“You’re not bipolar enough…”

Never in my life, until the privilege of writing this blog, has anyone ever told me, “Robin, you’re not Bipolar enough. You’re just like everyone else.”

I took some time to explore what that means to me and came up with multiple perspectives that I’ll share with you. First, I noticed that it poked an old wound of mine. Growing up, I never felt like I belonged. I always felt different. So I gradually rejected the idea of being like everyone else in order to accept myself. Initially being told that I’m like everyone else or all the other psychotherapists/professionals didn’t feel good.

When I received that message it hit me that maybe this person feels that because I’m not struggling or suffering enough with bipolar disorder that I can’t understand them or I can’t help them.

I have so much empathy for these feelings. I too spent a lot of my life feeling that no one can understand me or help me, especially therapists. These are horrible feelings. When I had them, they made me feel so alone. These feelings make it so easy to give up.

This awareness makes me wonder if other people feel this way – that I can’t help them because I’m not suffering or struggling enough with bipolar disorder.  I invite you to share your feedback and ideas.

Another perspective that I explored is how bipolar disorder is so stigmatized that an unspoken identity and culture has developed around ideas of being “bipolar enough”.

For instance, you’re not “real” or “bipolar enough” unless you’re struggling, suffering and angry with bipolar disorder.

This way of thinking is bullshit.

It is disempowering. And it is ineffectively manipulative.

This way of thinking creates an identity that uses bipolar disorder as an excuse to place limitations on who you can be.  People will say or feel things like, “I can’t be / do….because I’m bipolar.” It is NOT true. You simply will have to work a lot harder for what you want, learn more than you ever knew you could and make sacrifices to achieve your goals.

I ask you to please not fall into this trap. This way of thinking devalues us as human beings. It supports beliefs that we are not worthy of being loved, contributing to the community, being productive, having healthy relationships etc.

There are people who are genuinely suffering and struggling with bipolar disorder. However, this is not who they desire to be. They desire to live their dreams and have healthy relationships. They want a good life. They do the best they can each day with the resources they’ve got. They don’t take pride in suffering and struggling.

You are enough.

May your identity be based on what you are able to be and do.

Thrive with bipolar disorder.