Bipolar Disorder: When Isolation Begins to Harm Your Life
I'm living with bipolar 2. Recently, I realized the way in which my isolation due to depressive and hypomanic episodes effects myself and those around me. This past year has been one filled with ups and downs and there is no doubt that my friendships have taken a back seat. Isolation is unhealthy when you live with bipolar disorder, and it is essential that we be aware of the way solitude negatively impacts our lives.
Bipolar Disorder and Isolation: A Common but Unhealthy Habit
Isolation is a common habit when you live with bipolar disorder. I isolate when the highs and lows become so frequent that I feel it is best for me to be alone and away from friends and family. However, as time goes on, I become too comfortable with being isolated; which is not good for my mental health. It is okay when we take moments to ourselves, especially during depressive episodes, but when one week turns into two or three months, that indicates that there is a problem.
I have been isolated on and off over the past year, and I see where it has negatively affected my life. It has caused me to be more anxious when I am around people. I value my friendships very much, but when I detach, it takes a toll on my connection with friends. It also hurts the way I physically appear to those around me. I take pride in being someone who dresses up for the day no matter the occasion. It makes me feel good about myself and is something I enjoy. After a couple of months isolating myself, I started dressing like I didn't care. It is a sign of low-self esteem and symbolizes the way I feel about myself. A majority of these problems stem from isolation.
Taking Steps to Get Out of Isolation
Taking steps to get out of isolation when you live with bipolar disorder is essential. The first step is acknowledging that there is a problem. It is not something that can be fixed overnight but taking one step at a time will eventually get you out of isolation.
I start each morning reading my bipolar disorder self-help book for 15 minutes and doing at-home exercises to get me ready for the day. Also, being that I work from home, I make sure to do my work outside of the house. I force myself to go to different places every other week to do my job. I journal about what I see, how this is helping, my fears and so on.
These little steps build on one another, and eventually, I got back into the habit of dressing up for the day. I am still a work in progress, and I have days where I keep to myself, but beating myself down is pointless. Also, I reach out to a friend or family member and be honest with them about what is going on. I struggle with asking others for help, but I realized not reaching out only emphasizes the problem at hand. Let them know that you are tired of isolating yourself and would like to do more things with others. It is about taking little steps and being honest with yourself.
When you live with bipolar disorder, it is essential we surround ourselves with people. It is not a good thing when you become too comfortable with being alone. We have a lot to contribute to society, and we should take pride in what we have to offer to those around us. Take small steps and you will eventually find yourself out of isolation.
Blum, H. (2018, May 29). Bipolar Disorder: When Isolation Begins to Harm Your Life, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, August 18 from https://www.healthyplace.com/living-with-bipolar-blog/2018/5/bipolar-disorder-when-isolation-begins-to-harm-your-life
Author: Hannah Blum
Thank you so very much for your advice . I really don't talk to anyone about it. It's a consistent battle 4 me and lately it's been getting worse. Between my medication, and my 2 oldest children who no longer want nothing to do with me because thy don't believe in this. So have not had the most understanding kind hearted family. My mum and boyfriend accept it. However I just feel so alone no one understands me. Again thank you for ur time in helping me.