A Bipolar Life is a Life Worth Fighting For

I was planning to get a Phd

I had all of these plans and goals and ideas

I’m not planning to anymore.

Because of Bipolar

and some not because of Bipolar

and yet even the reasons that seem to me to not be Bipolar

have been made by Bipolar

so yes

I guess it is all because of Bipolar

there is an example of how Bipolar affects everything….

not just with its symptoms and episodes

but also with what we learn through it…

Because the truth is

I don’t want one anymore

I don’t care about it anymore.

So you see…

I know how hard it would be for me to pull off with the Bipolar


living with Bipolar

has shaped my values and feelings about


and my priorities.

It seems to happen often…..

an illness or health crisis takes a person

all the way down

ushers them all the way to the gates…

until they see and contemplate their own


their own


And then…

the reprieve

the save

maybe a new kidney

the chemo

the triple by pass

or the Xanax Lithium Abilify combo…


just the something else inside

that somehow

drags you


to the


New lease on life

New appreciation for life

Values shift

priorities change

what once mattered…

doesn’t matter anymore

what once didn’t seem to matter…

Matters so very much.

And sometimes when a person lives through immense suffering…

their experience of the mundane…the daily…the small…the routine….

excuse the huge cliche but

the simple things

the little things

become embedded with worth.

Because when you have lived with pain…

and when you know that the pain will be back…




and again.

Then every day…

every moment…

without pain…

becomes precious.

And getting to live in those moments…

and getting to have as many as possible





When you’ve woken up so many mornings in swirling anxiety

when you’ve hated your life

when you’ve hated yourself

when you’ve lost

all joy

all passion

all hope


everything you were and are and had…

and then

you fight

and you get it back…

you want it so much more.

Life is different after that

I am different because of that.

How can you not be different after that?

And after you’ve had those times and days and moments…

making a cup of tea without effort…

looking at the sky and actually

seeing it

listening to music

and actually

hearing it

having someone tell you that they love you

and actually

believing it




Just being able to sit at your kitchen table


your thoughts move forward into the future

whether five minutes from now

or five years

and you DON’T feel


and dread

and a suffocating



dead numb pain

an apathetic torment

but rather




dare I say…happy.

and you can just think to yourself

what should I make for dinner?

and the only thoughts and feelings that come are about food…and what is in the fridge….and what would you like……

NOT a paralyzing swirl of deadly sludge.

I fucking love that.

If I am totally honest…

many of my reasons for wanting to get a Phd

were completely ego based

they came from the desire

to be validated in that way by the world

I wanted to prove something..

prove what?

I don’t know

my brains?

my worth?

To win something so everyone could see how awesome I am?

THAT means Nothing to me anymore…

I left those flimsy desires on the bathroom tiles along with tears.

THEY were eaten by the pain that has permeated my very being…

And I now have




Bipolar is NOT who I am

Bipolar has SHOWN ME




Bipolar has shown me

how strong I



Bipolar has shown me

what is








from this


one life

of mine.

And in this way

what Bipolar has taken from me…

is nothing compared to the


I have wrested from its grasp.

And you know what?

most of the rest of the reasoning I had for wanting a Phd

was about

helping people

and you obviously don’t need to go to school

to learn how to

help people.

So who gives a shit about a Phd

not me

I can’t even find traces of those desires in me.

I guess you could say I got my “Doctorate” degree from Bipolar university…

(although I am obviously “continuing my education”)

I got my degree in

fighting for my life

my health

my happiness

my everything.

And I am more proud of that continual work and accomplishment

than I ever would have been

of a


a Bipolar life

is not only a life…



It is a life





Claya Caper is the voice behind the popular blog, Bipolar First Bipolar Together.  Her writing offers a fresh, raw, honest perspective on Bipolar disorder.  What she calls Real Bipolar.  Claya is dedicated to empowering the Bipolar community as well as others who live with similar conditions (She doesn’t like the word mentally ill!).  You can find Claya at her blog https://bipolarfirst.wordpress.com and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BipolarFirst.  Follow the Butterfly!

5 thoughts on “A Bipolar Life is a Life Worth Fighting For”

  1. This is wonderful! Thank you for writing such an honest and empowering piece. You realize the value of your life, and I wish you the very best in living a fun and fulfilled one.
    I’m not officially diagnosed with bipolar YET, but every screening test I have taken (And those random suicidal mood swings that come almost out of nowhere) shows me that I very likely am.
    I do plan to get my phD but I also realize that it will be a huge challenge, and I might not quite get there.

    Liked by 1 person

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