“High Functioning” Bipolar Disorder

45 Truths People With Bipolar Disorder Wish Others Understood:

This article was written by:  from HealthyPlace.com (Breaking Bipolar Blog)

Sometimes people don’t believe I’m particularly sick. They meet me, I look fine, I interact, I charm, I wit and all seems, if not normal, at least something reasonably normal adjacent.

And that’s fine. It’s by design. Being a high-functioning mentally ill person, I can’t really afford to run around with my hair on fire. But faking normalcy, happiness and pleasure is a tricky and very expensive bit of business.

High-Functioning Bipolar

Being a “high-functioning” bipolar doesn’t really have a definition, per se. The term indicates that I’m not in a mental hospital, and I do things like live on my own, pay rent, work, and whatnot. I would suggest that being “high-functioning” seems to indicate that I can fake not being a crazy person.

High-Functioning Weekdays

It’s really important that I be able to put my bipolar on the shelf. I have to be able to put the crazy away so that I can talk to people, engage in business, produce technical documentation, write articles and so on. I wrote about 12,000 words last week for clients. You can’t do that if you’re pondering where on your wrist the best place to slice is.

Article continues @:

(repost from 2015)

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I am a Mental Health Advocate for mental illness Stigma. In 2007, I created the "Living in Stigma" blog, with the purpose and anticipation of educating people about mental illness. Depression is part of this illness, which intertwines with those struggling with PTSD, chronic pain, and other invisible illnesses. I am a chronic migraine sufferer myself, and a sexual and emotional abuse survivor. My passions are writing, poetry, and art. All abuse Survivors are also Warriors.

22 thoughts on ““High Functioning” Bipolar Disorder”

  1. Bipolar disorder is so difficult to live with from personal experience. I feel like medication only goes so far but it does help with it. Please feel free to check out my blog on my struggles with mental health at shatterinsanity.blog


    1. I question meds all of the time, and I wonder if the docs even know what to prescribe. I found that my doc didn’t even give some meds long enough to know if they were working, simply adjusting them to a higher dosage. Thanks for your comments, I’ll be sure and take a peek at your blog (perfect title). 🙂


  2. I enjoyed your expression. I can relate oh so well to this. I’m a high functional bipolar person. I have the need for control, so I can’t let it control me. I have to stay one step ahead of each mood. I’m returning to work in 2018 and I’m prepared to deal with my job in a different way. I hope I’m as good as I was before my diagnosis. Now medicated, I’m much more calm and less social. My thought process has increased making more aware of my surroundings and other people’s behaviors. I feel great about being in a business setting since my home setting has bored me to death. Thanks for the blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Advice: Take it really easy when you return and don’t expect to remember everything you knew before you left. I took a short-term disability for 6 months after a depressive episode and when I returned I was completely confused and felt like an idiot. It took almost a week to get into the swing of things, but looking back I realized I was way too hard on myself and the more pressure I demanded from my brain, the more stressed out I became. Of course no one else knew of my struggle and I didn’t have anyone in the office I could “bark off” my frustrations to. That was crappy! I wish you the best and am proud you have the courage to return to work. Pat yourself on the back 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for this post. Today has been one of those emotional days for me. You took the words from my mind regarding being a high-functioning bipolar sufferer. I would like yo add that we try so hard to hide from out own minds that it is so draining. I would rather be physically tired than mentally or emotionally. Keep educating the masses.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for those lovely words, and I agree that mental or emotional exhaustion is draining. I find it frustrating that in society, that is laced with stigma, we have to sometimes hide our mental illness. When I worked, I hid my struggle with depression as I quickly decided it would have a major effect on my job (call centre rep), and could be used against me in the future. At times when I had a particularly difficult day, there was no one to support me. Had it been another illness, I would think nothing of mentioning “a bad day”. I appreciate your comment. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think that it is a double standard when it comes to “visiable” and “non-visible” illnesses. One that I noticed as I was praying last night was feeling sad because I am alone, but finding comfort in being alone. Let me explain. My husband is incarcerated in another state. I have friends, but none that understands the struggle of being bipolar and forced to distance myself to avoid the judgemental comments or looks. I have been in a stooper for a few weeks now. I am.a Christian and know the word says the Lord will never leave us or foresake us, yet even those words have no comfort. Functioning by distancing others is an everyday thing for me at least. I feel that my disorder is a burden to others so I hide my swings as much as possible. I try to hide my really bad days from my hubby, but he knows. He tries to get me to talk about it when he calls. It is as if we put more energy into trying to be accepted as “normal” when we should try to educate people about what’s going on. I don’t know maybe I am jist rambling. It just seems educating at times is pointless if people don’t want to understand.

        Sorry for the long posts.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. There is a double-standard for mental illness, chronic pain and invisible illnesses. That is the focus of my blog. Your replies are not too long, if you have something to say that is thought-provoking then how else do you explain it without the expression of words? People with invisible illnesses forever feel a burden to others, guilty depending on someone else, annoyed that others do not understand their illness or chronic pain and most of all constantly feel obligated to say “sorry” and have a smile on their face to please others. Why is that not with other illnesses? We are not in wheelchairs and no one is running over to us to lend a helping hand or compassionate. I could go on and on, but you get the drift of my distaste of people, and some judge without knowing what the heck they are talking about and spew their opinions to hurt others. That I don’t understand.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. All that you say is correct. I never really understood why I am soooo apologietic to others when I am having a bad day/week, hell even months. It is frustrating when someone asks what’s wrong, but trying to explain only makes it worse. Thus, causing the seclusion and distance. I thank God for you and blogs like this one. I am crying right now because of being in the comforts of someone who understands. Thank you again.


            1. I apologize for the late reply but I’ve been on holidays. Thanks so much for your kind comment. We are such compassionate people, those whose lives have been disrupted by mental illness or chronic pain, as we see another side of human life. During my research journey about personality types, I came across interesting info that had me thirsty for more and more. I think I’ve centered in on my personality which doesn’t make me feel like such an odd duck after all and I understand where my qualities and flaws lie. https://www.16personalities.com/infp-strengths-and-weaknesses I figured I’m an INFP, perhaps you are the same. It’s interesting, however, it may be a lot of hogwash also!! 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

              1. I did this test in my sociology class this fall. I can’t remeber mine. I do remember from the test that I love being around people, but I need my alone time to get my “me time” in to keep somewhat of a balance. Great post missy! 👍🏽😊

                Liked by 1 person

  4. Hahahaha love this and can relate. I had someone say this to me recently too – ‘the doctors would love you, they don’t see high functioning bipolar very often’. Gave me the shits but I totally agree with this!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. There are many people with severe mood disorders who would love to have the skill to put crazy aside. Yet having that skill creates a special kind of hell. It is a bit like being between worlds and the sense of isolation is particularly painful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very well said, and some people don’t even know what BP is. and assume now that it’s tied to the mind of any mass shooter, cop killer etc out there. Sad when you are trying to educate stigma. Thanks for commenting. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The only way to get past the stigma is for us to do exactly what we are doing. We are not criminals, most of us would not be homeless if we were not systematically reduced to poverty, we are not “chronic, we’re not “behaviors,” and we’re not parasites, laggards, lazy and malingering. In fact, most of these shootings would not happen if we had a fully funded mental health system that treated people when they need it instead of placing obstacles in our way and reducing our pain to not thinking nice thoughts.


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