Surviving summer with bipolar. 

Anyone else struggling to keep up with their social life this summer?!  

I love summer. Lighter evenings, longer days, warmer weather, summer dresses, sunkissed skin. Generally speaking, as seems to be common with most people I speak to –  when the sun is out, I’m in a better mood.  

However, I find the summer months to be an immense struggle – gatherings, beach days, pool days, BBQ, all of a sudden my social life is quite busy! The lighter evenings and longer days meant more time counting down the hours until it was dark enough to go to sleep, it’s exhausting! 

The warmer weather meant more plans to try and not cancel last minute and, as a result, more excuses to make up. I sometimes can’t even muster up the enthusiasm to decide what to wear each day. 

Perhaps it’s all  little easier to understand in the winter. It’s dark, it’s cold, most people are spending evenings at home not really doing much. If I was having a particularly bad day/week/month, it didn’t feel so wrong to get home from work, change into my pyjamas and stay indoors. Yet when summer rolled around, it seemed as though everyone was out and about having the ‘best time ever’.  

And then there I was, struggling to keep up.  

For someone suffering from a mental illness, it can be difficult to watch those around you enjoying themselves. I’d mute group chats so as not to be met with the constant plans. “But it’s such a nice day…” people would say, “you should get out the house, it might cheer you up.” 

A nice walk on a sunny afternoon might do wonders if I’m just having an ‘off day’, but this is so much more than just an ‘off day’, and a sunny afternoon isn’t a cure. Bipolar and anxiety don’t care about the weather, your weekend plans, or the birthday coming up that you’d do anything to be able to enjoy. It doesn’t think to itself, “summer is here, time for me to disappear for the next few months.” That isn’t how it works. 

I’m in the fortunate position of having friends I could be honest with. Friends who would still keep inviting me to things ‘in case I felt up to it’ and didn’t judge me when I stopped replying to messages for days or weeks on end. They’d suggest shorter periods of socialising that felt a lot less daunting, and remind me that they were still around if and when I felt up to going out. They know I don’t like to go out late at night so try to meet up early in the evening. Real friends do this! 

This summerI am trying to take each day as it comes and enjoy the good days while they last, I think my own experience has also made me more aware of how others might be feeling, and I’d encourage anyone who thinks a friend might be struggling to try to understand and have a little patience.  

I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you try to keep up with surviving summer, email me or follow me on Facebook @mswillowbipolar 

Lots of love,
Ms Bipolar x  

A Bipolar Diagnosis: It’s not a death sentence!

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