I have bipolar disorder.

I am constantly challenged by my own intense emotions.

I feel everything you feel . . . times a thousand.

The good, the bad, and the ugly . . . times a thousand.

The loneliness and depression can be devastating, and the endless and exhausting struggle to cope, pure torture.

The statistics confirm it. One out of every five people afflicted with bipolar disorder successfully takes their own life.

My life consists of agitated anxious thinking and tormented isolation, with brief intermittent bursts of joy.

Even the happiness is heartbreaking. So erratic. And fleeting.

When I feel a joyous moment, I try to grab hold of it and capture it like a lightning bug in a jar. I embrace it. I consume it and feed it to my hungry heart. I am a quiet little hoarder of happiness.

Because I don’t know when I’ll see another lightning bug again.

Maybe never.

When most of you meet new people, you get to know them and then you judge whether or not to trust them and let them into your heart.

I do the opposite.

I take people at face value, and after a quick scan of my instincts, I pretty much let everyone in. And then I judge, as they prove dramatic, unstable, or hurtful, which ones are unhealthy for me.

It’s an awful way to live, but I’ve tried being careful and guarded, and it’s just not my nature.

I love quickly and with a wide open heart.

I view everyone as being unique and magnificent, and I let them come in, and I celebrate them loudly. That’s how I am.

But I forget.

I forget that people don’t always say what they mean. And sometimes they’ll say what they mean all day long until you need them to, and then they won’t. People are funny like that.

I also forget that people misuse the word “love”, and when they hug me and say it, they mean it casually like, “It’s been nice to see you”. They don’t really love me.

And I forget that people don’t feel as intensely as I do.

And when I am reminded, it breaks my heart.

I am a constant victim . . . of my own brain.

So I strive to make better choices about people. Who I let in. Who I believe. And trust. And love.

And when I get hurt, as surely I will, because I will always love quickly and hugely, I will take the hit to my heart, lick my wounds, adjust, and then get right back out into the world.

But I will remember this pain.

For a little while anyway.

And then I’ll forget again.

Because that’s just my nature.

I love quickly. And I have a terrible memory. Sheesh.

The irony is, that as sensitive as I am . . .

I am as strong as you are . . .  times a thousand.

We bipolars are funny that way.


(Read, “Being Bipolar” at:

Categories: Bipolar/Depression, Friends, Inspiration/Motivation, Kindness & Compassion, Mental Health, Suicide | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

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21 thoughts on “SENSITIVE STEEL

  1. jeff heck

    Thanks, Jules 🙂


  2. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  3. Lynn Gardner

    “Hoarder of happiness” wow, did that get to me. Thanks Julia, you most certainly will help many people even those you think are well balanced. xoxo

  4. Oh, goodness, Julia, this is incredibly powerful–especially to me! So many people have NO idea what it means to be a victim to your own mind. It’s the ultimate confusion, the ultimate loss, pain, potential defeat. And yet that defeat is almost always “potential,” as yes, we are also strong–strong in our ability to wrestle our own brains, ultimately to cooperate and partner with us in victory.

    Hugs from Ecuador,

  5. You are stronger by one thousand because you are able to tell people how you feel. It is one of the things that I admire the most about you, your honesty.

    • I don’t know if you still mean this, Kim, but thank you. Honesty can turn right around and bite you in the butt. And other times, it’s like spittin’ in the wind. But it is what it is, ‘eh? I thank you for reading and for all of your support. Take care. xoJulia

  6. Barbara Musselwhite

    How strong you must be to share your true feelings and thoughts. This helps so many people realize the things you go thru every day. It opens so many eyes to things we take for granted. I admire you for sharing.

    • Thank you so very much, Barbara. I don’t think of it as being strong….it’s more like the purging of experiences and emotional hurts. But I share it in hopes that someone will understand a loved one better. Thanks for reading and leaving me a note! I really appreciate it! xoJulia

  7. You always speak from your heart! I really look forward to reading your posts 🙂

  8. May your jar always be full of lightning bugs!

    • What a delightful thing to say! Thank you so much Patti! You and your words are just some of the little happiness I hoard. Thank you. xoJulia

  9. After just last Friday being diagnosed with depression and anxiety (the anxiety part I always knew), and just beginning my journey to healing, these words you’ve so perfectly penned describe me to a T. In the words of a very insightful being…..”you are braver than you believe…stronger than you seem…and smarter than you think.” I admire you, Julia. xo

    • From my heart to yours, dear Robin. I can’t begin to express how much your words mean to me. I am too often filled with doubt about my abilities to communicate effectively and edit myself sufficiently….let alone trying to explain the whole bipolar experience. And of course, the second after I post, I doubt the whole darn thing! Thank you so much! I can’t wait to meet you . . . because I already admire you too! xoJulia

  10. ethel carver

    Julia, you write SO WELL!!!!!

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