How do I know what’s real?

Some of us are perfectly content with normal life. And some of us feel like we’re destined for more. But how do I know if that feeling isn’t the bipolar talking? Do people other than me actually feel that way? Or is it the delusions of grandeur that come along with the manias putting ideas in my head?

Can I even trust what I think? I don’t know what other people with bipolar go through, but I swear, I question every thought, every feeling. Are the genuine? Or are they the product of the disorder? I talked a bit a few weeks ago about negative thoughts and understand that they aren’t real, but can’t the same be said of positive thoughts? Of positive feelings? How do we know what’s real and what’s not?

It’s exhausting going through every day questioning everything that goes on in your head. The paranoia that comes from it is brutal. It makes you question all of your decisions – did I make this decision based on good information or was it a mild delusion? It makes you question all of your feelings – is this a normal feeling for this situation or is this not the proper reaction?

It’s no wonder I have anxiety. I question everything, second guess everything, worry about everything. I’m just so tired.

Things like this make me think I need to be back in therapy. It’s like having an existential crisis every day.

Maybe, though, these kinds of questions are a good thing. It means I can recognize that the disorder can put thoughts into your head. That it can create realities that just don’t exist.

I don’t know anymore. I feel like inside of my head is an interesting and exhausting place to be. On some level I wish it wasn’t like this – I wish it was easier.

Depression, anxiety, and the job search

And we’ve now reached the portion of the game where a touch of depression rears it’s ugly head and causes me to question all of the decisions I’ve made.

The theme this week is should I have gone back to get my Masters? Was it really worth the time and the money? Am I going to be able to get a job?

On some level, I realize that that’s the anxiety and depression talking. It’s normal to question decisions, especially decisions that will affect the rest of your life.

But I also realize that I had to do something – I couldn’t continue to work in my current job if we wanted to have kids, if I wanted to work a normal 9-5 schedule, if I didn’t want to have to be at work at 4 AM on a regular basis. I didn’t have a lot of options. Going back to school and getting the MBA seemed like one of the only viable ones. I don’t regret it. I know that with enough effort I’ll find a job and will get started down a new career path.

It can be hard, though, when you get into these mindsets to not start questioning everything or to not start doubting yourself and everything that you’ve done. The trick is to think past it, to realize that not only is this the illness talking – the part of you that skews your thinking into negative pathways – but also that everyone goes through this, even those that are neurotypical. It’s normal when coming to the cusp of your life where everything changes, to wonder if you’re doing the right thing. Or if you made the right decision. It’s normal to overanalyze and stress and worry. But if you’ve got that underlying mental illness, these same normal things can start a cascade that’s hard to stop.

Don’t let that cascade start.

You have to believe that you made the right decision. You have to believe that you’ll land on your feet. You can’t let the negative thinking slow you down or stop you from doing something, especially something new. If you do you’ll be sitting in the same place in ten years that you are now wondering why you didn’t do more with your life, why you never took risks. I don’t want to be that person. I want to look back on my life someday and see that I challenged myself, didn’t let myself sit idly by and let opportunities pass by. I want to tell my kids and grandkids how I took life by the balls and didn’t sit back and expect things to happen to me – I made them happen myself.