6 Lies That Bipolar Tells Us—Debunked

Last Updated: 4 Mar 2020

Both depression and mania can be master manipulators—playing tricks on our mind, convincing us to believe things that just aren’t true. Whether it’s challenging the negative thought loops or recognizing the patterns of fabrications in how we perceive the world around us, simply being aware of the fact that we can’t always believe everything we think can help keep us on track.

A man is being scolded by his own shadow. A man seen in profile stands with his arms down, looking straight ahead, to the left of the image. Behind him on the wall, his shadow is turning toward him, scolding him, and pointing its finger in his face.

Lie #1: “I’m not deserving of love”

When we are in an unstable period and grappling with extreme mood shifts, our thoughts have a habit of turning on us. The nature of bipolar can contribute to bouts of unworthiness and low self-esteem, with a constant refrain of thinking we aren’t deserving of love. When we accept the diagnosis and make caring for ourselves a priority, we can learn to love ourselves and not buy into this common misbelief.

Lie #2: “I’ll never have a healthy, fulfilling relationship”

Some of us may have experienced a painful break-up, or more than one, which was then followed by us believing—thanks to bipolar’s manipulation—that we’ll never have a loving commitment again. This is not true. The first and most important step is to come to terms with the diagnosis, then realize that with a proper management and treatment plan, a regular and stable life (and relationship!) is possible.

Lie #3: “I am flawed”

First of all, bipolar is not a defect or a sign of emotional instability. It is a brain-based mood disorder that can be managed with proper treatment. Scan through the myriad articles and first-person accounts on bphope and you’ll readily find others who have identified their own benefits of bipolar. Yes, benefits. Being creative, empathetic, and sensitive, embracing a natural go-getter mind-set, and having a zest for life are all great attributes.

Lie #4: “I’m better, so I don’t need my medication”

We often believe this when we don’t entirely accept or understand our diagnosis. It may feel easier to deny the bipolar than to come to terms with living with a mood disorder, especially if self-stigma is an issue. The truth is that any life trigger can risk our stability, so adhering to a prescribed medication or treatment plan is a crucial part of managing bipolar and maintaining that “better” feeling.

Lie #5: “I’ll never feel happy again”

It’s common to believe that the pain we feel while in a depressive episode is permanent. At that time, it can be difficult to imagine that the dark veil will ever lift. But, as we know, the illusion of permanence is just that: an illusion. While finding the lightness that comes with stability after a depressive episode may take longer than we had hoped, realizing that bipolar depression is a temporary state can make it more bearable to endure.

Lie #6: “I don’t need sleep”

This is misbelief is especially common when we’re in a hypomanic or manic state. We fall for the falsehood that when we’re feeling productive, getting sleep is a waste of valuable time. In fact, during these times, it’s critical to remember that a regular sleep schedule can regulate our wellness. One of the best rules is to go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning—seven days a week.

  1. I find the hardest part of being Bipolar is that all my adult children see me as irresponsible and annoying to be around. ?They say I’m too loud, I open my mouth prior to thinking my sentences through, and I just feel sorry for myself instead of just snapping out of my depression. If not for my current husband being empathetic to my disorder I’m sure I would have taken my life years ago. I always read things like this telling me to stop thinking that everyone doesn’t like me. What about when it actually is the truth? Not in my head, but actually factual. I have ZERO friends apart from my husband.

  2. I’m usually not a big fan of article with lists but this one was very helpful and insightful. So many things on that list hit a chord with me. I can never be reminded enough!

    Thank u


  3. Marzena, please DO NOT feel that way. You have bipolar and THAT IS OKAY. Yes, it is hard and at times you will be in a different place than your best friend, significant other or family member. But, that is also okay as it is NOT your fault that you have this disorder. If you, on a good span with bipolar, reach out to that best friend, significant other or family member and let them know what goes on at times when you are depressed or manic, then they will certainly understand and hopefully try to help you. And, hopefully will get to understand what it is you are exactly going through and if you need EXTRA help, can help you to get it. It is understandable what you are going through in these different stages and you need to explain THAT to them so they understand too. It is not easy but you CAN DO IT. Keep that mantra that YOU CAN DO IT AND YOU WILL GET THROUGH IT!!! Please try to get someone you love and trust to be your “sponsor” so to speak so that if there is no one else THAT person will truly understand. You need this to help you during those uncertain times. You sound very depressed and I think you need to let your doctor know just how depressed you feel. It is important. PLEASE do that and take care of yourself so you can take care of your child/children too. I will pray for you.

    1. Thank you /I only just found your reply .It is lovely that you wrote .I havn’t seen my psychiatrist since February .I live on a small island and help for mental illness is practically unavailable here .I am not sure if people who are around us need to be burdened with knowledge regarding our episodes .Why would they want to know what I am going through ? Everybody has own issues and challenges and we are ultimately on our own .I am not sure if I am still depressed .I am realistic .I see things for what they are .No dose of lithium will change this .There are virtually no people in my life apart from my two young children .I had done well to put everybody off .But maybe its not bad news ? I don’t have to invest my energy into conditionally “loving ” humans .I adopted Romanian rescue dog in June and I stopped feeling urge to connect with people .Thank you for your kindness ,prayers ( I wish I believed in God ,it must feel good ?) and wishes .

  4. Although I agree that depression is a big liar… I can’t shake the feeling that nothing will ever get better. I have been depressed for so long that I don’t know how to feel any other way. Oh I have tried…. but it just keeps coming back. I’ve taken every medication available and it keeps coming back. Maybe this is just who I am. But if it is….. thos is a crumby way to live. I wish the area I lived had actual person to person peer groups or some sort of help but all I can do and rely on are articles like this. So thank you for your articles. They do help a little sometimes.

    1. I’m not sure if you are into church or religion, but often time the churches will have groups that you can attend with people who are kind and understanding. I have found in a church in my area that has a lot of nice people and go to a class called Emotionally healthy spirituality, they are very supportive not only to the religious side, but as human beings as well. It’s nice to find solid people who actually care that will talk with you about so much in life. Also it’s nice to get out and think about things that don’t make me feel depressed. It’s a tough cycle to break, I know exactly how you feel my friend.

      1. Frank, how I envy that you have a welcoming congregation. (Oops, look at me, I’ve sinned already because I ‘envy’ you.).

        Not everyone has such a church with a welcoming congregation. The way you presented the concept of church being ‘THE’ Answer, can be misleading and hurtful, in my humble opinion.. that said, yes, I do go to church. I’ve also been let down by the churches I’ve attended. About 1 year after my best friend of 34 years died (at Christmas!), I reached out to our new pastor. I had been searching for a good therapist for a couple years, with no results. Thus the reason I reached out to our Pastor. That was over 1 year ago, & I’m still waiting…. & waiting……no response.. Quite interesting, a few weeks ago during his sermon he admitted to our congregation that he didn’t have ‘empathy’. He went on to explain that he looked up the definition & realized he is lacking EMPATHY. How does one get to be a Pastor & NOT have empathy?! Now I know the reason he never followed up with me… and there has been another occasion where he brushed me off.
        I do like our congregation but it is rather small, as many have either moved or died. It’s hard making friends, as everyone else has their own families and lives.

        One of the reasons I joined church is for fellowship….. unfortunately there is no one I could really talk with…. and believe me, I’ve. tried to reach out to several people. Now there is one woman who has befriended me. She & hubby are good people, but she also has a big gossipy mouth & admits to being nosy. So I can’t discuss anything personal with her. No confidentiality.

        The prior church I attended sent me a letter one day stating that they felt I “Should be paying MORE tithes”. They knew nothing about me or my financial situation. Needless to say I never returned.

        I just want to warn people not to believe that ALL churches are THE answer. Shop around.

    2. Jon, I understand where you are at in this struggle. I have felt this way since I was 5-6yrs old and I just can’t escape it. The only place that I can find people who truly understand is when I admit myself to impatient care.

      1. Janelle,
        Your last sentence really resonated with me. I didn’t even realize how true until I read your words. I haven’t been inpatient for almost 10 years, but sometimes, I find myself oddly longing to return. For me, that setting feels safest. Without having to exchange any words with others there, it’s a sigh of relief. It’s an instant family. But w/unconditional love we all long for but is difficult to find.
        All Love, Tina

  5. Alll of the articles that I get from bphope are wonderful. My husband has bipolar 2 disorder and has had 2 manic attacks and one depressive attack that all put him in the hospital. One I had to to have him committed, which was the hardest thing I ever had to do. That said, I only wish that my husband would read your articles too. They all make sense to me and he has struggled with most of them. The first paragraph and the last especially are what he suffers from. But, you could try to talk to him about it and he just dismisses it all, saying he does not need all of that. It is very hard and I have been dealing with it for the 31 years we have been married. He was “formally” diagnosed with it when he was 62. He is 68 now. I will be 60 in May. I like to read all of what is sent to me because it helps ME to understand more and then try to help him. Thank you very much for all of your articles.

    1. I also had to deal with my husband’s mania in his 60. It was definitely the turning point when my Mom passed. The details are horrific and finally, after convincing him to get the help he was hospitalized. He has had multiple medication changes which all come with horrible side effects. I cannot imagine what he has to deal with on a daily basis but since his stroke now it is even more difficult with processing. He can’t concentrate when reading and then trying to understand that ‘s a whole different story. 39 years married in my 60 and wondering when things are going to get better.

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