Why is going to school so hard with having bipolar? Is there a connection?

“Why is going to school so hard with having bipolar? Is there a connection?”

Having Bipolar presents you with a lot of issues.  One of those issues is retaining things.  Memory for some reason or another is not very good.  Not sure if it is linked to the medications we take, because there are so many different ones that we can take and we tend to take quite a few at a time, or if it is genetically linked to the bipolar itself.  But regardless of how it happens, it happens.  This little tidbit is what makes going to school such a bother. I’ll give you a couple of examples.

In 2009, I enrolled in a program to get my Medical Assisting Diploma. I struggled thru the program but I made it til 5 weeks til graduation.  Then they put me in an office to do my clinicals and for an unrelated reason I had to drop out. That happened in 2010.  Now just 2 years later I cannot remember any of the major things I was taught in that program.  It has all slipped away.

Another example of struggling, my 10 yr old daughter is bipolar.  She is going into the 5th grade this year.  She was diagnosed bipolar in the winter of her 2nd grade year.  I have watched her struggle more and more each year as the work gets harder.  She forgets simple things like how to add and subtract if she doesn’t use them every day.  She used to be a straight A student.  Since the bipolar I have watched her grades steadily decline until the end of 3rd grade she had all F’s.  She was trying so hard but she just couldn’t connect the dots and she would get frustrated and then give up.  We finally got an I.E.P. (Individual Education Plan) in place for her so she began 4th grade with a fresh start and her grades picked back up.  She was getting extra help from teachers and staff and extra time to complete assignments and shortened assignments.  The extra help really paid off in the beginning but by the end of the school year she was struggling a little bit again.

No matter what effort or special circumstances are put into place we’re always going to struggle a little bit more than the rest.  I’m not sure what level of school you are referring to but talk to your teacher about your situation and if needed ask for more time on your assignments.  If appropriate ask for an I.E.P. They do help in most situations.

3 thoughts on “Why is going to school so hard with having bipolar? Is there a connection?

  1. I’ve had a lot of difficulties in school as well. When I was in elementary school, I was a straight A student, then I started to get sick, and my grades left with my health. I had trouble concentrating and getting the work done. I could barely pass a test to save my life. It definetely didn’t help that I was in and out of the hospital all the time. I did try college, and completed some classes here and there, but in the end I dropped out. I’m taking a big risk and going back to school this fall, but this time I am getting help through Supportive Services, and I’m going to try and get all the extra help I can. I’m hoping and praying I can make it through, but school has definetely not been a strong point in my life…

  2. Thank you for sharing your story, I can identify with your experiences and it makes me feel that I’m not stupid after all and I am mot the only one.


  3. Yes. It is very hard to go to college or school and at the same time deal with Bipolar. I am an example of this. I just don’t have the ambition anymore. I’ve been out of school for years. I was diagnosed in late 2003 early 2004. I have a happy life as I am on medication. But something about school is no longer inviting to me. A word of advice, Please be super careful with student loans as there is NO bankruptcy protections. Now I work full time and compose piano music on the side. (I wrote 21 piano compositions). I’d say spend time on your hobbies at your own pace. At least I found that is what helps me. I hope this can be of help to you.

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