need to control for the bipolar variable all the time, everywhere. So it makes your life really abnormal.

Have I Ever Had a Normal Life?

That being said, for some people, they can get away with just thinking about their bipolar sometimes. They might be able to go days without it seriously entering into the consciousness. When things are going well, this is possible. When medications are working, this can happen. When you’re in remission, bipolar doesn’t have to be at the forefront of every moment.

But as for me, this rarely occurs. Things rarely “go well” for any extended period of time. If I forgot about my bipolar (which I never do) that would just lead to it coming back with a vengeance. If I didn’t use all those fancy coping mechanisms and therapeutic tools and medications and whatnot my bipolar would just come back all the stronger. So I can’t forget about it. It’s a constant battle. Ignore that battle at your own peril.

But that is just me. Do you think your life is like everyone else’s? Do you have a “normal” life? Is it even possible?

You can find Natasha Tracy on Facebook or GooglePlus or @Natasha_Tracy on Twitter or at the Bipolar Burble, her blog.

Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar Burble, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

57 thoughts on “Is Life Ever Normal for a Person with Bipolar?”

  1. No one believes I love my kids but my separation from them has only made my addictions worse anyone know any medication to try i have been on most of them and they seem to have shrunk my brain

    1. Hi Iain,

      I’m sorry, I can’t recommend a specific medication, especially with so few details. What I can say is that if you haven’t already, you should see an addiction specialist as they will likely help you the most.

      – Natasha Tracy

  2. Hi. I wanted to ask a question. We are looking for help for my father. He has been diagnosed with bipolar and in a state of mania he spent all of his money divorce his wife left his children and went crazy and his actions. Now he is the opposite, depressed paranoid having delusions doesn’t make sense with the things he things are going on. And we are trying to find him some help he is finally willing to get some help I was wondering if support meetings are helpful or what kind of meds are helpful or what anybody else with this struggle has done to get it under control thank you very much for everybody’s time I look forward to hearing from any and all of you. Thank you.

    1. Hi Adrian,

      Many medications may be useful in that situation. Typically, an antipsychotic is given if the person is diagnosed with psychosis (delusions and/or hallucinations). If not, a mood stabilizer may be tried first. You can find out about bipolar disorder treatment options (medications and other) here: https://www.healthyplace.com/bipolar-disorder/bipolar-treatment/bipolar-treatment-treatment-of-bipolar-disorder/

      As for support groups, yes, many people do find them helpful. It helps to connect with others in the same situation who will “get” what you’re talking about. (As a loved one, you may want to go to a support group yourself.)

      – Natasha Tracy

  3. I was first diagnosed at 26, took about 30 lithium tablets and then stopped medication for 12 years and did not think about bipolar often.

    I went through very moderate highs and lows until 38, at which time I had 3 young children, married and owned a home with a successful business and a full time job. The stress of it all got to me and I went into mania, I got medication relatively quickly and then went into a mild form of depression.

    Now I am left realising stress pushes me into the high and then I cycle back into a corresponding low. The lithium helps but I think it keeps you in a more depressed state, but I would prefer this to going back to mania.

    Bipolar now more than ever makes me question my mood and if my decisions are the right ones, but I am glad I have insight into the illness but still it leaves me uneasy.

    I just don’t think Bipolar is easy but if you are cognitive and insightful you can lead a relatively normal life as long as you consider, reflect and get counselling and pdoc, but it need not be a full time obsession.

    That’s just for my circumstance and I consider all bipolar experiences to be individual and different.

  4. It’s funny I have lived and overcame bipolar 1 and addiction for most of my life but in the last 10 years it taken it all from me

  5. Everyday the challenge presents itself,like a vampire sucking blood
    Taking what it can from us so that you we’re left in the wood
    Trying to get back,to have some chance to carry out what one needs to do,
    To keep your life from going askew.
    Its a simple endeavour,its just cleaning up!
    yeah,but thats so unnecessary when one feels they cant wash a cup
    Take me devil illness,give me your toughest shot
    dont forget theres a lot of us in this together fighting so you dont leave us rot.

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