No one likes to be coddled, talked down to, dismissed. Nobody likes to be treated like a child. Yet when one suffers from a bipolar disorder this feels like how the world suddenly treats you. It is as if you are no longer allowed to cut your own meat at dinner and are suddenly relegated to the kids table at holidays.
The scariest part, is that sometimes inside you do feel like a child, incapable of dealing with the world on adult terms. Even scarier are the times in which you know you are unable to operate in the adult world as an adult. These times come, and leave you laying on your bedroom floor unable to stand, unable to move forward with the day for fear of what may happen next.
How does one face the world when there is so much happening inside you can no longer function rationally?
One step at a time. One foot in front of the other. It’s not easy, it’s not gratifying, and it is far less than what the world may be expecting of you. In these times, and these moments, the world no longer matters. Doing all that you are able to do in this moment is what matters. Look for the small victories, and acknowledge them.
You can not measure your self or your worth based on someone else’s opinion of what they think you should be doing. In fact this very attitude is toxic. Sure, maybe they want to help, maybe they have their own interests, but at the end of it all is you. Alone. Struggling silently.
For yourself you must take baby steps. You might even find yourself crawling on the floor because baby steps are just too much. You may find yourself running one minute, and crawling on the floor in a huddled mess the next. It’s your journey. It is not always easy, in fact somedays it is excruciating.
When you feel you can not move forward, try taking baby steps. From your first diagnosis, to medication, to management of your illness, in all aspects of your life. We bipolar sufferers are great at taking the “all or nothing” approach. We have no idea what moderation looks like. We’re either really happy, or darkly depressed, or swinging somewhere in-between the two. The extremes are all we know. Moderation seems flat, unappealing, incomprehensible.
Learning moderation is a foreign language, some weird-mystical-crazy idea that seems just beyond reach. Trying to manage our moods is a never-ending battle we feel likely to lose. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Try taking baby steps. Even if it’s just to get another bowl of ice cream!