How To Cope With Bipolar And Thoughts Of Giving Up On School

August 6, 2013 Alexa Poe

I wasn't coping with my thoughts of giving up on school very well the year before I was due to graduate. I was ready to quit school. I would sit in my therapist's office and cry at the thought of going back to campus that following Monday, and it negatively affected my mental health. I would freak out and cry at the drop of a hat, I would freeze up in class and become so jittery that I could barely sit in class.

It got the point where I talked to my mother about withdrawing from college and taking a semester off in order to get back on my feet. This was and is very much unlike me, but I felt as if I had no choice, although I was so close to being done. Ultimately, I didn't withdraw, and in retrospect, I'm glad I didn't. However, I found ways to cope.

How To Cope With Thoughts Of Giving Up On School When You Have Bipolar Disorder

Knowing how to cope when you have thoughts of giving up on school is important, especially for those of us with bipolar disorder. Here are some ways to cope.

  1. Schedule in plenty of breaks. If you're like me, it's very hard to make yourself do much of anything but school-related things. I found that it was much better and much more helpful to schedule study time and assignment time, but also to schedule in time for breaks and social events. Tedious? Maybe. But it's so helpful.
  2. Remind yourself of what's important. It's so easy to fall into that dark hole of bipolar depression and self-doubt, but you and your mental health is always important. If necessary, make yourself a list of what's important to you and what's unimportant. Is it important for you to go to graduate school? Or for you to go to college after high school, or would you rather go into the job field?
  3. Remember: Everything will be okay. It seems terribly difficult now, but it does get better. If you feel as if you need a break, take it. Do what is right for you (Learning to Trust Yourself When You Live With Mental Illness).
  4. Keep in mind all of the big and small things that you look forward to and keep those in sight. For me, the things I look forward to are a new album coming out soon by my favorite band, volunteering at the local animal shelter twice a week, and my weekend breaks.

School and college isn't easy, but remember that colleges and universities offer help and mental health services. Utilize them, don't let them go to waste.

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APA Reference
Poe, A. (2013, August 6). How To Cope With Bipolar And Thoughts Of Giving Up On School, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 25 from

Author: Alexa Poe

Kathleen Brannon
August, 7 2013 at 7:18 am

These are great ideas for pacing yourself so that you can reach the finish line and graduate, without too much stress and suffering.
I just want to add that if you truly can't do that because your bipolar symptoms are severe, it's perfectly okay to take a semester or two off, and even finish your degree at another college closer to home. A diploma is a diploma, and virtually no one else will be noting these details, even employers. If they do, cite medical reasons. You don't HAVE to do it the traditional way.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Alexa Poe
August, 7 2013 at 12:36 pm

Hi there and thank you for sharing!
Thank you for adding this -- it really is true! I probably should have reiterated that a lot more than I did.
I hope you're well!

August, 6 2013 at 12:54 pm

I know what being too focused on school can do and how important it is to schedule breaks. I was working on a thesis so much without breaks that I ended up having heart palpitations. The doctor sent me for a stress test, thankfully it was normal! My husband came up with a great solution...take the free cruise we had. Three days away was wonderful and it helped me refocus. Granted, not everyone can go for a cruise, but even getting out with friends or having a manicure or pedicure can be a welcome break. I wish you great luck and blessings as you complete your schooling.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Alexa Poe
August, 6 2013 at 1:28 pm

Thank you so much for sharing! A cruise sounds wonderful! I've found that even taking time out to watch some TV is good enough.
Thank you so much for the well wishes, and I hope you're well!

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