You can’t understand

Over the years dealing with being bipolar I’ve often felt isolated an alone.  I’ve felt like it’s impossible for others to truly understand what it’s like to live with such a devastating disease.  Even others who are also bipolar are unique in their own illness.   No two people have exactly the same feelings and symptoms, and the skills and treatment plans all have different levels of success and work differently for each individual.

It is understandable why it’s so difficult for others to ‘get it’.  This illness can be absolutely impossible to comprehend.  How can you possibly explain what’s going on in your head during a manic episode when you can’t even explain it to yourself.  Who can truly feel what it’s like in your own depressions.  Sure, many people experience some level or another of depression or extreme sadness over the course of a lifetime, but no one feels exactly how you do.

Nobody can possibly understand.

But does it matter?  I’ve found great comfort just in knowing that there others who just want to help.  They might not appreciate what your life is like, but they can recognize that your life is hard.  They can accept the fact that your behaviors and feelings are driven by a physical disease even if they don’t know how it feels.  They can be sympathetic that you struggle even if they cannot empathize.   This support may not come from friends or even family.  You may feel like the doctors and therapists are just doing a job and not invested in your well being.  It can be very frustrating that it seems like it’s impossible to explain how you feel. But In every case I’ve ever known, there’s always been someone, somewhere, that can be counted on.  It may be from those closest to you, or just some random individual. But there’s always someone.

I’ve also found that others who also deal with being bipolar can offer a great deal of support.  They may not have your own levels of feelings or know how you react to your given situation, but they have dealt with similar issues.  They may not feel the same depressions or their mania may come with different features, but they can understand how this disease impacts every aspect of your life.  There are many shared experiences even if there are different outcomes.  I’ve found a lot of compassion when attending bipolar support groups.  I’ve been able to share my feelings and gain insight from interacting with others online.  I’ve had wonderful therapists and doctors.  And I’ve felt like my own insight and experiences have been able to help others who are going through the same issues.

It’s not always evident that there are people out there who can help deal with our illness.  When you are firmly in the grip of an extreme high or low it might seem like you are completely isolated.  You can feel like there’s no one who can possibly understand.  Now that I’m having some success in my own treatment I can see that I’ve never really been alone.  Sure, nobody understands the illness as I have it, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be there for me.  The trick is seeing past what appears as a lack of understanding, and embracing the compassion and acceptance that is there for what it is.

Because there will always be someone who understands after all.

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3 Responses to You can’t understand

  1. One of the difficulties with Bipolar is realising that you need help and ( THE MAIN ) other is accepting the help when it is on offer.
    We know within ourselves that we crave,want and need help yet we refuse it when offered for some strange reason,stating silly thing’s like we don’t need any help,nothing is wrong?
    People believe that once you accept you have Bipolar you are over the Biggest hurdle.
    No you ain’t.
    The party has just begun.
    You start the split personality stage.
    You take your med’s and with a little luck you start feeling slightly better, You experience life through the eye’s of another-A life of controlled feeling’s alien to you.
    So now you have tasted these new feeling’s and you like them, along with what can only be regarded as period’s of normality ( the thing normal people feel )
    The problem being you have just discovered another set of mood’s.
    So we now have a set of good and bad mood’s.
    and guess what?
    You have more to cope with simply because you are trying to get well.
    The good thing about these new set of good mood’s is that people will have seen the change’s in you and your behaviour and say how calm,so nice etc about you.
    They will then easily notice when you are not nice and calm etc and be able to help whereby in the past they may just have believed you were a moody bugger..
    I went to a Bipolar group once but i never went back after that first evening.
    Not one single person had a clue about their illness and i say that honestly.
    Even the young lady in charge who had Bipolar knew very little.
    It was more like a coffee morning to chat about breast feeding.
    Now that you are having success of your own ( May it continue ) you will be able to help other’s identify the problem’s that you have encountered during you trip simply because you you are now understanding thing’s a lot better.
    Gee i must Have Bipolar because i talk and i talk rubbish.
    Good luck and best wishes

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  2. Wahine says:

    Sometimes it seems you are pulling the thoughts out of my head and have been my mouth to explain the experience. Your posts have been very uplifting to me. It helped draw me out of a deep dark depression and take a good look at myself. It is very comforting to know others are in this boat of depression and traveling thru the darkness together. We are never alone. I am very happy to see how your life has taken a turn around. Especially having someone in your life to bring you true happiness again. No one should have to go thru the darkness alone. I truly feel you need to get a publisher and share with other’s who suffer bipolar depression. This can be a tool we can hand to friends and loved ones to explain the agony of this disease. There is hope and with the support of others going thru similar situations we can beat this beast called bipolar. We are all colorful and fun individuals. I don’t believe the intelligence part as I was not gifted in that department. Keep up the good work because i enjoy each blog. Many thanks for taking this on. You may have helped more than you know.

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  3. Bipolar Dude says:

    I think a lot of the isolation comes as a result of getting caught up in your own head. It’s so easy, at least for me, to become entrenched in the depths of my mind. It’s as if there is a barrier between my mind and the world around me. But then you have those moments, as you say here, where you realize that there really are others that try to understand your situation.

    Sometimes, this is all that is needed. It’s all about breaking past that barrier. This is how it is for me. It’s hard but there is something on the other side. A lot of what you say is true here and resonates with me. All the best from someone who gets it. But as you say, we are all unique in our experiences, even people with the same mental illness.

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