The Pain of Living with Bipolar 2 Disorder

March 29, 2017 Hannah Blum

With bipolar 2, the depression is crippling and the hypomanic episodes are exhausting. Find out what bipolar 2 is really like on HealthyPlaceLiving with bipolar 2 is a constant challenge

I feel like I am standing in the middle of a crowded room, elegantly dressed from head to toe, screaming at the top of my lungs. My mascara dripping down my face and hitting the floor like blackened rain drops. I keep screaming, but no one can hear me. Strangers, friends, and family wave towards me with smiles filled with glee as if my pain is invisible. Then it hits me. It is invisible.

The pain of living with bipolar 2 disorder, also known as bipolar depression, is difficult to explain. There is no Merriam-Webster definition that can accurately describe it. The depression is crippling and the hypomanic episodes are both physically and mentally exhausting. You feel out of control and lost. No amount of coffee can get you hyped for the day and no amount of encouragement can motivate you. The stigma of bipolar disorder is equally as painful, causing you to isolate and loath your own reflection. I wish they had as many pills for ignorance as they do for all other illnesses. When those around you don’t acknowledge your pain as being real, it causes you to doubt yourself and feel like an outcast in society. The pain from those negative thoughts is draining and all-consuming.

The Most Painful Part of Living with Bipolar 2

The part of bipolar 2 disorder that is the most painful for me is the guilt. The guilt I feel for being lost as if I did it on purpose. It bullies me to think of myself as unworthy and ashamed. As someone who is viewed by others as being selfless, the idea of emotionally hurting others is overwhelming. I feel like I am constantly saying “I am sorry” even in situations where an apology is not necessary. In severe hypomanic episodes, I can be irresponsible and irritable. In depressive episodes, I am nonexistent and isolated. It is an out of body experience. I go from being confident, energetic and social to withdrawn and insecure. It’s like seeing yourself from the outside withering away as if you were watching a sad movie in which you are the star. However, the irony of this movie is that if I could choose to live without bipolar 2 disorder, I would not.

I blame bipolar for the internal pain that is so difficult to explain to others, but I also blame bipolar for feeling emotions so deeply I crave to help others. I blame bipolar for challenging me to find strength at my weakest point. Bipolar shares with me its pain and the day I stopped letting society make me feel ashamed, was the day it shared with me its gifts. If it were not for the pain, I would not be the woman I am today.

How does living with bipolar disorder feel to you? Share your experiences in the comments below.

APA Reference
Blum, H. (2017, March 29). The Pain of Living with Bipolar 2 Disorder, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Author: Hannah Blum

Hannah Blum is the HealthyPlace YouTube bipolar disorder vlogger. Check out her I'm Hannah. I Have Bipolar 2 playlist and subscribe to the HealthyPlace YouTube channel. You can also find Hannah on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

September, 3 2021 at 3:14 am

Deep lows are tuff, it saps your energy and motivation also you just want to be quiet and left alone.
You may also become very anxious
I’m going through one at the moment.
Highs are excessive spending and optimism you may also suffer from ADHD during these times, perhaps OCD like I do...I’m BP 2

Candice Cook
September, 28 2018 at 2:50 am

On paper my diagnosis doesn't specify it only has Bipolar "Mixed" listed, but if I had to identify with one over the other I would say 2, at least since my youngest daughter was born anyway so about the last 6 years.
As to how it feels...*sigh* If there was anything I could say I loathe beyond a shadow of a doubt it would be bipolar depression. If you haven't ever experienced it you can't really grasp the magnitude of just how much power it wields over your life. It makes even the most simple of tasks seem daunting like brushing your hair or picking up a tiny piece of paper off the floor that you've walked past and looked at for the last 3 days while thinking that you really should pick it up only you just aren't physically or mentally capable of willing yourself to bend down and grab it. I could probably manage a lot better if it weren't for the flood of emotions that thinking about that sliver of zero importance will ultimately unleash.
You see for days, I will walk past and feel nothing and it will be of no consequence, but sooner or later I'll start to notice it and cast a wayward glance in its direction while en route to do some other hideously arduous task that I've put off entirely too long(in other words, shower).
Once I'm finished I'll lay in bed a while(because I can't manage to get up now that I'm no longer upright) and try not to think about anything and certainly not whatever important things I need to be doing that won't be getting done today. Then suddenly, it hits me like an armored truck filled with nickels and despair...that nightmare confetti square that was clearly summoned from the depths of hell is lying mere inches from my front door like a giant sign that reads "abandon all hope ye who enter here...because I already have". Gahhhh, that's the first thing everyone will see when they walk in! Why did I just not pick it up earlier??? Wait. What time is it? 4:40!?!? Oh NO, my dad will be here ANY MINUTE to pick up the girls and I'm not even dressed, they aren't packed, it doesn't even look like I got out of bed all day...AND THAT PAPER IS STILL THERE!!!!$&#@% *throwing mismatched clothes into an overnight bag*...He's going to see that paper and think I never clean my house. I'm so lazy. Why do I wait until the last minute to do everything?! Ugh, I'm so mad at myself. Why can't I do anything right??? I'm moving sooo slow!! He's trying to give me a break and I'm just an ungrateful slob. What happened to me? 3 years ago I was working 55 hours a week running a business and now I can't even run the vacuum...Is this what my life has come to? Is this really it for me? *notices clothes in bag don't match* Omg I'm a terrible mother for almost sending this crap with my kids! For the love of all things holy, where is the stuff that matches?!?!? Oh yeah, I think it's...STILL IN THE WASHER!?!?! This is a catastrophe of epic proportions! What do I even say when he gets here? How do I talk my way out of this one? Okay calm down, there's bound to be something they can wear. Okay. Awesome. Here we go, now everything is ready. The crisis has been averted. Hallelujah! Amen! *knock at the door*
Whew, that was close...I FORGOT TO PICK UP THAT EFFING PAPER!!! There's no more time now. Yep. He's gonna see right through the facade once he spies that baby for sure. He'll know I shoved all the dishes in the oven, turned on the dryer and lit 25 candles so my house would smell clean. I'm the most disappointing adult child on earth. *Dad walks in completely oblivious to tiny speck of paper and my immense inner turmoil...paper flies out the door* Thanks so much for keeping the girls this weekend, Dad. I REALLY need to get some stuff done around here(aka go to bed)! Bye bye, Love you guys! *Door shuts behind them...I loudly exhale all the air in my lungs, burst into tears and collapse in a heap on the floor*
So, that pretty much sums up an average Friday when I'm depressed.
When I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum, however, at least there are pleasant moments to be had and I can actually do regular things without feeling like I just army crawled through 12 miles of quicksand only to discover that I left everything I needed back where I came from and now I have to turn around.
Unfortunately, I do get irritated very easily when someone distracts me from my efforts. In part, because I know I won't feel up to it for very long so I'm trying to get it done and NOW, but also because that's just how my brain operates in that mode and I would feel that way even if what I was doing was completely pointless(to anyone other than myself, of course, bc it always makes sense to me...until it doesn't bc now I'm completely lucid and WHO let me do this dumb $@*% anyway? I know you saw me doing it and you just let it happen. SMH...)

June, 27 2018 at 8:12 am

I dont how to say. But I am bipolar 2 disorder. I see doctor. And i also have my friends and family. But with this mental illness. Its not the same anymore. Ermm hergh i dobt kbow how to explain what I felt :'( and its so damn hurt

Ty Young
June, 26 2018 at 11:46 am

I'm so encouraged by this post, and its replies ... thank you. Our 14 year old son was just diagnosed with bipolar disorder two weeks ago, and I think it's type 2 because he doesn't really have any particularly high manias. His doctor has prescribed Abilify to help stabilize his mood swings, and although it's done that, it's also seemed to have dulled him to the point that he has no interest in doing things with our family, doing things he's loved in the past such as swimming, etc. We feel like we've lost our son, though of course we haven't.
I'd sure appreciate any encouragements or experiences you think would help us.
Thank you.

September, 3 2021 at 3:08 am

I’m BP type 2=myself and the moment going through a major low.
Apart from medication and seeing specialists have you considered getting your son a dog ?
They are non judgemental and can provide comfort when things are not so great.

Analiz Bermudez
June, 6 2018 at 4:34 pm

This is one of the only times a person have described how polar disorder feels in so few word. The isolation from others, the people running away because you're so far from them not picking up phones and not leaving your house at everybody just runs and forgive about you, they may think that is them maybe they did something or maybe it's you that don't want to be with them anymore they don't understand that is not them that is not you that is something that is just going in you but sometimes it is hard especially when you don't have to strength when to be able to talk to them and explain to them what is going on in your life because you feel that they are going to be judgmental. So the first step for me was to get new friends and learn to share what I have with them so they have a little bit more understanding of what is going on in my life.

Bryan Ross
May, 16 2018 at 7:17 am

Well, didn't this just hit the nail on the head. I am now middle aged and have only in the past couple of years come to terms with my illness, even though I was diagnosed years ago and even though people knew something was very wrong a long, long time ago. But the thing that hurts the most is when I am depressed and my mind is filled with a constant churning of shame for how I treated (or ignored) my children and for what I've put my wife through. I am ashamed for the moments lost. I am ashamed every time I meet a "normal" family with "normal" parents that act normally towards their children and I am reminded of how abnormal I was towards mine. I feel shame. Then when the mania hits I am back to abnormal and creating more memories to be ashamed of. That is how I feel.

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