Bipolar Life is All About Choices

February 22, 2010 Cristina Fender

What do you say to taking chances? Starting fresh. Being you, but better. Would you take a chance to live the life you've always dreamed of? Would you do anything to trash your bipolar life and evolve into an improved you? Jump off the edge even if you're afraid. You're worth it.

jump-170x113I dream of sunny days every day. The kind of days where a golden glow makes everything seem brighter and happier. I dream of being normal. Why can't my chance be a real one? I just want to start again. I want to turn back the clock to that fatal week when I learned I had bipolar disorder. I don't want to know. I want to walk the streets oblivious. What would that have been like? Would my life still be normal?

My past would've been checkered

I might have left my husband and my girls would be living with a single mother. Knowing I was bipolar held me back. I became a scared little girl with no hand to hold. I couldn't really share with every one what lurked in my shadows. Who would truly understand? I didn't understand, I don't know how anyone else would. My husband understands. I'm so glad that I kept him in my corner. In that way, I'm lucky. My family is the one thing that keeps me going.

But the shadows are still there.

I want to eradicate them. I want to be a better me. I want to start again. I'm missing me. I don't know who me is without my family and that scares me to death. Life is so fragile. I learned that the hard way when my father passed away this past August. He was there and then he wasn't. What if that happens to my family? Would I commit suicide without them? I know the answer and I can't live for them anymore.

I have to live for me.

My world needs to include my family, but it needs to give me something to look forward to every day. I don't have all the answers yet, but I'm ready to jump off the edge, not knowing if there's solid ground below me.

I have to take a chance. It's my only chance at real survival. I want to walk next to my family and be proud of my own accomplishments. I don't know much about your life, but I invite you to walk beside me. I invite you to jump. We'll do it together.

APA Reference
Fender, C. (2010, February 22). Bipolar Life is All About Choices, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Author: Cristina Fender

March, 7 2010 at 2:19 pm

Hi there... *Smiles*
What a beautiful personal experience... thank you for sharing.
I am uncertain of whether or not or agree with your opinion that, specifically, 'bi-polar is all about choices'. I think that LIFE is all about choices and we can make them as all people, hopefully, do. Our's can prove to be more problematic, however, and can bring greater challenges and stresses, or those of a different nature.
I believe that some of us can also be rewarded in beautiful ways as well... perhaps any duration of intense, seemingly inexplicable, emotional pain enables us to feel a greater range of emotions, or to experience, with more intensity, the breadth of the human experience.
I am 16 years old and have bi-polar. My shrinks have all been sweet enough but closed tracked minds. I was told 'medication forever!' I vowed to come off immediately but I generally take them if I feel particularly awful, under the 'supervision' [hardly- note my sarcasm] of my attentive and ignorant psychiatrist.
The only point to these words is this; if I can meander on, despite being either hurried or slowed by something innate, then heaven has hope for ALL of us :)
At 19, I feebly attempted to cut my throat and at 21, I jumped, quite literally, into a coma and, yes, some times darker things can be tempting; the cool water of the river can hold such appeal etc, but sometimes, I think hope is not even a necessity and patience can be a gift, if we all choose to accept it, to embrace it, or even try it!!
Hope is quite abstract, but I think that it can be coupled with patience!! Maybe if everybody just has faith in their soul?!
The person above, who mentioned the seasons, spoke in truth!! *nods maniaclly* For so many of us, the drawing closer of summer can offer a form of hope, can it not?!
Good luck and love

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Cristina Fender
March, 8 2010 at 10:17 am

I do believe that bipolar is all about choices. You have a choice to take medications. You have a choice to get help. You have a choice to refuse it all.
I choose to believe that my choice is to rise above it. It will take a lot of work. It will take a lot of getting used to side effects from addition medication, but I can do it and I believe my readers can do it, too.
Choice equals faith. It's important to have faith when you're taking the plunge into your recovery.
Take care, Marri.

Clive Wild
February, 25 2010 at 10:51 pm

Cristina and others,
Hope is a strange beast. I often wonder what keeps me going. I put it down to hope. I have been bipolar for about 28 years. I consider myself stable but every day is a struggle in some respect. I wish I had the support system that Cristina talks about. I live alone and hardly ever interact with real people. My family is the online community and I think they keep me going. I have been through a lot of life's problems but I never lost hope. Even so, I still feel that hope is very fragile. I need to step over the edge but I need to know what I expect from it. I worry that I may lose hope if I don't find a purpose in my life. I would say I often go to bed and wake up feeling hopeless. I manage to navigate my way through the day. I feel that hope is more powerful than all the bad feelings. There doesn't have to be a reason for the hope. I feel the need to build a life that is worthy of the hope that I have. Then I may be able to step over the edge.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Cristina Fender
February, 27 2010 at 12:07 am

Hi, Clive,
It's so important to never lose hope, even in the hard times. I think that you've done a great job at it. You've been successful at keeping your demons at bay for a while now. I'm so glad that hope keeps you going. Hope is pushing me over the edge right now. I sure hope I can float!
Thanks for the comment and I hope you visit often.

Monica St. Pierre
February, 24 2010 at 1:56 am

I was told I "may have slight bipolar" while I was in a detox. Ever since my teen yrs I guess I could say I always wanted to escape. My mom was very verbally aggressive is a nice way to put it. She said hurtful things and it was a battle just about every day. I had gone to a dr when I was 19, and was told I had major anxiety and depression. I was put on medication but it didn't hold. I ended up with a major drug addiction and it wasn't like it was one drug, it was anything I could get my hands on. If you had it I would take it. So the first I had heard about being bipolar wasn't in a very good atmosphere and I certaintly wasn't emotionally ready to face anything except for my addiction at the time. After leaving and then continuing to use drugs for about 4 more months I finally - don't ask me what changed but something did and I stopped. January 8th 2007 was the last day I used. After a few months the fog started to clear and again I realized I needed to see a psychiatrist (funny how I kept going back to that) and this new Dr said after he asked me 100 questions he said the same thing the Dr in detox said, he said that I have slight bipolar (to me u either are or aren't no?) and very bad anxiety. And then he medicated me beyond what I needed. So here we are now and we've gotten the medication thing in order but it doesn't go away with medication does it? I thank God have a patient and understanding boyfriend who has been with me thru hell and back quite literally. But still sometimes I drive him crazy. I don't really get manic anymore, like without medication which I may have drove everyone around crazy but I felt so good in that mode I really did it was like a constant adrenaline high but I know its not normal. Then I wouldn't really go down so to say I would become number one *itch. I get irritable and ugh its horrible. Why did the medication take care of the mania but I still get frustrated and irritable and agitated sometimes? I guess those are the things we have to learn to deal with. I just want to be normal I really do.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Cristina Fender
February, 24 2010 at 3:02 am

Congratulations on the sobriety. That's amazing and wonderful! You'll make it. You sound like you have determination and that's a key factor in making it through recovery.
I do wonder about your medication. Is it the right dose for you? Is it the right medicine for you? I'd discuss your concerns with your doctor. Are you on an antipsychotic? That can take away irritation and anger. Anyway, best for you to discuss it with your doctor. You are in charge of your own care.
Good luck and let us know what happens.

February, 23 2010 at 10:30 am

Christina, as a 40 year old bipolar female, diagnosed Oct 2009, I know exactly what you are saying. I, too, have children and reach those 'dark places' where I want to end the pain in the shadows, but know that I am living for them. We need to live for us. Though on mood stabilizers, I have had some hard dips in the past month, and often wonder how the heck can it go on in a life time. I know it's a matter of meds adjustment to reach the most stable point possible. Meanwhile, I'm working on coping skills, one of which is making sure choices are reality based. Whenever you take a plunge, just try to be armed with info. After being hospitalized fall, I immediately started back to college courses in winter thinking that the pills were stabilizing me. The course went south. Fail. The side effects of the drug were slowed cognitive functions (after all, part of the BP symptoms are racing thoughts, so the meds' job is to slow them down). Memory and retention became huge issues. By the time my psychiatrist was able to add another drug to help overcome those issues, I was so backed up in reading and writing assignments, that I couldn't even finish them with a two week extension granted. The point: Once we are stable, or at least feel reasonably confident in taking the next steps to do what we think is necessary, be aware/informed of what influences you have that may either propel you, or possibly bring you to your knees (drug effects, coping strategies, life circumstances, goals, etc.) Make a "pros" and "cons" columns. Know thyself, then plan the plunge. And even if you fall (even 'normal' people fall), have your coping strategies in place. After my fail/fall, I went in the next semester determined not to let BP symptoms overcome my dream. My expectations were more realistic. My motivation is consistent. I learned to know what I didn't know and move forward, with the realization. The result: This class (3rd year), I'm now in my last week with an expected low A for a grade (having had learned to work through my depression).
Sorry about this novelette, but I truly empathize with you, and wanted to share some insights. Hang in there and I wish you and your family best wishes and much success!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Cristina Fender
February, 24 2010 at 2:56 am

Anonymously Inspired,
I think it's important to live for oneself. I'm in the process of getting there. I think it's also important to be realistic about what one can do. Hopes and dreams of a new bipolar me needs to be realistic for it to work. I know all about having to withdraw from classes because I failed and couldn't perform due to bipolar difficulties. I learned that fall is the worst time for me. Springtime is my best time. I'll keep that in mind when I enroll in classes.

Mike Oestreicher
February, 23 2010 at 9:30 am

Dear Christina and Kathy
I am 62 years old and 8 years ago I woke up in the hospital and was told I had tried to kill myself, then I learned I was Bipolar. Not the best way to spend my golden years.
So I curled up in a ball and waited for more crap to come.
My salvation was in my first therapist who was a Forensic Physiologist, meaning he worked with mostly prison populations. He did some consulting on the side and took me on.
He was very good at kicking my butt when it needed kicking and telling me that my future would indeed be different but how different was still up to me.
It is now 8 years later and I have been facilitating a DBSA peer to peer support for 7 years, I am a certified peer Advocate, and took my states training to become a Certified Peer Specialist.
If you want you family to be proud of you then push on, don't let the diagnoses define you, find what you are passionate about and move ahead.
We all find the way the look at our illness that works best for us. For me I look at it this way.
I was born BIPOLAR and I will die bipolar and there is nothing I can do about that , BUT what I do and how I live in between is all up to ME.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Cristina Fender
February, 24 2010 at 2:51 am

Very inspiring, Mike. I think it is up to us to determine how we deal with this difficult disease. I choose to soak up the sun and use that on dark days. Positivity will get you through anything.
I'm so glad you found salvation when you needed it most.

Kathy Hendricks
February, 22 2010 at 10:07 am

My father was diagnosed with Alzhiemer's at the age of 52. He struggled for 12 long years. Guess what? I am 52 and was just diagnosed with bipolar. I have too many things left in my life to accomplish. I have a 2 year old grandson who I need to see play ball, ride a bike, and drive his first car. Please tell me there is hope. I will not put my family through what we all went through with my father.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Cristina Fender
February, 23 2010 at 6:57 am

I want to think that there is hope. Everyone recovers from bipolar differently. Some will go on and have difficulties and some will go on to experience none. I like to think that hope will carry me when I'm feeling low. You have much to look forward to. Hope will carry you, too.

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