Both depression and mania can be master manipulators—playing tricks on our mind, convincing us to believe things that just aren’t true. Whether it’s challenging the negative thought loops or recognizing the patterns of fabrications in how we perceive the world around us, simply being aware of the fact that we can’t always believe everything we think can help keep us on track.
Lie #1: “I’m not deserving of love”
When we are in an unstable period and grappling with extreme mood shifts, our thoughts have a habit of turning on us. The nature of bipolar can contribute to bouts of unworthiness and low self-esteem, with a constant refrain of thinking we aren’t deserving of love. When we accept the diagnosis and make caring for ourselves a priority, we can learn to love ourselves and not buy into this common misbelief.
Lie #2: “I’ll never have a healthy, fulfilling relationship”
Some of us may have experienced a painful break-up, or more than one, which was then followed by us believing—thanks to bipolar’s manipulation—that we’ll never have a loving commitment again. This is not true. The first and most important step is to come to terms with the diagnosis, then realize that with a proper management and treatment plan, a regular and stable life (and relationship!) is possible.
Lie #3: “I am flawed”
First of all, bipolar is not a defect or a sign of emotional instability. It is a brain-based mood disorder that can be managed with proper treatment. Scan through the myriad articles and first-person accounts on bphope and you’ll readily find others who have identified their own benefits of bipolar. Yes, benefits. Being creative, empathetic, and sensitive, embracing a natural go-getter mind-set, and having a zest for life are all great attributes.
Lie #4: “I’m better, so I don’t need my medication”
We often believe this when we don’t entirely accept or understand our diagnosis. It may feel easier to deny the bipolar than to come to terms with living with a mood disorder, especially if self-stigma is an issue. The truth is that any life trigger can risk our stability, so adhering to a prescribed medication or treatment plan is a crucial part of managing bipolar and maintaining that “better” feeling.
Lie #5: “I’ll never feel happy again”
It’s common to believe that the pain we feel while in a depressive episode is permanent. At that time, it can be difficult to imagine that the dark veil will ever lift. But, as we know, the illusion of permanence is just that: an illusion. While finding the lightness that comes with stability after a depressive episode may take longer than we had hoped, realizing that bipolar depression is a temporary state can make it more bearable to endure.
Lie #6: “I don’t need sleep”
This is misbelief is especially common when we’re in a hypomanic or manic state. We fall for the falsehood that when we’re feeling productive, getting sleep is a waste of valuable time. In fact, during these times, it’s critical to remember that a regular sleep schedule can regulate our wellness. One of the best rules is to go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning—seven days a week.