“Why are you crying?”
“I just don’t understand you.”
“Taking medications makes you weak.”
These are all things I’ve been told. Some by friends, some by loved ones. I always thought I was just super sensitive, how I felt was just stronger then other people’s feelings. I would hold grudges, and everything was extreme for me.
Stress was and is a constant reminder that I cannot handle very well, but thanks to therapy and medications I am better at handling this trigger.
“What if you can’t hold down a job? You aren’t going for disability anymore.”
This is correct. I’m no longer going to do disability, because I got the clear from my doctor to try working, and because my disability attorney doesn’t think self-medicating with alcohol would get me a win.
Even though my psychiatrist made several notes on my file that unmedicated bipolar people will self-medicate just to try to numb how they feel. It no longer is about how I will hold down a job, and it becomes how does a normal person handle stress at work.
How do you handle stress?
I have my anxiety pills (Hydroxyzine) on me at all times. Even though I feel stable I have to understand that I am not normal. I have to understand that I need something extra to feel like I can function. The anxiety pills make me feel safe. And I know deep breathing techniques help.
“But Lauren, what if someone upsets you, or is rude to you?”
Good question. I can honestly say that I handle angry people better then I did before. Before I would cry, and need awhile to calm down. Some other times I would try to bite my tongue, but at some point I’ll have a hard time not saying something that’s passive-aggressive.
I of course still feel anxiety doing normal things, but I feel like I cannot reach out for help. I can’t assume that people understand bipolar disorder, Heck. There are some people that don’t even believe mental illness exists.
While that makes me roll my eyes and scoff, I know its not necessarily their fault. Mental illness is something we should all know something about. Another sad fact is.. Suicide is ranked the highest in bipolar disorder.
Scary. Is it because we are misunderstood? Is it because our medications just numb us? Remember folks, there’s no cure. Even though it’s just a chemical imbalance for me, I’ll always be like this. I’ve accepted it, and understand it’s just who I am.
I’ve had to have multiple dosage increases or decreases. Some of that was environment based. Many bipolar people feel like they can’t reach out, for fear of judgement. I understand that. You can’t tell your employer for fear of discrimination.
“Bipolar? So you just feel things strongly. That’s not a disability.”
Wrong. It is in the blue book of disabilities. But sometimes with the right medications and the right environment a bipolar person can work. Just remember, some of us truly can’t work. That’s nothing to be ashamed of! If you do decide to work, just focus on the job, keep a good handle on your triggers.
We’re not perfect, not even the normal people are perfect. Remember that!