Feeling Like You Don't Belong Here: The Bipolar Question of the Week

John McManamy Health Guide
  • Actually, this is the bipolar question of the month. For a number of years, we ran a question of the week. Now is a good time to revive this feature …   The question concerns the sense of disconnect most of us tend to feel in our lives. People invariably describe this in terms of being an...

    Add This Infographic to Your Website or Blog With This Code:
Published On: February 05, 2016
12 Comments
  • teaddy
    Mar. 12, 2017
    For as long as I can remember I've felt like an outsider. I was never any good with making friends or doing things that others my age where interested in. I have always been hyperintuitive and hypersensitive making it difficult to reconcile with the injustices of the world. My extreme sympathy and empathy for others often made me one others relied on for emotional...
    RHMLucky777
    Read More
    For as long as I can remember I've felt like an outsider. I was never any good with making friends or doing things that others my age where interested in. I have always been hyperintuitive and hypersensitive making it difficult to reconcile with the injustices of the world. My extreme sympathy and empathy for others often made me one others relied on for emotional support often making me feel taken advantage of when my feelings weren't honored by those I had gone out of my way for. Perfectionist parents didn't create an environment where confidence opposed to acceptance were nurtured. To cope I have become aggressive opposed to assertive and overly introverted. I am now trying to learn to better communicate and attempt to repair relationships that were affected.
  • col123lie
    Oct. 08, 2016
    When I was depressed everyone seemed different from me. Everyone else walked with purpose, enjoyed the breeze, had beautiful children seemed, so happy. Me?. ....using it as a verb: othered, alone.
    • Lholmes11
      Oct. 08, 2016
      Yes, the power of speaking the truth to yourself is amazing. I FEEL those same exact feelings. I am an alien. Everyone else gas it together, everyone is judging me, everyone is happy, thriving, organized, blah , blah...then they get in their shiny black mercedez and pop a pill just like we do!!! LOL remember this always!!! Everyone is fighting a battle!!!!!...
      RHMLucky777
      Read More
      Yes, the power of speaking the truth to yourself is amazing. I FEEL those same exact feelings. I am an alien. Everyone else gas it together, everyone is judging me, everyone is happy, thriving, organized, blah , blah...then they get in their shiny black mercedez and pop a pill just like we do!!! LOL remember this always!!! Everyone is fighting a battle!!!!! It is important to take deep breaths, smile, take a shower, yes take thst shower, go for that walk, and remind yourself what an amazing person you are.
  • Happy
    Aug. 04, 2016
    I have felt that feeling of not belonging throughout high school. I felt that I am just different from everybody else. everyone else seemed to get it but I was just there. I mainly felt this socially. today I am working on with the help of therapy, my psychiatrist, meds, a 12 step group... but most importantly, G-d. G-d has shown me time after time that HE...
    RHMLucky777
    Read More
    I have felt that feeling of not belonging throughout high school. I felt that I am just different from everybody else. everyone else seemed to get it but I was just there. I mainly felt this socially. today I am working on with the help of therapy, my psychiatrist, meds, a 12 step group... but most importantly, G-d. G-d has shown me time after time that HE is in charge and that I am a part of him and that when I connect to HIM, I am doing much better and feeling part of things. Every so often (this can be multiple times a day, hour or minute) I remind myself that G-d is with me and holding my hand, that helps me feel grounded which helps me feel like I belong in my surroundings. I believe that for me, having bipolar has been a very spiritual journey and will continue to be. With the help of all my resources and G-d, I will continue to live a serene life. May you all find your path to healing
  • JeffreyA.F.Fenton
    Jun. 22, 2016
    I believe this question or belief depending on its depth, comes from the very early feeling that no one understands me. Which becomes I'm not like everyone else. Followed by if everyone is human then what am I. Followed then by the addition of the word and it's meaning of alien to this thought processes and it's not a far leap to I'm not of this planet.
  • leila
    May. 16, 2016
    I feel disconnected as a way of being from earliest childhood. I was born .. like a cuckoo in the nest at home and the world. I never felt envious or angry about this . I HAVE tried 1000+ times to fit in, socialize etc, yet always end up without the bonds that make up those of 'normals'. The failure in this is depressing so I attempt it less and less and now...
    RHMLucky777
    Read More
    I feel disconnected as a way of being from earliest childhood. I was born .. like a cuckoo in the nest at home and the world. I never felt envious or angry about this . I HAVE tried 1000+ times to fit in, socialize etc, yet always end up without the bonds that make up those of 'normals'. The failure in this is depressing so I attempt it less and less and now am almost totally isolated and live alone with no 'bestie' only a dog. Self knowledge ? Either I am too keen too generous etc and frighten the generally suspicious 'normals' or maybe I come over as too deep and too perceptive having 58 yrs of isolated study of books on the human condition and of Life as it swirled around me... I come across I guess as just too much. Also I suspect I dont read the signals of normal social intercourse correctly. Am I sad about this? Sometimes. I am a warm person who loves warm people, socializing , family connections.. I feel like a tramp looking in through a restaurant window where many people are eating and talking and laughing and LIVING MY LIFE but I can't get in past the maitre d' . I think maybe 'normals' don't think much about "why am I here?" etc It's as if they are in constant denial of the whole weird issue of how humans are part angel/part animal. It is very confronting. I expect bipolar people are much more comfortable in dealing with the deep realities because our mood swings don't allow us a choice... as we grow up and decide we need to 'manage' them as much as possible we need to also 'edit' what insights come to us and which we can safely share. Disconnect is also an issue because even the medical world knows so little about our illness and so one is isolated from ones own doctor. An it is scary feeling that one is somehow judged and never actually taken seriously because the doctor 'knows' you are mad - you have fitted the symptomology for the bipolar diagnosis afterall...so why would he/she trust your self-evaluation... And it is finally a sad isolating thing that we have all at some time seen a crazy person on the street or in the park or in the hospital waiting room and said to ourselves a couple of things; " Dear God don't ever let me get so bad, so lost, so alone, so vulnerable." and secondly as we watch the person talking rapidly and aloud to no one in particular, shaking and pacing looking no one in the eye then suddenly moving into someone's personal space and talking at them - seeing the fear engendered in that someone's eyes. And we know it deep from the depths of our soul that this person is in a major manic phase and God help them when they finally hit the wall and spiral into depression. The funny thing about alot of bipolar isolation is that it comes back to a society that values conformity above individuality. In normal society it is not about who you are but what you do for a living and what this buys you. Are you a good consumerist conformist ? - well welcome to society. So the isolation has 2 sources; us and them. It ought not to degenerate into an internal struggle where we poison our souls with regret Perhaps the bipolar goal should be one where we manage our moods. As we age and learn how they operate, what tips them off, what tones them down or tunes us up always seeking a 'median' but not beating up on ourselves if the energy is too strong...as we age at least we ought to be able to be conscious of what our brain is up too, see the signs and take some precautionary action for our own safety and greater peace of mind. But how do we find relationship and then live successfully within a relationship? I have to tell you I haven't yet discovered the magic that makes this dream come true. I shan't give up being open to this...
    • Donna-1
      May. 18, 2016
      My own "most important relationship" is with myself. Not in a self-centered or narcissistic way, but as a way of knowing I need to take care of myself, love myself, be as generous and kind to myself as I am to others. In the past I tended to disregard the interconnectedness of lives I come in contact with every day. As if we are all separate beings, each on...
      RHMLucky777
      Read More
      My own "most important relationship" is with myself. Not in a self-centered or narcissistic way, but as a way of knowing I need to take care of myself, love myself, be as generous and kind to myself as I am to others. In the past I tended to disregard the interconnectedness of lives I come in contact with every day. As if we are all separate beings, each on his or her own personal GPS coordinates, reachable by phone, text, email, voicemail, and even face-to-face! Or we can choose to disconnect. Once, I got so frustrated I flushed my cell phone down the toilet, went out and bought another phone just like it, and had the number changed. Doesn't make much sense when you pause to think about it, does it? But the act was important at the time -- I had the power to shelter myself from too much noise, stress, and distraction. So much to learn in this life, and so little time. I wish I could learn the hard lessons a little faster. I wish I could fight a little harder. I wish I could remember that article I read on PubMed last year that seemed to have the answer for everything! But I probably forgot it because it really didn't have all the answers. It's just nice to fantasize about magic wands and cure-alls, whether those are relationships, medications, meditations, diet & exercise, spirituality, or the latest homeopathic product. For me it is more a matter of choosing not to stand still OR run for cover OR metaphorically hit someone else over the head to get them to pay attention to me. It is choosing to stand back, take a good look, evaluate my thoughts and feelings, wait a while instead of acting on impulse, and daring to take that next step forward.
  • Ness
    Mar. 17, 2016
    I feel "disconnected" a lot but particularly when Ive switched into a depressive episode. I wonder if this feeling comes from having bipolar and things being skewed around in my brain because I don't feel disconnected when I'm well. It's difficult for me to know because I switch in and out of mood states still, just not as rapidly and not as intensly as I once...
    RHMLucky777
    Read More
    I feel "disconnected" a lot but particularly when Ive switched into a depressive episode. I wonder if this feeling comes from having bipolar and things being skewed around in my brain because I don't feel disconnected when I'm well. It's difficult for me to know because I switch in and out of mood states still, just not as rapidly and not as intensly as I once did. Medication has helped with that. I also think that the feeling of "disconnect" stems from my childhood. I was never ok in myself and never given any affirmations that possibley would of corrected it. I don't blame anyone for this, I know my parents did there best. But no one ever said "I'm proud of you", "I love you", "you did well", ". There was never anything positive said and I think that because of the person I am I needed that validation, I needed to know that I was ok, that I was loved , that I was important, that I was a valued member of the family and that I was accepted for all my idiosyncracies oddness and sensitivity. Maybe that would of helped me to feel connected, but then maybe nothing would of helped and the "disconnect" I feel is just bipolar me.
    • Lholmes11
      Oct. 08, 2016
      Its as though reality is thrown out the door. You cant decipher what is real and what isnt.
  • knowthyself
    Mar. 02, 2016
    John, could this be explained by a perceived difference? Everyone has intimate self knowledge and are prone to compare themselves to others. We, those that suffer from a mental illness become self conscious about our illness and its acceptance by society. What we do not often take into consideration is how others function or their individual problems. We cannot...
    RHMLucky777
    Read More
    John, could this be explained by a perceived difference? Everyone has intimate self knowledge and are prone to compare themselves to others. We, those that suffer from a mental illness become self conscious about our illness and its acceptance by society. What we do not often take into consideration is how others function or their individual problems. We cannot see that by mere perception and they cannot see into our psyches but it may feel that way. So, some tend to compare by the imagined qualities of others and when looking at ourselves we tend to focus on the more negative aspects of ourselves. Comparison, when it comes to ourselves and others, is totally inaccurate. There are too many variables to consider and you really cannot form an opinion or make any judgment that is realistic. Your feeling of difference, that makes you an outsider, only comes from your perspective of yourself compared to others. Are we different? Should we let perceived differences govern the way we feel about our self or others? Comparison is a bad tool to assess our position with others by. You will make yourself and outsider, find no place to feel at home and even entertain you are not from this planet.
  • Bubbles
    Feb. 26, 2016
    I think I tend to "leave my body" when I hit my max stress level. Sadly, this level can easily be reached. My cup is at about 90% full on a good day
    • Donna-1
      May. 18, 2016
      A therapist once reminded me we all have different sized glasses, too. My sister has a glass that holds about 32 oz, while mine holds maybe 10. What is a full life to me only seems like a third of a life to her. That's okay. It's also true that I often feel my life is too full of chaos and hurt, and too empty of trust and contentment. It's tempting to keep...
      RHMLucky777
      Read More
      A therapist once reminded me we all have different sized glasses, too. My sister has a glass that holds about 32 oz, while mine holds maybe 10. What is a full life to me only seems like a third of a life to her. That's okay. It's also true that I often feel my life is too full of chaos and hurt, and too empty of trust and contentment. It's tempting to keep comparing what my life holds with what my sister's life holds, and to keep thinking mine comes up short. I also believe the size of my own glass varies from day to day. My glass is always full of something -- maybe elation and delusions of grandeur, maybe plans to disappear, maybe confusion, maybe that sudden stunning insight that is real and true, maybe hemlock. And so forth. My glass can't be half full -- it is always full of something, just not always what I was hoping for.