Bipolar Depression – All I Do Is Try Hard

March 20, 2018 Natasha Tracy

Bipolar depression requires you to try hard every day. But what do we try hard doing? What do we do when we have to try hard because of bipolar depression?I likely don’t need to tell you bipolar depression is hard, and I probably don’t need to tell you concerted effort – trying hard – is difficult, too. But the thing is, bipolar depression management (or bipolar management in general) requires trying hard all the time. The effort of this is not something to be underestimated. This is a tall order. Trying hard with bipolar depression requires such energy and focus it feels impossible to do it all right all the time in spite of the need to do it constantly.

Have you ever made a big lifestyle change? Have you ever been on a diet? Have you ever tried to work out a certain number of times per week? Have you ever tried to become vegetarian? Have you ever tried to become a better person in some way? Have you ever made any major change that requires constant effort on your part? Can you remember how hard doing this is?

If so, then you have a sprinkling of understanding of what I go through every day.

Why Do You Have to Try Hard with Bipolar Depression?

I’ve said before bipolar depression is trying to kill me. I take this notion very seriously as it has killed some of my bipolar brothers and sisters and very nearly killed me.

This means I have to fight against the bipolar depression’s effects. I have to not let it kill me. Sounds easy, right? Just don’t die.

Not dying with bipolar depression requires trying very, very hard. When something in your very brain is trying to kill you it is not easy to fight against. Think about fighting against your pancreas. Well, it’s like that, only more so.

What I Try Hard at for Bipolar Depression

So, I try hard to do a lot of things because of bipolar depression. I try hard to:

  • Exercise
  • Eat real food
  • Control my actions that are driven by bipolar emotions
  • Get control of my emotions
  • Put up a good, strong face for others
  • Not cry
  • Not hate myself
  • Rest
  • Fight suicidal and other self-harming urges
  • Take my medication as prescribed
  • Go to my medical appointments
  • Practice self-care
  • Work and make money
  • Clean the apartment
  • Go to bed at the right time and wake up at the right time (maintain my bipolar routine)
  • Do the basics (like shower)

And so on and so on and so on. Some of these things are things every person does and some of these things are things that specifically sick people do. The things is, they all require really, really huge effort from me. It is a thousand times harder for me to do anything on that list as it is for your normal, neurotypical person.

Bipolar depression means I have to try very hard to accomplish anything on that list and it also means knowing I will always get less done on that list than non-sick people.

The Problem with Always Trying Hard for Bipolar Depression

As I said earlier, if you’ve ever tried to make a major lifestyle change, you know constant effort is a very, very difficult thing to maintain. That is why people often can’t make lifestyle changes. People fail at going to the gym. People fail at diets. And so on.

But “trying” for bipolar depression carries much higher penalties. Don’t make it to the gym? Maybe your abs don’t look as good. Sneak a treat on your diet? Maybe you don’t lose as much weight. These things suck and will make people get down on themselves but they are hardly life-threatening. Most lifestyle changes are to make our lives better, not to fight for our very existence.

And if I don’t do the lifestyle management things on my list I get down on myself, too. And, yes, my life could be at stake if I stray too far from the path of doing all the things I need to go.

And the “trying hard” part of bipolar depression management is unending. I have to make this insane amount of effort every day to try and maintain or obtain any level of wellness – wellness that will always be much less than your person without mental illness. I never get a break from the “trying.” I never get a break from the bipolar disorder and what it requires.

What I’ve Learned About Bipolar Depression and Trying Hard

But what I’ve learned is that I just don’t have it in me to do all the things I need to do no matter how hard I try. I do have to try hard to deal with bipolar depression, it’s true, but I’ll never be perfect and I’ll never do everything on my list no matter how hard I try. This leads to constant feelings of failure as I never live up to a person without mental illness.

Saying that I have to recognize two things:

  1. Trying all day every day because of bipolar depression is very hard and I pretty much deserve a medal for doing something so superhuman. (People who primarily deal with mania/hypomania, of course, can say the same.)
  2. I’m going fail to do everything I need to do pretty much every day no matter how hard I try.

And I can’t afford to get down on myself. Getting down on myself decreases my functionality further and actually adds items to my list of things to do.

I also need to give myself a break from time to time. I need days where I’m not working on my list. I need days where I just rest. And I need to take those days without feeling bad about them. Because the endless “trying hard” – for any reason, is just too much for any human to manage.

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2018, March 20). Bipolar Depression – All I Do Is Try Hard, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 18 from

Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate, and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar. She's also the host of the podcast Snap Out of It! The Mental Illness in the Workplace Podcast.

Natasha is also unveiling a new book, Bipolar Rules! Hacks to Live Successfully with Bipolar Disorder, mid-2024.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar BurbleX, InstagramFacebook, and YouTube.

April, 25 2018 at 7:21 am

Trying hard is a full time job people can't understand.

Paula Zendejas
March, 20 2018 at 4:16 pm

Hello, mi name is Paula, I'm from Mexico Cityand just want to thank you becasuse reading you is like reading myself. I try hard with bipolar type II since 1998.

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