When Bipolar Makes You Useless – Forgiving Yourself – Bipolar Burble Blog

Recently, I had days where I was useless due to bipolar disorder. My brain turned into a rock. I couldn’t think about it if I got tired. And thanks to my brain’s inability to think, I couldn’t work either. Trying to do anything, and I mean anything, produced nothing but overwhelming overwhelmingness. And all this lack of productivity led to a lot of self-flagellation. However, I need to learn to forgive myself when I am useless due to bipolar disorder.

Why does bipolar disorder make you useless?

Bipolar disorder can make you useless in a variety of ways. For example, if you are extremely depressed, it is quite normal to not be able to do anything. You drag your body from one place to another, unable to find even a shred of energy. This doesn’t even mention suicide. When you’re dealing with suicide, that tends to overtake your reality, and everything else takes a distant second place.

Although this is not exactly what happened to me. Yes, I was depressed, but no more than I usually am. I think what happened was an increase in cognitive load to the point where my brain just stopped. Several emotional events occurred over the last month. I was running away from them, trying to keep them from detrimentally affecting my brain. However, as most people know, running away from life events doesn’t work. You have to stay and face them at some point. Your body will punish you if you don’t do it willingly. That’s what happened to me. I ran and ran; I got tired; My brain could no longer escape the impact of my own life. All this resulted not only in a useless brain but also in a useless body.

I punish myself when I’m useless

I hate being useless, no matter the reason. Really, I could have broken both my legs and arms, and I would still punish myself for not doing anything.

I know why this is. It happens because I judge myself based on my productivity. This is a characteristic of those who suffer from severe and prolonged depression. It is impossible for these people to feel good about their days because it is impossible for them to feel good. However, when they look back on their days, they have to judge them based on something to have enough motivation to keep going. That’s why many judge their days based on productivity. Measurable achievements allow someone to feel positive about their day, even if they can’t feel happy about it. Believe me, this is a real coping skill that people with depression use frequently.

The problem is when you are not productive. The problem is that when you are useless for any reason, you feel terrible. You feel very bad about your day and you feel very bad about yourself. In my case, I feel guilty for not accomplishing what I need on a given day. Yo It should be labor. Yo It should be cleaning my apartment. Yo It should be catch up on phone calls. And I don’t accept any excuses. I don’t care that my brain is a rock. I want to do shit.

I need to forgive myself for being useless

Being worthless is something that every human being experiences, whether bipolar or not. Everyone has lazy Sundays when all they do is relax and read the newspaper. This is good. They shouldn’t punish themselves for it. Nobody should. Every human being also experiences days when he is useless due to illness. They might have the flu, an injury, or, yes, a disability. They shouldn’t be punished for this either.

I can say the above, and I can even believe it, but I feel like the rules don’t apply to me. My inner drill sergeant simply doesn’t accept weakness, illness, or the need for a break as an excuse for anything. I’m adamant about that because that’s what it takes to stay productive. That’s what it takes to have high-functioning bipolar disorder.

That being said, I need to learn to forgive myself for being useless some days due to bipolar disorder. Useless days are inevitable. Useless days are especially inevitable for me thanks to my disability. And punishing myself for this reality doesn’t help. Feeling bad about lack of productivity due to something out of my control won’t help improve anything.

Forgiving myself for being useless due to bipolar disorder

I’m still learning to forgive myself for the useless days brought on by bipolar disorder. That said, here are some of the ways I’m working on it:

  1. I recognize the lack of productivity. I see it as a fact without any judgment attached. It just is.
  2. I admit that I want to judge my uselessness. I admit that it is difficult for me not to do so. I recognize that forcing productivity is a coping skill that often works but isn’t working right now.
  3. I recognize that I deserve the same grace as everyone else. I would never try to make a person feel bad about an unproductive day. I deserve the same treatment.
  4. I recognize that I am imperfect and I am likely to still be judged. Alright. I just need to go back to step one.

In truth, there is nothing wrong with a useless day due to bipolar disorder. It is not a sin and therefore does not even require forgiveness. However, as a work in progress that I am, it’s part of what I need to do.

Do you punish yourself for the days when you are useless because of bipolar disorder? Can you forgive yourself for this? How do you do it? Are the four steps above useful?

Image by Flickr user dead doll.

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