Bipolar disorder can feel confusing and scary enough on its own. Misconceptions about bipolar disorder might make us afraid to share this part of ourselves with other people. Having to talk to someone about it when you may not even understand it yourself can feel impossible.
Even if it feels like you are the only person you know who struggles with bipolar disorder, millions of people all over the world live with bipolar disorder, too. Many more than that are willing to listen or want to understand. There will be some people who just won’t get it, but it’s not your job to convince them. Even though it’s scary to reach out, you’d be surprised how many people around you now have experienced it or would care enough to listen.
You can talk to family members, friends, coaches, teachers, or religious leaders in your life. If you are unsure of what to say, you could write a letter or be prepared with research about bipolar disorder to help you explain what you are going through.
There are also many different types of mental health professionals who are available to discuss how you feel and to strategize around how to feel better. Finding a professional can take some research and will come with costs, depending on your health insurance, but it could be worth it if it can make you feel better.
Hotlines, warmlines, online support, or text lines can help, too. These are typically run by trained volunteers or employees whose job it is to listen to those who reach out. Talking to a stranger can help you feel safer about what you’re sharing, and strangers may be able to offer more objective feedback than the people involved in our lives. Getting what we’re feeling out, whether it’s talking, typing, or texting, often feels good.
A great option is finding other people who share your experience in support groups or communities. These can be in-person or online and are made up of people who have experienced similar things. They talk about their daily lives, struggles, and strategies they’ve used to cope and thrive. It can be transformational to feel like you belong in a community or to find people sharing things you thought only impacted you.
Whichever of these you choose, it’s important to reach out. Connecting and asking for support, even when it’s hard or scary, is a key part of recovery.