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Dealing with Disappointment When You’re Bipolar

dealing with disappoinment when you have bipolarDisappointment is harsh when you have bipolar. I have many times said things that are not very nice after finding myself disappointed in something that has happened.

Recently I found myself disappointed that a friend received a monthly radio show to discuss mental illness. I had been on the show a couple of times, and I had hoped to get the same thing myself. I then had to remind myself that it isn’t her fault and that she probably did what I didn’t — stay in touch with the gentleman who was in charge. I only have myself to blame.

Before realizing this, though, I wrote my husband and called her some not-so-nice names. I was disappointed in myself, honestly, but what got to me was something I hadn’t felt in a while: bipolar disappointment.

Many people take disappointment or rejection in stride. Some of us with bipolar feel disappointment much more strongly. It feels as if the world is coming to an end. Now I know what is happening and I can stop myself from making too big of a deal out of a situation. Medication has helped me control my feelings of disappointment.

Here are a couple of examples of things that lead to disappointment for me:

One time I had made plans with my husband to go to Chicago with friends for a weekend. It was winter, but only living two hours from the city, it wasn’t a terrible idea because of the time of year.

It seemed like everything would go off without a problem. The sitter was booked. The room was booked. The outfits had been picked out. I was ready to go.

When I woke up the next morning, we had gotten almost 10 inches of snow. My husband put his foot down. He was not driving in the storm to get to Chicago. As an adult, I know now he made the right choice. The roads were dangerous. However, in my disappointment before medication, I slammed plates against the wall, screamed at the top of my lungs, and stomped my feet. I couldn’t control it. I was devastated. I thought he was the one not letting us attend this weekend with our friends. I cried for hours. He just let me do so.

I had just been diagnosed with bipolar. I wasn’t aware of this symptom yet. I look back at this and think, did I really throw a grown-up temper tantrum?

Many years later, after I learned all about my disappointment issues, I auditioned for a play. I was sure I was great during the auditions. I was shocked I didn’t get the part. Once again the feeling of devastation took over. I cried and cried for hours. I couldn’t understand why I didn’t make it. I was so good, I thought. The disappointment was about all I could take. I decided at that point I would not audition for any other productions. The disappointment was too high.

Most of my disappointment issues are under control now. Obviously they are not completely gone. I find anything that someone might be better at than I to be a source of disappointment.

I have been staying on my recovery plan and I have been compliant. I think that sometimes life is just going to hit me differently than it does other people. I am always going to struggle more than most people when it comes to disappointment. I can’t help the way that it hits me. I can only control what comes out of my mouth when it does. I have to choose not to be overcome with my emotions when it comes to disappointment. I have to choose to recognize my faults in things, or realize that people are not out to get me.


Dealing with Disappointment When You’re Bipolar

Tosha Maaks

Tosha Maaks is a wife and mother of four teenage boys. She is living with bipolar disorder and ADHD along with generalized anxiety. Just when she thinks she has it all figured out she realizes that she never truly will. She writes about her life in the here and now as it is happening and her past with the episodes that have left the most lasting impressions. At only 38, and after 18 years of marriage she and her family support team work together diligently to make the most out of life.

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APA Reference
Maaks, T. (2018). Dealing with Disappointment When You’re Bipolar. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 2, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 15 Jun 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
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