Bipolar as Love Thief: Discarded Because I Am Bipolar
After my last post, where I commented on my fear around being bipolar in public, a discussion came about regarding attitudes, and how I’m the same as everyone else. Well, I beg to disagree. I’m crazy. And the implications of that are undeniable.
In a world of education, political correctness, and tolerance, it seems like the fact that I’m sick shouldn’t rob pieces of me, pieces of my life. It shouldn’t affect my work. It shouldn’t affect my friendships. It shouldn’t affect my lovers. But that, of course, is falderal. Bipolar disorder slips into everything, even when you’re watching and you think you’ve got everything covered, it still manages to steal.
The First Friend I Lost
About a year or two after my bipolar diagnosis, I was still deeply in the throes of being depressed and didn’t know how to really express it. And I had a best friend, Hanna*, who I would talk to about it. She too suffered from depression, and she could understand where I was coming from. We hung out together every day for more than a year, sipping lattes at the university. I saw her through boyfriends, and she saw me through my first girlfriend.
And then one day, she didn’t return my call. Or the next call. Or the one after that.
I finally did pin her down to ask her what was going on. She would only say that because I was bipolar, it was too hard to be my friend, and she didn’t want to do that anymore.
She had never discussed it with me. I had no idea there was a problem. I would have compromised with her. I would have taken her needs into consideration, if only she had asked. I cared for her deeply. But she disappeared. It was as if she had never been there at all.
The Last Friend I Lost
Last year, I had an index series of electroconvulsive therapy (shock therapy, ECT) treatments. In spite of professional, well-meaning medical personnel, I still believe ECT is barbaric and horrific, despite being helpful for some. Jessica*, my love, the person I felt closest to on the planet, agreed to help me through some of them. It was going to be hard for her, I knew, but she agreed to shuttle me back and forth to the hospital, make soup, and feed me meds. I was so utterly terrified that seeing her face was the only thing that allowed me to lie on the table, and let them put me under. Her hugs afterward were all that kept me standing upright.
After the first six treatments, she had to get back to her life, which was to be expected, and another wonderful woman stepped in to help.
But Jessica never talked to me again. I called her and called her. I sent her emails. I left her jokes on her voicemail. But we never had another conversation.
My heart broke. It breaks still. The one person I thought would always be there for me had left. No note. No discussion. No explanation. Nothing. After six years, she just disappeared into the ether.
And, of course, there have been others. Those are but two. It took me years to stop feeling pangs over the first one. I’m still not over the last one. I wish them both well, but despise the way they have treated me. I deserve better than that.
Discarded Because I Am Bipolar
I’m not like everyone else. I am crazy. I am sick. I am bipolar. People abandon me without a word. People think it’s okay to treat me like that. People think it’s okay to use bipolar disorder as an excuse.
I look around, and I see a humanity that I’m not part of, a race that I’m not in, not because I feel that bipolars are intrinsically unequal or divergent, but because the world keeps showing me that I am. It isn’t about what the guy down the street thinks, or about what a columnist opines, or even how my family feels, it’s about these close, personal bonds being destroyed by something over which I have no control.
Yes, I'm crazy, I'm sick, I'm bipolar, I'm different. I know. Life keeps telling me so.
Tracy, N. (2010, June 3). Bipolar as Love Thief: Discarded Because I Am Bipolar, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, June 19 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2010/06/bipolar-as-love-thief
Author: Natasha Tracy
I really tried to be a friend and I am a complete idiot for forgiving him twice before. Thing is, he's a total user but for wacky people who take advantage of him - he bends over backwards. Ticks me off.
Because of things in my my history I try extra hard to be kind and giving to ill people, especially if they have trouble making/keeping friends. This case has scared me away from caring from anyone with bipolar again. It isn't just me, how he endangers his own children is when I really know I had to be gone.
Keep up your good blog work Ms. Tracy.
It's very difficult to deal with someone who is one momen sweet as can be, and then the next moment a nightmare. Jekyll/Hyde types keep those of us who are more balanced walking constantly on eggshells and. Land mines. This is not a fun experience and no joke. My heart goes out to those with BPD and HPD, but even more so for those who have to deal with such people on a daily basis. I love my wife dearly, but now as a result of constant combat communications., I am now tainted and crazy.
To deal with such people, those of us who are more balanced have to do crazy things to interact with them and shock them into a since of normalcy.
I understand people don't like the term crazy or insane, but in truth the stuf that these people do is craziness and insanity at times. Forgive me for saying this. I've been dealing with the challenges of BPD type or HPD type of person for so long that truth is truth. People who have this must get help for his or herself and in order for love ones to cope with their behavior.
Mine refuses to do anything about her illness...this is becoming a hopeless relationship to live in where my world is full of constant craziness.
To make things worse, I've been diagnosed with depression and PTSD. I'm not in the military. Now this is craziness. I messed my mind up by staying involved with a BP or HP person. Sheer craziness.
I also have bipolar disorder and struggle with the exact same things as all others with bp do. HOWEVER, I understand, as an OP stated, that often thoughts I have are not based on reality. Its been my experience that people leave, because others are emotional vortexes, and energy depleters. No one, not even a sufferer, wants an endless stream of boohoos, poor me's, I'm sick, i'm damaged, blah blah blah......etc...... Its draining on them. Shut your mouth for a change and focus outside yourself. You may, just like me, be constantly swimming in a sea of discomfort, thoughts, anxieties and feelings. However you are still in touch with reality and therefore RESPONSIBLE for YOUR ACTIONS. Over time, ive learned to ignore the "voices" and thoughts and focus on what a non-sufferer would be DOING. Then I DO that thing. I am finally okay enough with the understanding that I can't control the emotions and thoughts 100% of the time. But its amazing how much control you can have when you make a conscious decision to try.
People will leave you when you drain the life out of them. Take the maximum amount of responsibility for yourself. Don't call yourself insane, sick, and most of all, you are NOT BIPOLAR, you HAVE bipolar disorder. As long as you allow the disease to DEFINE you, you will find yourself alone and miserable.
Take charge yourself, because sadly perhaps, others will not do it. Stop expecting them to. Stand up, and take the best hold you can of your life and you'll be amazed at what you get.
Nothing else should be acceptable.
I began to hear nasty things about myself from other people, things she told them but I stayed with her because I thought this toxic love was all I deserved, all I would ever receive.
Eventually she left me but I'm better now, everything is more bearable but I still hear the occasional whisper, passed through many a soul, from her.
She still maintains that she was the victim an people believe her.
Ive never been so heartbroken and helpless before in my life. This bipolar relationship has left me questioning everything,... Including my sanity. Im still so lost and confused and dont know what to do. I never tried so hard in a relationship as I tried with this one. When she left, she ripped out my heart and left a gaping hole, I dont know that Ill ever be the same again!!! She has cut off all communications with me, she changed her emails and fb accts. Her kids wont even answer my txts anymore. Its as if she never loved me or had any feelings for me at all. I was totally expendable. The loss and the heartbreak is unbearable!!! Its been 15 days of pure hell, I dont want to be here anymore!! While my baby was the one with bp and I suspect BPD, I find that I the one who needs help. She always told me that she was "broken", but Im the one whos broken now. Im just a shell of anything that I used to be. I dont guess that Ill ever get any kind of closure from her. I cant understand what I did to make her hate me enough to be this cruel to me. I would gladly give anything just to hear her perfect beautiful little voice, eve if it was just to hear her tell me why she did what she did. Ill never be able to carry on without it... :( I feel like bp is a relationship death sentence, I wouldnt wish this on anybody!!!
going trough a very bad time now and really think of ending it all. I am just too dam tired. the only thing that stops me are my 3 cats which also has guys running…..I just don't see any future
Anyways, about two weeks after moving in together, (early Sept.), she woke up one morning and told me she was moving back to her hometown, (meaning her estranged husband). Once again telling me she wasnt in love with her husband but that she had been feeling increasingly depressed with thoughts of suicide and that she needed to get some help. She said she had to move in with her husband because it was the only place she could go. By now her husband had moved into his own place. She also said that she was moving back in with him because she felt that he was the one that had "screwed her up and he should be the one to fix her". Well two weeks later she told me that she was coming back to me and that she was already packing her belongings and that she would be leaving the next day. We hung up and everything was fine, (I thought), well about an hour later, I get a txt msg from her daughter telling me that her mom was in Lakeside Mental Hosp. in Memphis, Tn. Her daughter said that her moms husband said that apparently he had called her after I had gotten off with her. He said that she just started crying and talking about killing herself, so he committed her that day. She spent 9 days in the hospital, after getting out she stayed at her husbands house for another six weeks, all the while, I was living at our place going freaking nuts. She finally came home to me, but within a month, she woke up one morning absolutely manic. I knew instantly something wasnt right that morning, the way she looked at me like I wasnt even there. So she packed up her car and her kids and took off back to her home town, Within two weeks she was back again. Everything was going fine, she was taking her meds and things seemed ok. Then one night while she was taking a bath, she changed into someone I didnt even know...It was like she was in another world!!! By noon the next day, she was gone again!!! And once again, she was back in her husbands house!!! We talked and txtd each other multiple times everyday and it was always the same thing; She would tell me she doesnt love him, was not having sex with him and would make fun of him and tell me what a crappy person he was... Well 4 weeks later (Oct. 14th) I picked her up and brought her back home to E. Tn. Things were fantastic, we were getting along great, made love all the time and told each other how much we loved each other... (and as always, she would swear to me that she would never leave me again). On Dec. 27th me, her and her children headed back to Memphis for the weekend so she could see her mom and her oldest daughter. The entire trip to Memphis, I felt that things were just not right, (they hadnt felt right in over a week) while there at her mothers she was very stand-off'ish), on that Saturday, her and I went out shopping and going to the wolfchase mall. Things were kinda weird but I didnt say anything. With bipolar folks, sometimes its just better not to "rock the boat", antways, we went out shopping and even bought some items for our house, (her idea), she even talked about some of the things that she wanted us to do after the new year, once we got back to E. Tn. We went out Saturday night, partyed on Beale St till 2am. We woke up the next morning and "fooled around" and besides her acting a little strange I thought everything was getting better. We got up, her mom made everyone breakfast, she made me coffee, like she would always do. Well as the day went on, she told me that her mom and oldest daughter had been giving her a hell of a time... they would tell her that she abandoned them and that she didnt love them anymore, among other things. Around 2pm that afternoon her and her daughter started putting their coats on because they were gonna go out in town and spend some time together before we had to leave to come back home. About an hour later her daughter comes in all crying hyserically telling me that her mom went back to Lakeside, she told me that they had been in the store when all of a sudden her mom started having a kind of break-down. They go back out to the vehicle and her daughter said that she started crying talking about ruining everybodys life and that she had ruined my life (because my two daughters have hardly been speaking to me, they didnt approve of her) and how she always wanted to kill herself. She told her daughter that she didnt want to come back to E. Tn with me because she couldnt be happy here because her family was putting so much pressure on her!!! and that I should just go back home to my family and be happy!!! I was standing there trying to take it all in, I was numb, kinda like an out-of-body experience. Here I am, in a strange place, with people that I hardly knew and I had to be back at work the next morning and have the rental car back by 8am. Im asking all of these questions but not able to make sense of any of it. My babys gone back into Lakeside again, and now I dont know what to do!!! I knew full well that by her going into lakeside again, the first person they call is her husband and I know that means that hes gonaa be going back to his house when she finally gets out... IM IN HELL at this point, absolutely going out of my mind, on the verge of breakdown myself and Ive got nowhere to turn !!! After talking to her mom and her oldest daughters I have no other choice but to leave and drive six hours back home, I will tell you that, that was the hardest thing Ive ever done, leaving my sweet, precious, perfect, fragile baby there in Memphis. It was the worst drive ever and yet I cant seem to recall much of the drive back... I came home and for the next four days Im losing my mind. I cant eat, I cant sleep, I cant keep my mind on my work. Im trying to contact everyone on that side of Tn to find out all I can about how she is and what shes doing. Im sitting on the couch in deep thought and I get an email from her husband saying that hes gonna come and get all her and the kids belongings in a few days. I respond by saying that I didnt believe him, that my baby was coming home when she got out of Lakeside. He then sent me screen shots of his phone where she had ben txting him since at least Dec. 22nd, 2013. She was saying how much she missed him and how much she wanted to work things out, how lonely she was here in E. Tn and how empty her heart was without him. It was absolutely devastating to actually see those words coming from her. All the while she was here in E. Tn with me, making love to me everyday and night. Telling me how much she loved me and wanted to be my wife. She even told me Christmas day that this was the happiest Christmas she had had since her childhood. Ive been here alone in this apartment since Dec.30th. Going out of my mind. How could she been so cruel to me? Ive had time to replay everything in my head a million times. That day she left to "go shopping" with her daughter, she knew what she was about to do. She never even told me goodbye or hugged me or looked me in my eyes or nothing. She just turned around and walked out of my life and never even said goodbye to me,like I never meant anything to her!!! :((( Thats the hardest thing Im trying to deal with. Why did she do this, did she really ever love me or was I just a "fling", "something to get out of her system"?? I cant believe in my heart that she didnt love me, I looked her in her eyes and I know that somewhere in her heart that she loves me... PLease help I dont know what to do,.... Brokenhearted!!!!
People fear this disease,even I do..
But in my experience family always ( sometimes takes some time) are there ALWAYS.
If friends only want to be round you say,when your manic ( men,DUH)
It's simply not acceptable nor should it be..
For the downs come,then,oops?
Where's these fun guys now?
Still think some of the old sayings hold true on this topic too..
It just wasn't meant to be.
You can't force people to love / like you.
They have to accept us,first as humans.
Then as severely ill humans,struggling thru each day to the best of our ability.
I used to feel men in my life would make things easier....sooooo wrong.
It's easier,less complicated single.
But I still have triggers,but somehow muddle thru.
Knowing the alternative is no longer a realistic option for ME,in my disorder.
Plus not everyone w a partner is happy 24/7... That's fantasy,not reality.
The issue I have with my friends and family is their inability to view things in the proper perspective. For instance, they IMMEDIATELY attribute things that happened during an episode to a moral failing, a weakness, a character defect, a lack of spirituality, etc. on my part. Those are some rather huge accusations. Nevermind that these people have known me for YEARS and they have seen many other aspects of me that are not my disorder. GOOD aspects. And I know they know this deep down inside.
Bipolar recovery is tough - especially when hypomanic/manic episodes were particularly distressing, or depressive episodes are so deep and dark it literally changes the way the world looks. However, the most insidious and painful aspects of having this disorder is the stigma coming from those closest to you. This was just such a shock to me and something I was not prepared for. I am reading up on it to try to understand this. Thought some of the info I found might help those struggling with this issue as well:
"Friends and relatives’ interactions also may be influenced by something called “attribution theory.According to the concept, those who view people with bipolar disorder as responsible for their symptoms and disabilities tend to react angrily and behave punitively. On the flip side, those who view bipolar patients as victims and therefore blameless are more likely to react with pity and offer help. Then there are those who view people with bipolar as dangerous and react with fear; they are likely to avoid the person with bipolar entirely.
When faced with symptoms such as hypersexuality, verbal abuse or persistent depression, relatives may strike out due to anger or emotional overload. In addition, relatives and friends must cope with the same kinds of feelings the person with bipolar experiences toward the condition, such as grief, hopelessness and resentment.
At the other extreme, overprotective relatives may make inappropriate or misguided comments that trigger verbal confrontations.
Experts agree that education to correct the myths surrounding bipolar plays a vital role in improving matters. Better information and awareness helps family members regard bipolar more calmly and transforms it from a taboo subject to a problem-solving opportunity."
This has been helpful to me. As far as educating those close to me, I've come to the conclusion that this will not happen if they are not receptive to the info so I have to let it go. Pushing the issue is just an exercise in frustration. So I just ignore the people who judge me.
I just hope that one day they can remember ME again, the ME separate from my episodes because I KNOW that I am a good person, with a great big heart. AND I KNOW THEY KNOW THIS otherwise, why stick around for years? I know that my episodes are a pretty small aspect of who I am when I take into consideration the big picture. It took me a long time to remember this again as I struggled to deal with a seriously crippling depression that lasted a year, and I imagine it might be the same for them. I'm okay with that.
After 6 months being wooed by a charming and smart man we moved in together. The day this happened I noticed something was different, he had a look in his eyes that scared me. After a couple of months the relationship changed, his behavior became erratic, unpredictable and inappropriate. Numerous incidents led me to believe I was loosing my mind, I sought help. It was apparent he took a lot of medication, I wrote down all the meds in this drawer and gave them to my therapist. He recognized many of them as bipolar meds but protected his colleague saying nothing to me.
After the situation became unbearable, I snooped, email, files and drawers... I found meds, booze and sex toys. I read emails to lawyers about DUIs, sexual assault lawsuits filed by coworkers and his laughing off his disease saying he can't remember anything since he was over medicated.
I reported him to the state Impaired Physician program, after leaving him, hoping they would help him and keep him from treating equally sick patients. They did nothing, after 6 months he continues to treat seriously ill mental patients. He can "hot shot" them, put them in restraints and keep them locked up at whim. I also want to add, I was not aware of the sex toys until I snooped, clearly they were not for me. Perhaps his female patients are aware of them... but, no one would believe a psychotic homeless woman... right?
If only he had told me something, I am compassionate but I do not have compassion for lying predators!
Love her to death, I AM MARRYING HER, I know the risks, yet I stay by her side. Bi-polar is a sickness, but that doesn't mean anybody has to love these people any less. I myself have been prone to sudden extreme emotional changes, but I can control my emotions significantly better in public or around "friends" as my fiancee'.
I have my own unique strategies that I have come up with over the years to deal with this issue. I have challenged her directly during an episode, which taught me that no matter what I say, nothing will work until the feelings pass.
I usually get extremely quiet and remove her from the scene if she is around people. I can have a tiny bit of a temper when certain things are said to me while she is in her down swing. I usually give up fighting, or just go lay down and let her have her space.
Being patient and then being there for the upswing back to normal is critical. She needs the strength to fight what this is, and no matter what medicine she takes, nothing will never truly help her more than being loved. Love in and of itself is a choice, and if you love someone you will stick through it with them through sickness and through health.
Trust me, I understand you were abandoned (to the author of this article), but you have to tell yourself this: If all the times this woman said she loved you, she shouldn't have had a life to go back to, since you should've been her life.
I wouldn't disappear, especially when someone is trying new and scary treatments to help better themselves. There is nobility in admitting you need help, and there is a lot to be said about it.
My fiancee' was abused, beaten, and treated like s**t for something outside of her control (for the most part). I feel sympathy and I hope that the author of this article finds someone who can treat her with the respect she deserves.
I've lost many friends. Actually, darn near all of them. (I'm 30 now and have been dealing with bipolar since high school.) They'll stick around for maybe a couple of years at most. I'll tell them all my secrets, be there for them when they need me, try to be a good friend, but they always inevitably leave. To be honest, I thought it was just something wrong with me.
I try to "break" in front of them. But really, that's pretty impossible. I imagine it must be very confusing to them. When only the week earlier I was saying how amazing everything is, how I can get so excited, positively elated, at the thought of shopping, or be the most outgoing, social, adventurous person to be around. To the very next week, being absolutely shattered. Feeling like my world is falling apart. Being, what I call, "ambushed by negativity". It confuses even me, so I can imagine how disconnected this behavior must seem from the outside.
I've always said that it's easier to not have friends, and to some extent this is true. It's easier. But in the depressive times, temporary friends or not, they are good to have. And in this process you find a few good ones. There's always a few... a very few... that won't be scared away.
My Bipolar friend goes maniac and then shuts down, w/o depression.
She is NOT a relaxed or relaxing person.
She is one of the most interesting people I know.
We have been there for each other for many years, she sometimes cannot be there for others at all when in high/low cycle.
I get she is bipolar, I know about it, I don't pretend to know how it feels. But to me she is my friend FIRST, bipolar is secondary and it is not an excuse for everything that goes wrong/she does wrong.
She did hurt me during 4 out 4 vacations we did together. I talked her about it, how that mad me feel, that I was not fine with it. She would say she was stressed out, that I did not understand..
So I decided to try one more time.
And once more I got bitten and the blame is on me.
I am now taking time off from this friendship because I fell I need it, and I did tell her so.
So I think that in every friendship/relationship there is work to do, but being friend with a bipolar requires more work+ a tuff skin +a lot of balance.
And @J -- your wife is very lucky to have your unconditional support. I've been married for more than 15 years now, and my husband is the keystone of my support system. He has helped me through every episode, sometimes on an hour-by-hour basis. When I'm feeling well I try to do as much as I can to support him. When I'm hypomanic and irritable and annoyed with his leaving stuff in the sink (a common problem, I guess), I try to remind myself that it's a small thing to tolerate when he's had to tolerate so much when I'm cycling one way or the other. Therapy definitely helps. I hope your wife decides to take her meds and cooperate with her treatment.
Grappling with bipolar, for me, has meant meds and therapy and a *lot* of lifestyle shifts, such as exercise and diet and sticking to a schedule and forcing myself to socialize even when I really, really don't feel like it. And having demanding work to do actually is better for me, despite the energy it takes to simply get through the week sometimes (another thing you mentioned recently, Natasha). Everyone's solutions are different, though. Best of luck in finding them.
I pray he is well, and I'm trying to obey his wishes as he said he can't talk or see me anymore because he can't move on if I'm in his life.
There is no arguing, convincing, rationalizing with a bipolar person. Just love them.
But most of all I'm much more then my diagnosis, I'm a mother, grandmother, sybling, a vertures women. I have had many of the same problems as most of you have shared and it's not a good feeling. In my life I choose to give a problem that I did not choose or could not fix to a power much greater than me. I do take my med's, see a phys. every 3 months and have been doing so since 1992 when I got my bad news of why! Yes I'm disabled but working part time. I work in the Behavioral Health System and doing very well will managing my systems.
I say all this to say it does get better with time for some, just try and find what works for you. I felt eudcation of mental illness for myself as well as family was very helpfull. Oh yea I to lost my very dearest love and many friends. But you know so many came back I just had to give them time also to gather thier thoughts.
I love your blogs. I am so sorry that happened to you. It makes me sad. I am coming from the standpoint of a spouse of a man with Rapid Cycle Bi-polar. He cycles every 6 weeks. And his mania is the kind where he is suddenly very angry and explosive and yells and talks over me. He calls me names and tears me to pieces. Then goes into a two week funk. So many people tell me to divorce him. But then he pulls out and is the nicest, sweetest man. I truly love him. I have been with him for 35 years. I get that every six weeks he is not the man I love. But now that I understand it is Bi-polar, and have been reading your blogs, I get he deserves a huge support system. I will not leave him. I can't imagine the devastation to someone I love so deeply. He is beginning to understand it too as I point it out to him. He has no memory of his angry bouts. I am sure it would break his heart to understand how he has treated me. But he is now taking things that are supposed to assist the chemicals in his brain. I understand his triggers now and watch out for them and leave the house during an outburst. Thank you for serving me so well. And may you find someone who loves you just as dearly as I love my husband.
Some members of my family have hurt me so bad because they see my bipolar disorder as a moral issue. I realize I have done some bad things but I work hard on not doing them anymore.It doesn't matter to them at all.
They see me as completely selfish and devoid of any moral virtue whatsoever. This despite the fact that I gave them my car for free because they needed it. They never asked for it, it was me that offered it to them.
They acknowledge that I don't yell at them anymore but it isn't good enough for them. Blame. blame, blame.
The fact is that I mostly keep to myself in order not to bother them.
I get put down because I am not working. I have fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue in addition to the bipolar. I am not lazy. Right now I am virtually housebound which is why I gave them my car. Why on earth would I give up my most valued possession if I was faking it?
The fact is that having to stop working has been very traumatic for me. Yet they like to rub salt in my wounds.
Because of this and other things I don't trust people very much. I was verbally abused by my mother when I was a child also.
The gist was always, "You are a bad,bad person."
They even see the fact that I have few (right now only one) friends as "proof" that I am a bad person, that I drive people away. The truth is that I hold back from making friends because I am afraid that I will hurt them.
Do I deserve to be alone?
I wish people could see me as I am. I am not an amoral monster. I have a good heart.
To say you are painting every person with bipolar with the same brush would be an understatement. Simply because you know one person with bipolar disorder doesn't mean you know us all. We are as individual as anyone else and I in no way resemble the person you are describing.
A lot of my ex-friends (and my ex boyfriend) felt that way during the first storm of my bipolar. That's why they're all ex. I'm much happier without them since all of my friends are friends who really care about me, who value my friendship, and the ex has made way for a wonderful husband who can't live without me.
It's your loss, and if you don't know what you're losing, then I guess you won't care.