There’s something sad about feeling different around people who don’t know about your “invisible illness.” Bipolar disorder is an invisible illness because it isn’t obvious, you can’t see it, and no one would ever guess that I am on Social Security.
When is this feeling worst? Places like daycare. I hate picking up my son because I feel like the crazy parent even though the other parents and teachers have no idea. I see the parents, picking up their kids after work, and know that I’m not like them. I struggle with work, if I could do it, I wouldn’t be on disability.
I am acutely aware that I’m not like the other parents, and I have to work hard not to feel less than them. Jack and I have a good relationship, and we love each other, but I see myself at the daycare and start to doubt my parenting ability.
Patience is not my strong suit. I’m not very patient with Jack. It takes mindfulness to be more patient, and while I’ve been working on it, it’s hard. This particular problem isn’t exclusive to people with bipolar disorder. But for me, it’s a symptom I’ve always had trouble with, because irritability is an unfortunate manifestation of my bipolar disorder.
I don’t want to feel different than other people, or doubt myself as a parent, and it’s something I’ll work on in therapy. Will it get better? I hope so. I believe just being aware that it’s going on is a step in the right direction.