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Old 03-28-2020, 02:03 AM   #11
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Default Re: The Issue of Bipolar Disorder And Being Blown Off

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Originally Posted by BirdDancer View Post
Sadly, I have also experienced what you describe, bpcyclist. Not by my immediate family members, but many others.

There are some times I wonder if they don't reply or reach out because of their own life stresses and responsibilities, because I now seem so different than them (no children vs. them being hyperfocused on theirs, and I'm on disability, while they work), or because I had "fallen off the map" for long enough that they moved on from me. Out of sight, out of mind. But beyond that, I know people have shut their doors, figuratively, to me because of past manic and mixed manic behavior. It can seem scary to some people (odd behavior, weird anxiety issues, psychosis), or is just too overwhelming. Such behavior can severely anger or disappoint people, and as you discussed in another thread, people hold grudges and don't forgive. Sometimes understandably, but other times not so much. And then there is depression. People have their limits to being around that!

Another factor was the period when my illness became so mentally overwhelming for me that it dominated my life, excessively. Yes, being in and out of the hospitals and IOPs and in therapy all of the time was part of it (just plain being extremely sick), but it went beyond that. Many people with bipolar disorder, especially when first diagnosed, begin to think the illness is their life. That they ARE bipolar, as opposed to HAVE bipolar disorder. I was guilty of that for a handful of years, and it's understandable. It was an obsession, of sorts. I had seemingly lost key aspects of my old self. I had forgotten who I really was...beyond bipolar disorder. I had convinced myself that bipolar disorder was all I ever was, which wasn't true. This has changed. Memories returned, as well as mental clarity because of healing and therapeutic work. I have even grown into a new me, of sorts. A better me, I think. I see that as a beautiful step, and have met many new people along the way who see me as the NOW me. Unfortunately, some from the past don't or won't. It is sad...the death of what was. I grieved. I moved on.

A couple of add-ons:

I know that experiences differ, but when I was hospitalized for psychiatric reasons, my husband was my one and only visitor. All 10 times! There were no "get well" cards sent to me from work colleagues or friends. Definitely no fruit baskets! Neither of my siblings sent well wishes. When my husband called my father to inform him of my hospitalizations, my dad always said "Tell her to call me when she gets out." I suppose some of this is understandable (or my family's attitude), and sometimes I wouldn't have wanted other visitors (e.g. when psychotic). But imagine if I had been hospitalized for a heart attack? Or something similar?

Bipolar hypomania/mania can certainly make a person exuberant and attractive, but just as it scares away friends, it certainly deters potential new ones. I experienced all three since my illness started. In my case, I developed a "Teflon" shield, of sorts. You don't want to like me? Fine. Whatever! You won't forgive, despite my apologies? Whatever! The problem with this was my lack of insight into my illness, in early years. I came to believe that my behavior that caused those reactions was inevitable, and sometimes even justified. Perhaps I could cry about the relationship issues, or say "Who gives a damn!" Trouble was, it got really bad over time. I had to accept/learn what was going on. I had to seek treatment. I had to work on insight. It was my responsibility to do so, or continue to experience consequences.

bpcyclist, perhaps the last two paragraphs are not relevant to you, but may be to others.I believe they are on topic.
I think you nailed it, BirdDancer. We are sometimes/often/cumulatively, especially, just too much for people to handle. They'd much rather talk to their pals who just got back from the motorcycle tour of Tuscany or big visit to NYC/Bway shows or whose daughter just got into Yale Law School or whatever. Happy things. Positive things. Talking to me is not always very happy or positive, sadly. I can totally see why noone wants to do that.

Good for you for realizing that this bipolar illness is not your identity, our identity. That is a big accomplishment. You have found meaning in your sometimes difficult journey and Viktor Frankl would be very impressed and proud!!

It really was painful to read about your hospitalizations. So sorry you had that experience and so grateful you had that wonderful husband of yours. Me, too. Identical. Was in the state hospital, for medical reasons/psych reasons, it wasn't punishment, really for close to 5 years. Two people visited in that entire time. Love, love them. But still, there are no cards, no notes, no calls, no nothing. I must say, though, that a very sweet former GF sent me a super thoughtful note with a bunch of cutouts of purple and pink hearts. So sweet. Must acknowledge her.She was good to me.If we had been there for an MI or stroke or cancer, the response would have been completely different, though.


At the end of the day, the sad truth--my truth, anyway--is that a whole lot of people in the US do not fundamentally see bp 1 as an illness or disease. They see it as misbehavior. It's an insight problem for them. And even highly formally educated people suffer from this, so just going to a fancy school forever is no guarantee at all that a person will "get" it. Probably, in another 100 years or so, this won't be much of an issue anymore. Civil rights gains among the masses move like molasses, as history has painfully shown.


My manic behavior and irritability/agitation/raging absolutely was a huge problem for me, too. I ran people off because I didn't want to hear what they had to say. When I am manic, I am completely certain that I am right in my positions and everyone else is an idiot. Not a very attractive quality. Did a ton of damage, to this day. Still hurts.
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Old 03-28-2020, 02:10 AM   #12
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Default Re: The Issue of Bipolar Disorder And Being Blown Off

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Originally Posted by bluebicycle View Post
Sometimes people don't respond because they don't know what to say. Or maybe you said something that makes them feel uncomfortable. (I am not saying you're doing anything wrong, but for example, if you sent suicidal stuff, people may not know what to say and they may feel uncomfortable in responding.) Sometimes people even genuinely forget to reply on occasion. So it really could be a mix of all 3, for example. But like you said, there are a million reasons someone could have for not replying.

I think it is important to focus on yourself and not let your happiness be dictated like other people. For example, don't you ride your bike 100 miles nearly everyday? You could do that to keep yourself busy and distracted. But also, since you are a retired doctor, maybe you may find it interesting to read about modern medicine achievements and advancements. Another thing you could do is go to that used bookstore in Portland and find some books to read. Heck, you can even write blog posts on your experience in a super max facility to help others who are going through similar situations. Surely people want to read about your unique experiences? Basically, turn your negative thoughts and energy on this topic into something positive. Don't worry about what other people think. They aren't good friends, in my opinion, if they are purposely blowing you off. Good friends don't do that.

If your honesty about your illness is what bothers them, then that's on them, not on you. You're being honest by opening up and sharing your true feelings.
Oh, I have no doubt my situation has made others uncomfortable, blue. None.
Lemons to lemonade. Lemons to lemonade. I am totally with you. I try to do that as much as possible. Sometimes it is hard. And if people aren't going to make an effort, I am certainly not going to chase them. I stopped all that years ago. As I have said many times, I would rather have zero friends that 10 sh**y ones. I am just fine with just me and my higher power. And PC, of course.
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Old 03-28-2020, 02:16 AM   #13
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Default Re: The Issue of Bipolar Disorder And Being Blown Off

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I have lost friends because when first diagnosed and I was a total mess I burned people out because all I did was talk about my illness and trying to find the right meds in and out IP Blah Blah Blah. I was being what I call an Emotional Vampire, I didn't see it while I was such a mess.

Anyone with a mental illness is taught and pushed to learn to put up boundaries so its only logical that people we interact with has to also keep up boundaries to, they need to look after there own mental health after all.

I've had numerous friends that fall into an addiction .. Alcohol or drugs.. Or that friend that is in a shyt relationship and they go on and on about it , but make no changes ...Sure I can listen, I can offer advice but there will come a point that they are emotional vampires to me and I have to take a huge step back.

So this is not something unique to Bipolar or mental illness its just a life problem for everyone walking on the planet..

I found PC and talked to people that are not only living but thriving having Bipolar. When I am having a hard time I talk to my BP friends, I don't talk to my husband about dips up or down because he really isnt going to understand but my friends will. Honestly if my husband knew what routinely goes through my head it would scare the hell out of him. That sad when I am really bad I do tell my husband " hey I am not in a good place" so he is aware.. We all must learn that we really should not use our spouse of loved ones as our T, That can possibly destroy that relationship...
You make some very good points. Christina. I have never thought about the emotional vampire thing, but I guess that is another way of looking at this. People do only have so much bandwidth and we tend to take up quite a bit of it at times.

The only non-bipolar folks I have found to be able to have meaningful exchanges with on all this stuff are folks in addiction recovery, who share some things with us. They tend to have empathy and to not judge other people quickly. I enjoy their company, usually.
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Old 03-28-2020, 02:19 AM   #14
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Default Re: The Issue of Bipolar Disorder And Being Blown Off

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Bipolar 1 disorder is a very difficult illness to hide. When you are manic EVERYBODY knows...except you. I never had the "talk" with anyone about having bipolar 1 disorder but a manic episode screams bipolar 1 disorder to anyone with eyes and ears. Once my book was released, then everyone knew. Surprisingly, I got far more thank you's than shuns when the book became widely read in my community. Although, I'm extremely asocial so I wouldn't really notice if anyone was distancing themselves from me or not.
You got that right!

I am very gratified that the response to what I am quite sure is an excellent book was as it was. How nice to have found that. But I would also never know, likely, were in a similar situation, because I, too, never see anyone.
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Old 03-28-2020, 02:22 AM   #15
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Default Re: The Issue of Bipolar Disorder And Being Blown Off

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There were some things that I did when I was depressed and anxious that effected others in my life or resulted in me isolating and not putting in the time neccessary to stay connected to some people. I am doing a lot better now but it takes time for the people I effected to heal from how I effected them. I also became a bit obsessed with what was wrong with me. After having a breakdown, it takes time to get our life back on track. Also, remember that sometimes we change and outgrow some of our past friends. Not that we aren't still friendly but sometimes people change and need to find friendships that better match what we are becoming. My breakdown changed me a lot. Perhaps my new focus means that I need to focus on a new group of people. I have experienced the feeling of someone feeling like my judgement cannot be trusted due to things that happened in the past. I recently brought it up when this type of comment was made and we discussed it. Opening up a discussion about it helped a lot. In the past, my mental illness would cause me to be afraid to tackle these feelings head on with the person that was causing doubts about the relationship. Being open about my feelings is helping.
You know, I think you are completely correct about people changing over time. Friends do come and go. It is a part of life.That is great that you have been able to discuss some of this with others and make some progress. i have not had much of that, unfortunately. But there is always hope...
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Old 03-28-2020, 02:24 AM   #16
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Default Re: The Issue of Bipolar Disorder And Being Blown Off

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I have found this to be true for me over the years. As I change, I grow and vice versa. I think the term "becoming" is perfect. It implies continued growth and transformation into my best and/or my truest self.

We all have a lot to shed in order to discover who we already are. We usually have a lot of baggage from our (especially childhood) experiences. We have the expectations others place upon us. We have the projections from others upon us. We carry these things and more. We might mistakenly adopt them as ours.

Not only are these burdens heavy and tiresome, they are not truly who we are. They obscure our reflection in the mirror and cause us to misperceive our truest selves. They do not define us unless we grant permission for them to do so.

As we heal, on every level, we individuate from these burdens, which we begin to realize belong to someone else. We move along a continuum of transformation, more and more closely approximating the truth of who we already are, our truest selves.

We are already our truest selves; yet, we cannot see this, we cannot own this, we cannot step into all of who we already are without shedding and rejecting the falsehoods previously put upon us and eventually adopted by us.

As we heal and move away from that which we had erroneously adopted as our own, we finally see our reflection much more clearly . As we see much more clearly and individuate from the deceptions, we can then more powerfully move into our own and choose to exercise our freedoms to step into the Truths of who we really are.

The path of discovering the existence of our truest selves might be experienced as overly arduous. Do not be discouraged. The Homecoming, the discovery and the celebration of our true identity, promises to gift us with great freedom and incredible empowerment. Our hearts sing with joy.

Love to All!
Just perfect.
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Old 03-28-2020, 12:38 PM   #17
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Default Re: The Issue of Bipolar Disorder And Being Blown Off

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The only non-bipolar folks I have found to be able to have meaningful exchanges with on all this stuff are folks in addiction recovery, who share some things with us. They tend to have empathy and to not judge other people quickly. I enjoy their company, usually.
I like people who do not judge others quickly...
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