I'm tired of being labeled lazy, grouchy, or selfish. I know some people are just not capable of understanding certain things, especially if they've never had it happen to them. Even with similar situations, no experience is exact. I have one close friend who tries to support me. I'm completely aware of how my behavior affects him, and I'm not saying that to be pompous, but I know what it's like to watch someone with Bipolar Disorder and not really understand it or what to do. My sister was my responsibility because my foster parents couldn't deal with the rage. I wasn't allowed to express my own feelings, so my life was a complete secret. Even though I felt awful, I felt even worse because I was forced to watch, essentially myself, suffer ... the reason why it was like watching a horror documentary was because my sister is my only living biological family I have; Abby is my identical twin.
Do you know what it feels like to have experienced a bad situation and watch someone go through it and not be able to do anything?
The last time Abby was hospitalized, she begged me to get her out and I could physically feel my heart disintegrating. It was killing me to see her dying in a place she really didn't belong.
Really my only friend, Alex, tries his best. But he still gets annoyed with me and I feel much sorrow for him. It feels really terrible to see someone in a type of pain you don't understand. He supports me as much as he can, but when he tells me to get out of bed and I tell him I can't. These seemingly easy tasks done on a daily basis can suck so much life out of you when you aren't feeling good. As exhausting as I am to even open my eyes some days, it's equally as exhausting for him to keep telling me I CAN get out of bed.
I don't want to be mean to him and remind him of the things he'll never understand. I've been irritable with him and that makes me sad, because that's out of my characteristic. I don't want to push him away like I have before and with other friends. I remember one of my sister's boyfriends broke up with her because (his exact words) he just "couldn't handle" her.
Why is it so hard for people to understand mood disorders or look at them as a joke? Why are other things more important when they can be measured the same with symptoms, time frames, etc.? Why is it not okay to be crazy??? Why are we crazy and not other people? Shouldn't they be the ones who are labeled crazy since they usually think they're better?
All of this is so hard ... it affects everyone you love and maybe miscellaneous people you don't think would be affected. I'm sick of being numb and apathetic, depressed and suicidal, manic and psychotic - I know how I look to other people and I know how I feel. I don't care if life isn't fair, I just don't think any of this is right. No one should have to deal with this junk, not personally or someone looking in.
Well take all the energy you have and all those feelings (which make complete sense) and change it into action. In a low key way you can help them understand you. Suggest to them they attend a NAMI friends and family support group with you. If you call NAMI they have some brochures about depression, bipolar and other mental health subjects. So for the people who know what's going on explain to them they should accept what's part of your disability and give them a brochure. The public is uneducated and for the people you've chosen to disclose to it makes sense they understand more about what's going on. As for people you know who have bipolar, you can encourage them to seek help and at times the hospital is the right place. Include for myself before recovery. We all have been there. Provide the support you can and then give yourself a break.
But as for people not understanding what's going on with you that can be changed. Sometimes they don't understand the simplest things. Even before recovery, I explained to people that schizophrenia did not mean "split personalities". You'd be surprised how many people believed that. I explained what it really was, what was going on and then I changed the topic to something general. And each person after that respected me. And I still had standard symptoms then. That was before my current recovery. But people knew what they were.
I don't know why it's "okay" to be like other people with whatever issues or ailments they have but yet we are still treated like pariahs. Having dealt a little with kids and adults with various challenges, I think I'm a lot less work and require a lot less patience (most of the time) - but that's just me. I'm sailing along in the fed-up-with-this-BS-boat at the moment anyway. My heart goes out to you for what you continue to go through, but unfortunately I don't have any words of hope for you and definitely no words of wisdom. For me, it's usually a matter of hanging on and trying to put one foot in front of the other. I have the odd optimistic periods, but they are brief.
I will tell you that I think a lot of people simply don't want to be bothered with thinking or feeling - and I don't mean only about us. I mean they don't like to examine themselves and the fact so many of us have become (or were by nature) somewhat introspective is something that makes them uncomfortable right out of the gate. I don't think we have to say or do anything. I think it shows on our faces - yes, even those depressed faces that seem to lack affect. At some point we have put areas of ourselves under a microscope and a lot of people aren't capable of that and are scared to death of someone who is.
I can relate to the phrase, "can't handle x,y,z". Use it more regularly now than ever. What it means for me and what it may have meant to your twin's ex is that the emotional damage was overwhelming. That's it in a nutshell. It may be fear. It may be anxiety. It may mean that the situation is causing the person to want to self-destruct or it may feel like it's involuntary. It could be any number of things, but it gets to a point where it feels like you are literally being destroyed from the inside out. Some people can take a lot and others can't take very much. Usually, it's dependent on the situation. If there aren't a lot of other stressors, it isn't as hard to have one that is really pushing you to the edge. If you have a sick or dying parent, are about to lose your home, file bankruptcy, and are awaiting the results of an HIV test because a former partner has just informed you that s/he's positive - well, you can see how these things add up. So, at that time, you hypothetically have two people in crisis - the ex and your sister. When it would seem the healthiest thing to do would be to comfort each other, unfortunately that doesn't always happen. Nope, two "normal" people can break up and one can tell the other s/he can't handle it. It's so hard, though. There are times when I have been at my best in a crisis and when everyone else fell apart, I was the rock. Even though I wasn't "normal", I was still somehow very strong and could handle it. I can remember a few times feeling downright superior to those normal, conventional people who couldn't handle things.
A lot of people won't admit it, but what I believe is that anyone with physical, psychological or intellectual issues can become a bit of a burden if they have more or different demands than the norm. That word has such a negative connotation, but it only means they're dependent on someone else and, by definition, that is often entirely true. Many caregivers will swear that all the extra work of someone who is bedridden for 20 years and has a feeding tube and diapers is really no trouble at all because they are beloved family members, yada yada yada - as if we don't ever get irritated with those we love. They do all this work and it's an absolute joy. If that's true, good for them. Personally, 99% of the time I don't buy it. If an otherwise average person can snap and shake a newborn because it cries too much, killing it, then I have to think that people get at least a little tired of dealing with other people's issues and that includes our issues. For various reasons, I think people get fed up with us faster. Part of it is that they don't understand us. They're ignorant. Part of it is that they're afraid. They're afraid for a lot of reasons. The media doesn't help and I swear I get mad every time I see a bipolar criminal. People think mental illness can be faked and that an insanity defense is an attempt to pull a fast one. I've heard people say they "don't believe" in psychology or psychicatry or mental illness. So, when we're depressed, we need to get over it and when we're manic, we need to get hold of ourselves. We're not that sick; we just don't have any self-discipline. There's that shred of doubt that some people never get past. They don't trust us. But, obviously something isn't quite right or we wouldn't be attempting to pull a fast one, so who knows what we're capable of? That makes us liars AND lazy AND maybe crazy... But anyway, I think people like at least some degree of consistency and that is the one thing that we simply can't guarantee them. There are physical diseases that ebb and flow, but a lot of things either stay the same or get progressively worse. Our disorder refuses to conform to the expectations that apply to most other things in society, not just in medicine. I have bipolar relatives and a couple can be frighteningly different at opposite ends of the mood spectrum. I am also slowly moving in that direction. I still think the bias is unfair and completely ridiculous. As open as I've been, I don't know how many minds I've changed or people I've educated. My husband. Maybe a few friends/acquaintances. Recently, one of the people I was slowest to tell ended up being one who found out she had it in her own family. I think it made it a teeny bit less scary for her. You never know who you might help or when it might happen. Someone might be a jerk about it now and six months from now or sixteen years from now, they have a cousin or a son who makes them realize how much of a jerk they were.
What you've written has gotten to me. I don't know if any of this makes sense. I'm actually thinking about when I was committed as a teenager and I begged my father over the phone to get me out of the hospital. He'd been totally outraged about some of the medications I'd been given. He made such a big verbal show about it, but when it came to doing anything - forget it. He never even came to visit and I was stuck in there until they let me go. I guess that was his last chance to save the day. He was such a lousy dad and I never gave up on him entirely, not even after he died - which sounds insane, I know. Oh well. Your sister knows what you can and can't do. She may not be able to acknowledge it and that will be painful for both of you. Part of bipolar can include being manipulative and knowing how to use that guilt that it sounds like you feel. Please let go of some of that if you can because there are other things you might be able to tackle with the energy that's heading that way. Take care of yourself.
I'm not functioning as a human being. Bipolar Disorder and all the other junk that's wrong with me has taken control and I don't even know who I am. What part of me is the illness? What part of me is me? I'm slowly beginning to figure out things I like about myself, that I think are myself, but I know that I will still always avoid looking at myself with hate.
I've lost jobs, friends, significant others, etc. because I am just too much to handle. It's frustrating for me and I know it's frustrating for others. I don't want to do that to people I care about and I'm sick of being frustrated, too. I wish I knew who or what was in control, then I could write one of those angry letters and get a free pass for a good day or something.
The people that are supposed to care about me, don't. This isn't post-teen angst. I've never existed in my "family's" life and I don't to this day. They hate me for who I am and don't resist telling me that. Some people are incapable of understanding and some just don't want to. For those around me, it's a combination of both. To them, I'm nothing but a waste of space.
The funny thing about this website is that (so far in my experience) people don't try to sugar coat their responses. The majority of us are dealing with the **** life hands us, so it's kind of pointless to say "I'm sorry". Honestly, I'm sick of "sorry" and I don't accept them. Sorry is a meaningless word people use when they don't understand the situation and therefore distort it to fill in the awkward gap of silence.
I like MedHelp a lot because it just feels right. Of all the times I've been hospitalized, each program discourages any type of relationship. We're usually there because we feel alone ... how are we supposed to defeat that feeling if we're not allowed to relate to anyone? Here, you can talk to anyone about basically anything without the worry of being kicked out because you've started a friendship.
Wondering and waiting for good times is hard. Unfortunately, I've discovered my safety lies in keeping distracted. I don't like that I have to live in what feels like denial via "staying busy so I don't think" or heavily medicating myself. But that's my option ... and I guess for now, it's annoying but bearable.
It makes me smile, horselover, that you say "if I can". Most people tell me to just "do it" as if I'm not trying, as if I want to feel horrible ... it's annoying. I have a lot of issues that I am just now dealing with because I was never given the chance when it actually happened. I know that I can confront them and talk to them until I'm blue in the face, but I also know that they will always be there. What hope I do have is that I won't blame myself for them, especially when they really don't have anything to do with me.
I don't think it's okay for things to be this hard. But I think what helps is being honest with yourself. I am constantly overwhelmed with the fact that this is going to be with me for the rest of my life, and even with medication and therapy, or whatever else technology comes up with - there is always the possibility of another break down. Depressing as that is, it's better than denying potential danger.
It seems like people put too much focus on one thing. Work, love, finances, making it to Heaven. Even though I don't think the way I'm living really is "living", I almost feel bad for the people who call me crazy since they're the ones that aren't really living.
As a mother of a 31 year old bipolar/a.d.d. daughter, I can understand your pain. I find it tragic that my beautiful, talented daughter has had broken relationships, a failed marriage, been fired from numerous jobs because she was "slow" or could not multi-task. She's one year clean from crack addiction and a disastrous relationship with a crack addict. It's been along road, but she has 2 part time jobs, her own studio apartment (because her step-dad would not let her come home) and medicaid for her meds. She's been seeing the same psych since age 19 (which I paid for out of pocket because he was so damn good). Her illness has ruined my marriage because I refused to give up on her or believe that she was deliberately manipulating me. My husband feels she is irresponsible, lazy, unorganized. I still handle her finances because she blows every cent she gets her hands on. I've had so many battles with him over her. I finally accepted the fact that I could not live with myself if I abandoned her.
I feel her pain and know how vulnerable she is because she wants nothing more than be normal and have a normal relationship. She's gotten better at managing and not so manic since she's gotten older, but we all bear the scars of her illness. In my opinion, this is a tragedy no person should have to bear. She would get better help if she had continued being a drug addict, not just a bipolar person. She has decided not to have children (after my informing her about the heredity factor, and why would she take a chance of inflecting this illness on her child). I worry about what will happen to her once I pass on. Her brother has no patience with her, and her sister has her own problems - depression and an a.d.h.d. son who is possibly bipolar.
Once I found out my daughter was bipolar, I literally devoured everything I could about the disorder, joined an on-line support group of parents of bipolars and researched meds. It helped me to understand the disorder and to have empathy instead of criticism.
My daughter can be a very loving and thoughtful person at times. Other times she can be very self-centered and absorbed. I blame that on the illness. I would sell my soul to Satan for her to be normal.
My heart goes out to all of you, and God bless you. May you find the peace and love that you seek and need.
Being Bipolar isn't living, at least not to me. Living is having normal problems that come with society, culture, religion, peers, and age. Anyone without a mental illness seem to neglect the ease in daily rituals, like getting out of bed and brushing your teeth. But when you're feeling ill, it's basically impossible. Keeping a job, going to school - it is indescribable to just the simple things we should be able to do. If you have extreme difficulty in opening your eyes, how are you expected to do something more intricate?
I've been down sized for ruining my "family" and every other problem people couldn't deal with themselves so they blamed me instead. There are things I have done without understanding why I did them until I did some research, but no matter how much I try to stress the correlation to being Bipolar, few people WANT to understand. I tell myself, that's on them ... but it doesn't mean it doesn't hurt to be misunderstood for something that you aren't really able to control.
Though I've been thoroughly mistreated by the people who were supposed to care and nurture me, I still send my heart out to them. I worry, too, what I am going to do when these people die. I can't function on my own, and even though I can't rely on them, unfortunately, I rely on them financially for the necessities of mental illness - medication, therapy, etc.
You're an amazing mother for wanting to learn about the disease. A lot of people are unable to do that.
I'm not amazing; I'm just a mother doing her job. I could not live with myself if I didn't help my daughter get through life. I certainly wouldn't abandon her if she had cancer or was in a wheelchair. That's how I equate her illness so others can understand, but they don't understand and so I fight everyone for her. I worry about what will happen to her once i'm gone because her brother doesn't believe she can't "help" the way she is.
I feel she was robbed of her life; she's been through so much. It does wear me down at times, but then I remember it's not her fault. Everynight before I fall asleep I say a prayer to my grandmother (whom she was named after) and to St. Jude to protect and help my child. I hope they're listening.
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