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What It's Like to Live Alone with Bipolar

May 24, 2023 Natasha Tracy

I live alone with bipolar disorder, and recently, someone asked me how I do it. I have rarely thought about such a thing as we all just work with the life with have, but let's talk about how I survive as a person living alone with bipolar disorder.

What Am I Like Alone with Bipolar Disorder?

In my case, I am a person with bipolar who is single and lives alone in a small condo that I have a mortgage on. I am a person who works as an independent contractor from my couch. I am a person with two cats. I am a person without the close ties that save some people with bipolar disorder (a parent down the road or some such).

This means that it's up to me to take care of cats, bills, meals, cleaning, laundry, expenses, schedules, work, appointments, etc.

I will tell you honestly; this is no easy thing. I struggle with it every day.

Things Working Against People with Bipolar Disorder Who Are Alone

It's hard because there's a lot of fighting against people with bipolar disorder daily. For example, my mood is primarily depression. I am treatment resistant. To be honest, I wake up every day with the urge to die at the forefront of my mind. Wanting to die combined with anhedonia (the inability to experience pleasure) means I have absolutely no intrinsic motivation. The bipolar disorder combined with the bipolar disorder medications also means I'm fighting brain fog daily. This massively impairs my ability to work, not to mention even remembering to do the basics of life.

People with bipolar disorder who live alone also deal with other bipolar mood symptoms. For example, I'm often overwhelmed by my bipolar mood effects to the point where I'm incapacitated. I also might be too anxious to leave the house. I might feel too guilty and lack the self-esteem to keep up friendships the way I want. And all that doesn't account for the crying jags — more than I can count. I also have no one to help point out when my symptoms get out of control or morph into something like a mixed mood.

I have to deal with medication every day, too. This means remembering to take medication multiple times daily and knowing I will ruin everything by not doing that. It also means handling medication changes as my doctor, and I deem appropriate to try and improve my depression. This, in turn, means dealing with all the side effects of new medications on my own. And because I'm an independent contractor, I don't get paid time off if things aren't going well.  

I also suffer from massive fatigue, both from bipolar disorder and chronic fatigue syndrome. This means that I'm tired, literally, all the time. There is not a moment when I'm not exhausted. If suicidality plus anhedonia didn't already destroy my motivation, extreme fatigue kicks in and kills any shred that might be left.

And there are so many more factors that fight against a person with bipolar every day.

Next Time

For my next post, I'll talk about surviving as a single person with bipolar disorder. I have tips and tricks to share.

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2023, May 24). What It's Like to Live Alone with Bipolar, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, December 9 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2023/5/what-its-like-to-live-alone-with-bipolar



Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate, and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar. She's also the host of the podcast Snap Out of It! The Mental Illness in the Workplace Podcast.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar BurbleTwitter, InstagramFacebook, and YouTube.

Tammara
June, 22 2023 at 2:45 pm

So there I was aimlessly rambling down the internet highway, must have been up in Wyoming or something cuz there wasn't another soul in sight, and suddenly there you are like a freaking lemonade stand in the desert. Except for the fact that you are young and pretty and have a job and live in the city and have cats instead of dogs where exactly alike. Could it be I'm not actually alone? That I'm not the only person struggling to figure out how and why to live this way? I'm going to follow you a little bit and see.

June, 26 2023 at 1:20 pm

Hi Tammara,
Thanks for your comment. I don't know your situation, of course, but one thing I know is that none of us are alone. The experiences people with bipolar disorder have are more alike than they are different. It took me some time to figure that out, but I have written, literally, thousands of articles on bipolar disorder and now I know it to be true thanks to people like you and comments like yours.
You may want to check out my personal blog as well. It is in no way endorsed by HealthyPlace. You can find it here: https://natashatracy.com
I hope you find a few nuggets that help.
-- Natasha Tracy

May, 29 2023 at 5:46 am

Natasha,
you continue to inspire me. Looking forward to your next post with the hope that I can pick up some healthy coping mechanisms.

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