Last week or so, fellow blogger http://aopinionatedman.wordpress.com nicely offered up his space to those of us who wanted to post as a guest author. He has a *much* bigger following than I do, so of course I jumped on it. One of the people who commented on my post “How To Be A Good Friend To Someone With Bipolar Disorder” has a blog of her own called http://learningtobebipolar.wordpress.com. There are a lot of awesome posts there, but one particularly stood out to me. I’m not sure that this is re-blogging so much as “tag-team” blogging-using each others’ words as a basis for our own. Carrying on a conversation, if you will. The “unfettered” post is linked here as well.
I am so so irritated when people use someone’s mental illness as weapon in an argument. Sure, it might be true that I am over reacting but I don’t need you to tell me “you’re only acting this way because you are bipolar”. It’s possible that’s a true statement, but it is also painful coming from someone that you put your trust in. I personally don’t really care what anyone says. If you want to use my illness against me, then I don’t need you in my life. And if you love me you will take the time to learn how to be supportive without being nasty and making me feel guilty and like I am less than because I have these problems.
How true. Sure, sometimes I’m mad at you (generic “you”) because I’m having an episode. More than likely, though, I’m mad at you because you’re being a jerk.
One thing I miss about the times before my diagnosis is people taking my reactions seriously. I’m not saying everyone does this, but I think some people use the fact that I have bipolar as an excuse to avoid taking responsibility for their behavior. I’m not saying they should have to walk on eggshells, but sometimes I wish they’d realize that the things I’m mad about are things anyone would be mad about; perhaps not to the same degree, but still mad. I am now and have long been very difficult to set off and very unlikely to participate in an argument or even stand up for myself. I suppose that is one reason some people don’t take the times I do show anger-or any emotion, really-seriously, but I wish they’d see that that’s just how I am. It is a very rare person that has that effect on me. Then again, I can’t fault people who didn’t know me before my diagnosis. Or the people who have that effect on me.
It’s so frustrating when I hear that people have been treated badly or that someone they love has used their worst fears against them. Admitting that you may have a mental illness is no easy thing, for most people. And when you are seeking and looking that closely at yourself it doesn’t help for someone else to push it in your face.
Hear, hear. Even though I was relieved to get my diagnosis (I was treated for depression first) because it told me that there was a name for what I was dealing with and a way to treat it, it really hurts when someone gets at you for something you can’t control.
And being supportive is so easy sometimes. Of course, there are times when it gets hard to be supportive all the time…
…especially when you don’t know what’s going on with us. Sometimes we don’t either.
But you know what….how hard is it to say “I see how hard you have been trying, and how you have been working on trying to do things differently, and I’m proud of you.”
People don’t usually find the strength to change when they are surrounded by people that don’t believe in them. I also know that for someone that has been harmed by someone with a mental illness it isn’t always easy to be supportive. Especially when you probably live with the fear that past experiences will come back again. But, I want to share something with you. We do have the strength to change, we do have the power to keep working and keep trying. Sometimes we just need to know that someone is going to walk the road with us, even if that road is hard at times.
This is very true for me. It’s difficult for me to change, mostly because I don’t know how. I know the things people don’t like about me and the things they want me to change, but I don’t know how to change them because I don’t know when I’m doing them.
For example, my parents would tell me not to whine because it makes me sound like a baby. I’d be glad to, but the problem is that I rarely know I’m doing it. I don’t know what it sounds like. The same is true for talking too loudly, which I also have a problem with. I can’t hear it. You can tell someone to stop something all you want and even tell them when they do it, but if they don’t know what it is they’re doing or what to replace it with, it doesn’t really help. This is true even for “normal” people.
We don’t want to be alone, the nature of the illness already has us spending so much time feeling alone, even when we are surrounded by people. And one small mistake will send us into a tail spin. We will spend hours or even days worried about some small infraction that the other person involved may not even remember.
This is exactly what I’m dealing with right now. As much as I want to, I just can’t forget about it. Long story short, it was an argument over a misunderstanding that probably wouldn’t have happened had I known when to keep my mouth shut and when to speak up. It blew up, carried over into the next few days and prompted me to seek therapy (long story). This happened about a month ago and I’m still reeling about it.
The thing that bothers me most about this is that I know that this sort of “reeling” isn’t something I should be doing. The thoughts and feelings I’ve had regarding this person (as well as toward someone else) smack of the sort of non-forgiveness Jesus explicitly warns against-the kind that could keep my sins from being forgiven. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, visit this site-http://www.gotquestions.org/QOTW.htm. I know I’m not expected to be perfect, but these sort of thoughts and feelings have come and gone for a long time.
It’s a sad and lonely place to be sometimes. But it helps, when someone says I know you over reacted but it’s ok. I still love you and I’m still gonna be here.
…or leave out that part about overreacting if it’s not applicable. It might not be.
Why would you want to purposely hurt someone you love. And why or why should I have to explain that when you throw my illness in my face when you are mad at me that that hurts!!! It should be common sense. Maybe you don’t understand what it’s like to be me, maybe you think I am using my illness as a cop out. But that’s not true. I have NEVER done that. And I never will, but I don’t need you being hateful to me when I am trying so hard to change something that I don’t even understand.
I won’t either, unless I truly know that it was the disorder talking. Bipolar mixed state (manic and depressive at the same time) makes you feel like something else is inside of you, controlling your thoughts and actions. I’m not saying I’m going to go all Chucky and go on a killing spree, but this is the rare time I yell or cry.
Honestly, most of the time I don’t have to blame the disorder because other people do it for me-see paragraph one.
Pay close attention, people with these illnesses DO NOT KNOW THAT IT’S NOT NORMAL!!!! It feels normal to me, I don’t know what I would do when my thoughts slow and i can pay closer attention. It kind of scares me because I know it’s going to feel so weird and I’m going to have to learn a new way to handle things. Why would I WANT to change something that is normal to me, except with the knowledge that everybody doesn’t have these issues and struggle everyday. I want that, but it still is scary.
Exactly. It becomes so ingrained in us that it can’t help but spill onto other areas of our lives. I’m told that I “label myself” and shouldn’t let the bipolar become who I am, but how can it not, at least some of the time? Plus, I’m not the only one who defines me that way.
I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, really.
I care, and it’s been my undoing. Many times.
But I do want people to understand. I want people I know who suffer or think they might have some issues to feel safe in their family and with their friends. I want them to be supported and loved no matter what. And I want to learn to gently and kindly help them see when maybe something needs to change. My husband has really been amazing about most of these things since I was diagnosed 2 months ago.
I was diagnosed for the first time in 2000 and started treatment in 2004 (long story). My husband is also incredibly understanding, more than I ever thought I’d find. His mother has bipolar and was in a much worse way than I am, so he’s had “practice”. I hate that for him, but I’m thankful because it makes me think we’re truly meant to be together.
He takes the time if I express a concern to tell me that it’s going to be ok and that we will work it out. But more importantly he has told me multiple times that he doesn’t want the best parts of me to change, he just wants me to be even better than I am now and on a lot more even emotional state. How awesome to know that he just wants me to struggle less and be happy more. That’s what support looks like to me. To give the good with the bad and to take the time to listen and talk about fears and concerns without using them as a weapon to cause more harm.
Same here. It’s a rare person who can live with us day in and day out, so hold onto them and don’t let go!
I guess that’s about it for today.
Until next time…Be Blessed!!!!!
Yes. Be blessed, my friends.