Bipolar and Revolving Self-Image

January 27, 2011 Natasha Tracy

I think I’m pretty great as a general rule. I’m kind, caring, intelligent, creative, talented, sexy, witty and a bunch of other stuff. Not particularly greater than anyone else, just the normal amount of great.

Except for when I’m not, of course. Except for when I'm darkness sliced from evil. Except for when my slithering existence requires extinguishing. Then, I’m not so great.

Bipolar Depression and Self-Image

I spend most of my time depressed. Bipolar type II is like that. It’s more of a depressive disorder than anything else. And depression does not make you feel good about yourself. Nope. Depression finds any flaw, real or imagined, and beats you about the ears, nose and throat with it. (Of course, the flaw could be your ears, nose or throat, in that case, double-whammy.)

Depression isn’t just about sadness; it’s about how you look at everything. Yes, I’m sad when I look out the window, but I’m also sad when I look in the mirror. All the little misfirings of my brain convince me that I’m evil and bad and ugly and stupid. And these are the things that drive people to commit suicide. Sure, there’s the pain of depression, but you have to not like yourself rather a lot to end your life.

Depressed, you are less than everyone else.

Bipolar Hypomania and Self-Image

To no one’s great surprise, hypomania is the opposite. Where before I was hideous, evil incarnate, now I’m a gorgeous, genius that people would be fools not to like, love and adore. Everyone wants me or wants to be me.

Hypomanic, you are more than everyone else.


Bipolar and Self-Image

Naturally, neither of these extremes are true. I’m neither evil nor perfect, gorgeous nor hideous, genius nor stupid. I’m just floating around in the middle somewhere like everyone else. And due to my propensity for logic, I can tell you a list of things that I am based on the feedback I get from others regardless as to whether I feel it’s true or not.

But rarely do I actually see myself as other people do. I tend to deny compliments and take insults to heart. It feeds my disease more that way. Yup, I can say an insult isn’t true, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t feel true.

Lying About Self-Image

But what I learned a long time ago is this: it doesn’t matter what you feel, only what you espouse. So if I know someone thinks I’m beautiful I don’t deny that and I admit to that idea, whether I believe in it or not. Because if you keep telling people you aren’t beautiful, eventually they’ll believe you no matter what they once thought. Repetition has that kind of power.

I’m not suggesting other people lie; I’m just saying that I do.

Believing in Self-Image

Sure, it would be nicer if I believed all the nice stuff, but that just isn’t very likely. I have glimpses of belief, here and there, but that’s about as good as it gets. My bipolar brain is simply more prone to believing in extremes than to believing in reality – no matter what my mind tells it.

You can find Natasha Tracy on Facebook or @Natasha_Tracy on Twitter.

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2011, January 27). Bipolar and Revolving Self-Image, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate, and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar. She's also the host of the podcast Snap Out of It! The Mental Illness in the Workplace Podcast.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar BurbleTwitter, InstagramFacebook, and YouTube.

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April, 19 2012 at 6:16 am

[...] feeling desirable.For the last few years, I’ve chosen to be celibate in order to separate my emotional vulnerability from sexual activity, so I was happy to contemplate an attraction with Erik that was genuine and [...]

May, 5 2015 at 3:12 am

I agree with Natasha's comment
" My bipolar brain is simply more prone to believing in extremes than to believing in reality – no matter what my mind tells it."
Reality is a such a subjective matter. It's hard to take realistic objective view of one's self when you feel so damaged...
I think it goes without saying that self esteem contributes to a persons image of themselves for good or bad and the stigma of mental illness has a way of corroding that self esteem further 'til there's almost nothing left
Another thing, if a person was belittled constantly like I was growing up their self esteem can be rather fragile at best. So I try to surround myself with positive people instead of assholes who prey on people's insecurities...

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