Living with the Uncertainties of Bipolar Disorder
Thursday, May 11 2017 Natasha Tracy
Living with bipolar disorder is chock full of uncertainty. You never know when you might be well. You never know when you might be acutely depressed. You never know when mania might make you psychotic. And you never know when it might be the day when you need the hospital. If that isn’t uncertainty, I don’t know what it. And while everyone lives with uncertainty, the uncertainties that come with bipolar disorder are so very hard to live with.
Uncertainty in Life
I was watching television this morning and an advertisement came on that said, “I no longer deal with the uncertainty of hepatitis C.”
I have no doubt that living with that illness would bring uncertainty. I’m not familiar enough to say exactly what that would be, but I suspect flare-ups are that to which they were referring.
And this brings about an important point: everyone deals with uncertainty in life. If nothing else, we all deal with the fact that we could be dead tomorrow. That is an uncertainty we all face.
Uncertainty in Bipolar Disorder
But, for me, the uncertainties of bipolar disorder are so much worse, probably because their likelihood is so much more real.
A “flare-up” doesn’t just affect me physically but it affects me mentally, too. Normally my flare-up is that of a serious major depression and those tend to make me want to die. I never know when I’ll wake up having to fight the urge of wanting to die. This is horrific. When will I get to plan anything when I never know when I’ll even want to be alive, let alone actually do anything?
And then there is the option of hypomania or mania for those with bipolar. You never know when you might wake up with the urge to have sex with anything that moves. You never know when you might wake up with the urge to spend thousands of dollars you don’t have. You never know when you might wake up so irritable that you tell off your boss and get fired. For some, these are the prevalent uncertainties in their lives.
So yes, we all live with the uncertainty of dying, but only a select few of us face the uncertainty of waking up in a place that will destroy our lifestyles or even take our lives.
Dealing with the Uncertainties in Bipolar Disorder
When I wake up wanting to die, and I know I won’t get any work done, and I know I will spend the day crying instead of completing my desired tasks, it feels to me like the uncertainties of bipolar disorder are impossible to deal with. But the fact is, no matter how much they suck, I deal with them every day. Even though some days I wake up in the worst of all worlds, some days it’s not so bad and that can make normal things possible.
So while I feel like waking up with bipolar disorder is like rolling the dice at a craps table, I know that I can live with this uncertainty because I’ve proven it. It requires juggling commitments, rescheduling appointments, flexibility from those around me and wellness plans that take this into account, but I know it’s possible.