Bipolar Disorder and the Importance of Socializing
I’m an independent contractor. This means I sit in front of a computer screen, working at home, alone and writing all day. While this is the dream for many a writer, I can tell you it gets lonely. It’s tough not having work in an office where there are coworkers to chat with at the water cooler.
And this lack of socializing is particularly salient because I have bipolar disorder. I have a tendency to cocoon anyway, and then you take away the day-to-day interactions with people and I suddenly find that I haven’t talked to a person in real life in a week.
So I have to schedule in a personal life – whether I want to or not.
Bipolar Makes Me Want to Avoid Socializing
I don't want to go out because I don't feel well, and in all honesty, I don’t feel well almost ever. That’s what happens when your mental illness isn’t well-controlled. And so, always feeling sick, I never feel like going out. I don’t actually want to see anyone. I don’t actually want to talk to anyone. I just want to be left alone, preferably under my big, fluffy duvet with my cats purring by my side.
Yes, I Know Socializing Is Healthy for People with Bipolar
But I can’t do that. At least, not all the time. Because it’s not healthy to hide under goose down all the time. It’s not healthy to only live in my head. It’s not healthy to only talk to myself. There’s a reason why good doctors will ask you about your social life – it’s because it matters. It matters that you go out. It matters that you feel the sun on your face. It matters that you talk politics in a hipster café. That stuff can make the difference between wellness and illness.
I Schedule My Socializing Despite Bipolar Disorder
And so, knowing that socializing is important, and knowing that I don’t get enough, and knowing that I’m inclined not to do it, I schedule in a social life just like I schedule conference calls or writing deadlines. Bing-bong – it’s Wednesday, have you scheduled your weekend brunch yet? Have you had coffee with a friend yet? Have you called your friend that lives out of town yet?
Yes, I actually make an effort to make sure that something happens every week. Yes, sometimes I even put it on my calendar. Because then I hold myself to it. Because then I don’t let myself off the hook by saying that I don’t feel well or that I don’t feel like it. I never feel like it. That’s no excuse.
Because when it comes down to it, socializing is helpful even if bipolar makes you not feel like it. My friends' normalcy, their happiness, their not-being-in-your-headedness is infectious. They will help you just be being across the table sipping a latte or nibbling at strips of bacon. And even though your illness will lie, and tell you not to go, it’s important to know the truth – friendships help. Socialization helps. Even if you need an Outlook calendar to accomplish it.
Tracy, N. (2011, November 14). Bipolar Disorder and the Importance of Socializing, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 17 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2011/11/bipolar-disorder-and-the-importance-of-socializing
Author: Natasha Tracy
Super critical of myself. Im really just over interacting at all anymore. Summer is my worst season. S.A.D. Feels alot like depression. Idk.
My mother and I are not talking to each other. Earlier this year she sent me all the pictures she had of me accompanied with a note that ended with, good luck, God bless and be happy. The song Hello by Adele speaks to the way I've been feeling about this relationship
This year I am also spending Christmas alone because a family member that I normally spend Christmas with is going on a vacation out of town with her boyfriend
In two years I will be retiring. I'm so lonely now, I can only imagine what my life will be will be like by then.
I feel myself sinking into another depression but before I get too far down that rabbit hole I've been trying to use some CBT techniques I've learned to lessen the impact but they don't seem to be working. I feel like an old lady of 90 whose friends and family are dying off and wishing I were dead too because being/feeling alone is so unbearable
I have never been a social butterfly so making new friends is hard, especially when you get to be my age, your broke and you have no car.
Change is alway challenging and I just don't know if I am up to it. Life is harder when you have to go it alone, especially when everyday is an uphill battle wading through the muck and mire of mental illness.
Some days, like today I just want to give up. I tired of always being on the losing end of the stick. I feel like such a failure at life
I've been pushing myself a lot more lately trying to get out of my comfort zone and meet new people. It can be difficult at my age but the benefits are truly worth it. The weather and the amount of daylight hours at this time of year make it a little easier
I never went. I spent the whole day in bed. This episode lasted for a couple of months. I bumped into her sometime later at the grocery store where she worked as a cashier. I was so happy to see her and greeted her enthusiastically. Trouble is, I forgot that I had forgotten. She looked at me blankly and said, "Hello, ma'am. Did you find everything you were looking for?" in a way that let me know that I was now a stranger to her. I was stunned. It was one of the saddest moments in my life because I loved her and let her down badly. I was too depressed to remember her big day. I still think about her now, and it's a big reminder always of how easily relationships are severed because of this disorder, and how important it is to try and GET OUT. And it truly is a huge effort sometimes. So I say "yes" as much as I can, when I can muster it.
She had such class. She could have made me feel a whole lot worse.
I know what you mean by feeling like crap and not wanting to open up and have a deep conversation with a 'friend'. When I am really down I have to force myself to get out of the house. One thing I have found is that making myself go the grocery store and talk with a few strangers can really raise my spirits. Even as simple as,"have you ever tried this kind of pasta sauce?" Or, "how did you pick out your oranges? You look like you really know what you are doing. Can you show me?" You may be surprised at how people respond and converse without asking personal questions. While it may be minor casual conversation, it does get me out of my head and feeling or acting or looking like any other person who is not awesome like us bipolars. Hope this helps.
Be brave and give it a try. Then let all of us know how it went. Best of luck! hope to hear about it soon.
Well, here's the thing, pretty much everyone puts on a show. It's the human condition. The woman going through a divorce looks happy, the guy who just found out he's going to be an unplanned father looks unworried and so on. None of us are who we pretend to be.
So I go to my coffee group. I go to school and drop off work or do tests, otherwise I do not go.(which is fine, diagnosed ADD so I don't have to physically attend class)
Tonight is the coffee house, it was my promise to my spouse that I attend, now it is a promise to myself. It really tires me out but I can see the benefits.