Bipolar Disorder and the Importance of Being Independent
Monday, March 12 2018 Hannah Blum
The importance of being independent when you have bipolar disorder is something I have realized over this past year. I am 28 years old and with age comes more responsibility. The bills are piling up, the home maintenance seems to be constant, and managing my bipolar disorder on top of everything else is stressful. Living with emotional extremes can make you question yourself. Can I be independent when I have bipolar disorder?
Why is Being Independent So Important When You Have Bipolar Disorder?
The answer is simple, because relying on people to take care of you when you live with bipolar disorder, or any mental health condition, is a bad idea. One day, my friend who lives with bipolar 1 disorder and is in a serious relationship said something to me that has stuck with me ever since. When I told her how awesome it was that she had someone else, she told me, "No matter how much we love a person and trust them, as women living with bipolar disorder we always have to be prepared to be on our own."
She was right. We are capable of taking care of ourselves, our home and our family; it is just an issue of controlling our emotions when things become too stressful. Only one thing is for certain in our lives, we have ourselves, and we have bipolar disorder.
Overwhelmed and Questioning My Ability to be Independent
Recently, I had a mini bipolar breakdown when things became overwhelming. I was completely disorganized, behind on bills and home maintenance. I took all the stuff out of my junk drawer and threw it across the floor, yelling cuss words that I dare not write out in this post. I looked at all the bills in front of me, some of which I knew I couldn't pay this month, and thought about just running. Getting in my car, and saying "Peace. Out."
Those of you who are saying to yourself, "She wouldn't go to the extreme," my response is, "Oh yes I would, and I have run away from my responsibilities before." I felt shame, not for throwing things around, but because I thought to myself, can I do this on my own? The answer is yes, and the reason is that I have to. I have to learn how to control these emotions, take one thing at a time because it is so imperative I learn to be independent as someone living with bipolar disorder.
Learning How to Become Independent with Bipolar Disorder
Learning how to become independent with bipolar disorder is no easy task. I am finding that it is all about balance and taking things one day at a time. When you live with bipolar disorder it is so essential that we challenge ourselves. I looked at taking on all this responsibility as a learning experience that will allow me to become more independent. If I rely on my parents, or anyone, to save me when my emotional extremes are at a peak, I am only hurting myself.
Keeping organized is key in learning how to become independent with bipolar disorder. I have a whiteboard, where I list all the things in my home and in general that need to be accomplished. One day at a time, I chip away at these things, trying not to overwhelm myself. Learning to become independent with bipolar disorder is a challenge and a growing experience all at the same time. When I feel myself at a breaking point, I take an hour or two to remove myself from everything. As bad as it can get, I try always to tell myself that I can do this. You can do this. You can be independent living with bipolar disorder.