While suicidality is often driven, at least in part, by lifestyle factors, a person with a good life can still be suicidal. This doesn't make sense to many people. How can someone with an objectively good life feel like they want to die? The answer to that is simple and complex. A person with a good life can be suicidal because of the brain.
Impact of Bipolar
Dating with an invisible illness has its pitfalls. When do you tell someone about your illness? When do you explain the impacts your illness has on your life? How do you try to make an invisible illness visible to the person you're dating? My own forays into the dating pool have been making me think about just these questions.
I talk to myself all the time. In fact, I don't think I know anyone who talks to themselves more than I do. It's an incessant, running commentary on my existence. It's like I have my own narrator — but not only are they saying what's happening, but they're commenting on it, too. The question is, if I talk to myself, is this a part of bipolar disorder?
Insomnia is common in bipolar disorder. Sleep changes (which can be insomnia or hypersomnia [oversleeping]) are noted in the symptoms of major depressive disorder, which is part of bipolar disorder. In fact, I would wager that without medication, every person with bipolar disorder would have sleep problems. In my case, I have insomnia with my bipolar disorder and have had it for three years. But last night, I was lucky. Last night I managed to sleep almost eight hours (interrupted, but still). So, why don't I feel any better?
Dating and depression don't mix very well. When you feel terrible about yourself because of depression, it's not the best time to meet new people and try to develop healthy connections. But if your depression is longstanding, does that mean you shouldn't date? Can you successfully date while depressed?
When treating bipolar disorder, I think it's critical to gain bipolar mood stability first and only then tweak up or down as needed. That means that if you're in a depression right now (and let's face it, that's when people seek help the most), the goal isn't to treat depression, per se, but rather to gain bipolar stability. Of course, I'm not the only one who thinks this. The esteemed psychiatrist Dr. Jim Phelps agrees: treatment should focus on bipolar mood stability first.
There are so many things I took for granted before I had bipolar disorder. Just like many people, I was living a normal-ish life. I was 18 years old; I was at university; I was living with my boyfriend; the stats on my life were definitely in the meaty part of the bell curve. And as such, I certainly never thought about mental illness. I wouldn't have been able to correctly define bipolar disorder for you for a million dollars. Those are certainly days I miss. And looking back, so many things were different before I had bipolar disorder.
I have bipolar disorder, and I never ghost people. "Ghosting" is a slang term for when someone cuts off all communication. Some people may doubt that I don't ghost people based on my bipolar diagnosis; however, believe me, I am not a "ghoster." Moreover, I'm not the only one. Just because a person has bipolar doesn't mean they will ghost you.
The word "neurodivergent" is flung around social media and is now very politically correct. For example, it's supposedly okay to call a person "neurodivergent," whereas calling them "mentally ill" will get you social media-canceled. But if people insist on using the term neurodivergent, then let's at least know what it means and how to use it properly.
I'm tired of explaining bipolar disorder to people. I realize this is a terrible sentiment to one who actually does this for a living, but it's one I've found myself thinking about at times. In some respects, explaining bipolar disorder and mental illness in general to people is extremely rewarding; in other ways, though, it's just a slog. Having the same conversation over and over again about mental illness with someone who has no clue is exhausting.