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Bipolar and Isolation

September 10, 2013 Natasha Tracy

Being sick, I think with anything, can be extremely isolating. Being sick, you’re not “like everyone else.” Be it cancer, HIV, diabetes or bipolar disorder, there is a moment when you realize that you’re different and that difference is isolating.

This is a form of internal isolation. But, of course, isolation can be external every bit as much as it can be internal. And sadly, most people with bipolar disorder experience heaps of both.

Internal Isolation

Yes, internal isolation comes from realizing that you’re different, but more importantly, it’s the feeling that this difference puts you on a separate planet than everyone else. It’s true isolation. It’s the feeling that no one else could possibly be sharing your experiences. It’s the feeling that you’re “crazier” than everyone else alive. It’s the feeling that you’re a freak.

And this feeling of crazy freakiness causes people to push others out of their lives. Then they suffer not only from this intrinsic isolation but also the isolation that comes from losing relationships. Sometimes it has nothing to do with the other people in their lives. It’s just that feeling like a freak is so pervasive that they can’t stand to be around people any longer. They don’t feel worthy. They don’t feel worthy of friendship. They don’t feel worthy of love.

External Isolation

Of course, many times the person with bipolar disorder doesn’t push people away – the people walk away all on their very own. People often turn their backs on others with a mental illness, deeming them too “dangerous” to befriend. And, of course, there’s the isolation of losing a job because of bipolar disorder or even being denied housing. These types of things tend not to be overt but absolutely can be caused by a person’s diagnosis of bipolar disorder.

Isolation is Damaging

And there is nothing quite as painful as looking around at your life, and realizing there is nothing in it and you are truly alone. True, part of that might be your own fault, but you’re stuck with it now. You’re stuck with being alone.

And this isolation does horrible things to a person’s head. It causes a worsening of symptoms and can certainly be a major contributing factor to a suicide attempt.

Fighting the Isolation

I think a big part of fighting the isolation is fighting the internal feeling of worthlessness. If you feel like a crazy freak, isolation is likely to happen no matter what so it’s time to give your head a shake and realize there is nothing “freaky” about you. You are simply a person with an illness – an illness than affects thousands of people. And if there’s one thing I can promise you, you are not the “craziest.” You are just a person with unusual experiences and those experiences are shared by others, they just don’t tend to talk about it.

Secondly, it’s important to reach out. Isolation only takes hold when we let it so take some time to reach out to others who will understand – because believe me, they’re out there. If you don’t feel like anyone in your life has a suitable amount of compassion, I’m sorry, but that is not the end. There are support groups both online and in-person that can help you develop real, personal links that will remind you that you are not alone.

Because it is important to fight the isolation. It is important to realize that we’re worthy of love, friendship and support. It is important to remind ourselves how much like others we really are. Because that fight weakens our illness. And the less of a hold our illness has on us, the less isolated we will feel. It’s a positive cycle and one we can start ourselves, any time we choose.

You can find Natasha Tracy on Facebook or GooglePlus or @Natasha_Tracy on Twitter or at the Bipolar Burble, her blog.

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2013, September 10). Bipolar and Isolation, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, June 25 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2013/09/bipolar-isolation



Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar BurbleTwitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Teresa Straw
says:
April, 13 2018 at 7:08 pm
It has been at least a year. I have totally & completely isolated. Im in such a dark place, i cant move. Not to mention the toxic and emotionally abusive relationship. I really cant move. Help

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Natasha Tracy
says:
April, 15 2018 at 8:04 am
Hi Teresa,

I'm so sorry you're in such a dark place. I do know what that's like. But you probably already know that isolation isn't helpful -- it's hurtful when you have too much of it.

You need to reach out to those that love you. This could be something tiny, like a phone call or text, or having someone come over and talk to you. You can work up to something like a coffee date or lunch out. I know it can seem really hard to do this, but it's really important for your mental health. Once you get to this point, you can seek out a support group for additional help and supoort.

You could also call a helpline. That is another way of reaching out: https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/resources/mental-health-hotline-numbers-and-referral-resources/

If you're in an abusive relationship, it's the reaching out that will help. Talk to someone on the helpline about your relationship. See what your options are to get out. You don't need to endure that.

There are no magic secrets here. You have to find it within yourself to send that first text or make that first phone call. I know you can do this.

- Natasha Tracy
F31.4
says:
March, 30 2018 at 6:48 am
I isolate myself so no one could see how broken I am. I meet few people at work, my therapist twice a week and the rest of the time I spend alone at home. And due emotional neglect childhood I never trust people besides my therapist but now I'm at this point of biggest fear to lose my therapist because of my shifting from severe depression to extreme anger. My self hatred is unbearable, I hope my meds still do something... (never tried quitting medication in these past 8 years..) And hypersensitivity and vivid imagination are my worst enemy. Im basically a walking Death wish.. Therapy helps me the most, maybe because I get to see a real person who feels, understands cares..
sarah
says:
January, 27 2017 at 10:25 am
Its great to read of people going through the same struggles as myself.i understand the feelings of needing to be alone but its also nice to have people to turn to.sometimes though the need to just be alone is great.it cam seem odd to the greater population who congregate together and can get on unlike me where everything can get on my nerves and i get agitated.tolerance can be difficult to have but a bit of it never goes astray.
Id like to have more interest in mixing with people,its something to work on to my list of self improvements.
zandra mccoy
says:
January, 26 2017 at 12:49 pm
lord have mercy on us BP's. we don'the want to be as we are. Our anger and emotions stem from feeling and knowing we are emotionally unbalanced . BP can be sucessfullc treated medicinally and hollistcally. Awareness is key, then seeking treatment on a humble, surrendered basis is crucial. Don'the suffer alone and please don'the drink alcohol and do not take the illicit drugs. Prayer helps. God loves you and I.
T
says:
December, 26 2016 at 1:10 pm
I've had a number of friends, dated a few girls for like a month. I've been diagnosed now it's been three years since. I have goals that I'm reaching even if I'm always broke I can't keep a job, so I'm struggling with being able to function to follow my dream.

It's all so troublesome since my diagnosis I have felt free when it comes to my craft. But I've begun to isolate myself I don't have as many, If any friends. Whenever I see a girl who's looks interested, I avoid her. I feel as though I don't know how to live anymore more, I feel stuck in every part of life accept my career and now all these social, intimacy problems are making me clinically depressed.

My situation isn't as worse than others I know I have a lot to be thankful. I've just been stuck with this mindset for the past year. I see it affecting any real future for me in the long run. I'm medicated been in search of a therapist but they all want to treat my illness like that a illness i believe in part it's a gift that can turn on you. I need help but the system has been failing me. Treat me like I'm a illness pass me along like it's no big deal. Suicidal thoughts
Di
says:
November, 16 2016 at 9:12 am
I've always been someone who didn't have many friends, preferred to be myself, and felt judged because of that.

Was diagnosed Bipolar II in 2005. Spent a week in the hospital and 2 more weeks in intensive outpatient. I struggle more with depression than mania. As long as I take my meds things are pretty stable.

I do find that I do need to recharge with isolation when I've been around a large group of people or situations that over stimulate me.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Frannie
says:
April, 21 2017 at 2:12 am
You've described me perfectly! Looking back on my life I suspect I've been bipolar since child hood. I also grew up in a dysfunctional family so it didn't feel safe to get really close to people. I was bullied all through school which led me to isolate. My diagnosis was a blessing as I was finally being treated properly.
Magda Tenorio
says:
November, 10 2016 at 2:22 am
Thanks for this article. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder just a few months ago and it has been a painful and difficult path to walk. I try so hard not to isolate myself, but most of the time I can't, knowing that there's some people out there going through the same challenges gives me hope to try harder.
Anne
says:
March, 1 2016 at 7:43 pm
Kitty, you said it perfectly. I'm sharing that with a guy friend I'm pulling away from who treated me great. I couldn't figure out why, and I know I hurt him. This is so helpful. Thanks
Kitty
says:
January, 20 2016 at 7:20 am
I like being alone, I love and respect people from a far. I don't like getting too close to anyone, and I feel loved secure and safe when people respect my privacy and realize I might not always want to be in their lives at that moment.
Rhonda
says:
December, 14 2015 at 2:54 am
A measure of success. I understand exactly where you are coming from. I've been in that place and I'm there right now though 2 years ago I would have told you I was completely cured because 8 years I had enjoy MY life. After a husband (#2) of 15 years left me and the last 2 years before of him trying everything he could to just get me to leave and I didn't he did. And the feeling of loss and utter devastation was so overwhelming that 2 years 2 addictions a short jail sentence from drug use I finally recovered. And when I did no one was ever going to abandoned me again. I had problems all my life but mostly manageable. I knew I had symptoms with my mom having many disorders I knew but somehow I always made sure I bounced back no matter what. That divorce was the first realization that the disorder can take control of my mind completely. After he left and I ran out of money for therapy (only good one I ever had that helped) I was so desperate to escape my feelings I started self medicating. MISTAKE. However it did render a good outcome. 5 months in jail confined was able to shake the addiction almost over night and the experience of where I was motivated me to forgive put ALL things behind and live and enjoy living and I did from there on until a couple years ago. So it was 8 or 9 years of peace and contentment. I did pull a rabbit out my hat and bounced like tigger till I was back on my feet. I thought I was cured really and when I met my husband (who also left me) o realized I had not been on a situation where I had anyone to leave me. And slowly the problems started again only this time I had all the negative experiences from the previous marriage and how he after all those years betrayed me.
Needless to to say the fear grew and even though my husband had spoke as though he understood, promised me many times, reassured me any time I had doubt that he would not leave. Promised he would always be supportive and work with me. Months we spoke about it. He knew all I went thru in my previous divorce and in my gut I knew I just could go thru that again. And the first time I had a trust issue that I needed his support very much with he started stepping back. Less than a year after the promises he was stepping back and support became reluctant tolerance which I detected immediately. Then trigger after trigger and the more I needed his reassurance the colder he got. Which became a nearly deadly cycle. First time in my life hospitalized twice. Manic attacks so severe my grown sons where thinking about having me put in a hospital for fear I'd hurt myself. That was at age 48. And I'm where you are now except he decided to walk out after I lost my job and both my sons have moved away for careers and my best friend of ten years also moved then he decided to leave. And never did he follow thru with all the things he told me for over a year. He moved out one month after our 2nd anniversary and my life went with him I just got left here if that makes sense and if I don't get off my couch and find life again my future will be no more than I have now.
But this I know. Don't trust anyone for it, and though some meds may help still it's danger to put too much trust in those as we build tolerance to them. You have your back. You can trust you and with practice our thoughts can be controlled at least enough to push back out at times. I've done it before I will again just gets harder to get up off the ground as we get older but trust you. Wrong dr wrong meds wrong friends it all happens. But it's yourself you have to trust first anyway. Now get off the couch and go buy yourself a donut and new nail polish lol!
Lana
says:
December, 2 2015 at 3:19 am
I think the guy i am in love with is bipolar.He never actually mentioned it but here's the thing,he was super nice to me at first,then about 4 months ago started being very rude and saying he needs space because he has problems.While i was being so supportive i was also so scared of losing him and was hurt from the rudeness so i made the stupid mistake of telling him that his actionns let know he doesnt appreciate me.I felt so guilty afterwards,and straight afterwards sent him a msg apologizing for bothering him with what i said and let him know that i really care about him and wont bother him anymore since he needs space
Thing is im not sure if he is bipolar because he never shared this with me.I honestly thought that based on his extreme rudeness he just wanted me to go away.My question is,if he is bipolar what should i do now?What would make someone in this situation feel most at ease?Should i just leave it there that i sent him the reassuring message and an apology 3 months ago,or should i try to reach out?Im just scared to reach out because i dont want him to think i want us to have a talk or that im invading his space.In your experience is it better to just let him reach out?

Thing is it never crossed my
A Measure Of "Success"
says:
September, 21 2015 at 3:08 am
Today I will wait until the very last minute to roll off the couch, have my token shower for the week (and maybe another one sometime later in the week if I'm up to it), I'll ride the train into work half asleep with a bunch of strangers then put on my "happy face" as I'm about to disembark . When I get into work I'll load up on caffeine and force myself to make small talk with some of my coworkers before I get down to the tasks at hand. I'm so grateful to have a job with the debt load I'm carrying. I hope we enough staff today. Then after work I'll ride the train home praying that I don't fall asleep and miss my stop

When I get home in the evening to my dark filthy rundown little rental apartment the mask comes off and I flop into an exhausted mess on the couch once again still in my work clothes with a blanket over me 'til morning. Alone again as usual. I'll stare blankly at the TV on mute (because I can't stand listening to it anymore) 'til I fall fast asleep (usually before the first show is over) dreaming of what used to be.

Trying to keep up appearances at work is so exhausting. I need all the rest I can get

I never used to be like this. I used to have a life social outside of work and was able to keep my place relatively clean (I wasn't ashamed to have people) over once upon a time. But somewhere along the line I gave up hope of ever having a normal life with this disorder.

The first two times I came out of hospital I was able to bounce back after my release without any medication but these last 2 1/2 years since I've been on medication things have changed and dare I say not entirely for the better.

I can't afford another manic episode or else I will lose my job for sure this time (I'm already skating on thin ice) so I stay on my effin meds that I hate so much.

It's certainly not the quality of life I had envisioned for myself. I've talked to my pdoc about this many times before but he doesn't really see it as a problem because I am considered "high functioning" what because I can hold down damn a job? I am considered a freakin success?

The irony of it all is just too much for me to process.
dennis weise
says:
December, 5 2014 at 6:15 pm
I couldn't have said it any better. After 61 years of life and 31 years of marriage I have never felt so alone and could never understand why. That made me feel even worse but it's what I have to deal with every waking moment of my life. Thanks for sharing!
Renita
says:
November, 23 2014 at 8:43 am
I feel that way too and I AM on medication. I get offers to go out but then when it comes down to the last minute I don't want to go because it's draining. It takes too much energy to pretend to be upbeat when I'm not and most people don't want to be around negative people.
sisi
says:
August, 5 2014 at 7:52 am
I found this today...I couldn't figure out what was going on with my fiancé. Once moment he's happy and in love, the next he just wants to be alone. He has so many up and down moments. I believe he's suppressing things with alcohol and drugs (legal now in Seattle). I'm trying to support him, but he's pushing me away. Some days I don't know what to expect. This is serious and is often overlooked. He doesn't want medication and I'm at my wits end.
gregg
says:
July, 30 2014 at 6:00 pm
I know right at this given point yes i am in a funk i call it, the lows are way better now than before when i self medicated with alcohol and non prescribe drugs.
I will say that being bipolar has it's challenges and yes this week has been a wash, yup, total do nothing week. I do find making a list of things to do is helpful, and crossing them off, but do not throw the list out keep it in a journal, so you can say wow i did the dishes three times today. Yes i love being clean but do i care that i have not vacuumed for a week, no, because i have no friends that come to my 25 foot by 35 foot apartment, I feed my cats, i try to be positive and yes today i cried a whole bunch, who cares...... Yes i am soon to be fifty two have been a lot of different relationships but people for the most part do not understand the genius of our minds.
I now know being clean and sober my mind is clear so things are just there, I can choose to let them grab me or not, i find writing in a journal, sleeping and eating good helpful.

I am hoping that one day someone will see me for the beautiful person that i am, 30 years in construction that i had to quit because there was not a 40 hour week usually 90 hours extreme.

my sisters tell me if we could harness your energy when you are happy we could light up half of U.S.A
funny. Thank you for having a awesome blog , i am glad to have found this sincerely Gregg sorry for the long writing
jane starkel
says:
June, 16 2014 at 2:35 pm
sometimes it takes a person to take baby steps I wouldn't go out unless it was to the store bank or gas station I never called any one. One day I said to myself just do one thing today. Tomorrow try 2 things. It worked for me plus I was working with my shrink and a therapist. Being bipolar is no fun but my life is so much better. set small goals and work on them. Also i am an alcaholic too yuk!!
Daniel
says:
January, 5 2014 at 1:56 am
Hi

I also suffer from isolation and depending how I am feeling, I atribute this feeling to my personality traits while other times I really think that is to do with my Biolar symptoms. Sometimes I lock myself in this sad, lonely world where I don't Interact with almost no one: Family mmbers, friends,etc. I became impatient and frustrated with people, the government, the culture and basically didn't trust anybody. Does anyone feel like that? For years I used alcohol to self-medicate and this went on for almost nine years and the result of this was deeper depressions,several maniac episodes and longer psychotic states. Now I have joined the A.A and in some respects has helped me to become more aware of my mental and physical health. Don't know much about its phylosophy and group meetings can be hard going at times. A big salad of sócio-economical backgrounds, educational levels, real poverty and people with little or no social communication skills at all. A real challenge!
sandracobban
says:
November, 25 2013 at 2:55 pm
I agree,I'm during MY relatively stable periods OR rough patches,seem to need to
Isolate myself during the evenings..in order to wind slowly down before bed.
Don't think that form of isolation is bad I think it's smart!
Keeps me out of trouble,ie.being in loud over stimulating places,non conductive to
Quiet evenings reading or working on my writing/ or/poetry.
However,my BFF lives 3 h away,we live in Canada,lots of bad driving.
I have no car,no lisence,she won't drive in bad snowy roads.
Plus I've many trust issues,now my only friend in my hometown was my ex bf.
So I'm very isolated,though I try & get out in the day by myself for groceries,shopping,
Medical appts.plus the odd visit here there w my sister,mostly we meet at her work near my GPs office for tea & sweets.
I'm mixed up re isolation,weather here too,all the snow & cold,etc plus I have SAD plus
Bipolar rapid cycling,PTSD.
When weathers bad I don't care much,other times I cry and wish my BFF gal pal lived
In my town.
When I'm low it's extreme,isolating is the norm,due to the trust issues,I'm kinda stuck.
I'd like friends,but after the bf crisis,I'm still getting used to being single again,and Christmas so near..not so sure I'd be the best friend to have..I cycle so quick,even w meds there's many triggers in this town..don't wanna move,my sister lives a 1/2 h away
She's always busy & works full-time plus has her own health issues( medical)
I'm like the good witch/ bad witch.
That's hard for most everyone incl me,to deal with.
Anyway,finding this writing triggering my depression,so..that said & over with.
Feel empathy for those in a similar position .......maybe one day
Amber
says:
October, 5 2013 at 2:04 am
My biggest problem with my bipolar friend is that I'm finding it very hard to decide when it's a good idea to reach out to him when he's isolating himself, and when I'm just being a nuisance. We used to be very close and meet up a lot, but he's withdrawing more and more. He says it's got nothing to do with me and he is ok on his own. But then he makes comments to the effect that he's a weirdo, crazy etc and why would anyone want to be in his company when he's just miserable. He means a lot to me and is a lovely person, it's awful when he puts himself down like that. I try to talk to him about how he feels (again it's difficult - I want to understand, but I don't want to intrude on his privacy), it seems he's been stuck in a depressive phase for months. He's getting treatment but he's getting frustrated. In the last couple of weeks I have been very concerned about him and his safety, as a result of a few things he told me. I usually have a brief chat to him every day at work, and on the weekends I send him a couple of texts. Unfortunately last weekend I really put my foot in, unintentionally. He had been unresponsive to my texts (and then phone calls) which is unusual. In the end I popped around to his place because I was so worried. He was furious, accused me of invading his privacy (it's not as if I barged in, I rang the doorbell of course, and besides we used to hang out at each other's places a lot) ), and treating him like a weirdo. And told me to leave. I was shattered. I tried to explain but in response I just got an email from him the following day that I should respect his privacy. And that he has now changed his phone number because he doesn't "need the drama". I have no idea what to do. I don't know if it's just the illness that makes him push me away, or whether he's genuinely over our friendship in which case I would (have to) accept that. In hindsight I suppose I overreacted but I have never thought of him as a weirdo or freak, I never will and I most certainly don't treat him as such. At the moment I just hope he'll accept that...
judy
says:
September, 16 2013 at 9:35 pm
@Faith. All employees within the health care industry are required to take some sort of HIPAA training. If they violate it, the so-called professional must have not understood the material. I wouldn't call them "professional".

Regarding people "lightening up on their attitude towards the disabled", I think most people just go with the general consensus of not caring. It's easy and doesn't stretch their minds and hearts too much. It definitely takes a certain kind of person to abuse, though. Case of the victim turning into a bully, or bullying to work out some sort of insecurity or rage, overactive hormones, group think and deindividuation, or any combination of these, I suppose.
judy
says:
September, 16 2013 at 5:30 pm
@moe. At many points in my life, I really enjoyed being alone also. But, like every other human on the planet, I doubt anyone would enjoy it all of the time. Everything in moderation.
Faith
says:
September, 16 2013 at 5:18 pm
I was recently diagnosed with PTSD and Bi-Polar II (hypomania). Before this I was misdiagnosed according to my newest doctor/counselor. What I wish was that some professionals who put down a patient saying so and so looks good from the outside; but in the inside they are all messed up - is not something a professional should be discussing with other patients, etc.; but it has happened to me at local hospital while I was waiting for a housing voucher.

Who does one turn to when a professional is telling another patient "your business" which is suppose to be covered by HIPPA? Why are some individuals listened to and not others when they file a grievance about their providers?

It is good that some celebrities speak out about their own mental health conditions; but I sure was a little miffed when I heard that LeBron James, the Miami Heat Basketball player had used the word "retarded" in a press footage. He later was asked to apologize and did; but if asking people to not put people down who are considered different does not work well, then our world needs to come up with some very strong supportive avenues for "all" disabled individuals to be able to access in their moments of fear, trepidation, abuse, etc. Maybe then, the rest of the world will lighten up and change their attitudes to any disabled individual. This is just my own opinion and not meant to be upset anyone else.
Moe
says:
September, 16 2013 at 1:54 pm
I like my isolation! I have become ok with it.
judy
says:
September, 16 2013 at 7:49 am
Sarah,

That's the thing. I can really say that some of the people in my life at that time are NOT cruel. They are good folks that are mostly kind and generous. I've known some of these people for years, we have been mutually helpful and supportive to each other, then all of a sudden, they are calling me things that are so completely untrue that I thought I was dreaming. There was probably one (or two) people who probably are inherently cruel that instigated things and everyone else just followed suit.

I suppose I could look at it that way, but if you see essentially decent people participating in something terrible, it doesn't give you much faith in the goodness of others.
Sarah
says:
September, 15 2013 at 9:41 pm
Judy,
I'm sorry to hear about the nasty people in your life. I had cruel, nasty, and self-centred people in my life at the time I became ill. I lost one friend because she was under so much strain trying to be supportive. It wasn't fun. But now, they're not in my life any more. Only nice people are in my life.
Think of it as a spring cleaning process.
It's harder when it's your family.
judy
says:
September, 15 2013 at 9:14 pm
@sarah. Some good comments. Thanks!

@sheri. Make sure lexapro is being used in conjunction with a stabilizer. Some pdocs may say lexapro does not carry a risk of switching, but a growing number also says that they recommend the stabilizer/anti-D combo, or avoiding anti-Ds altogether. I've also read/heard of accounts of switching so if the risk is there, beware!

She may be an alcoholic or she may simply be self-medicating. It can be hard to see the difference initially. It sounds like you are frustrated with her. In many resources, caretakers are advised to join a support group to help you deal when the going gets rough. If resentments are allowed to build, it is really no good for everyone involved because a toxic situation is simply not productive. Good luck.
judy
says:
September, 15 2013 at 8:39 pm
I am recently diagnosed and I was completely floored by people's negative attitude. Some people were downright cruel and used it as an opportunity to harrass me - which I'm sure they would not have done had I not been symptomatic. I would compare the whole ordeal to running a marathon with broken legs. When your legs are functional, and you are healthy, you can finish the race. Maybe even make good time. But if your legs are broken, even one step is painful, and you will not be able to move forward.

I think if your experience has been particularly negative, you may isolate because you cannot trust people to do the right thing. Mental illness seems to incite something awful in people, especially in groups. When I was younger, I saw a group of young boys picking on this kid who suffered from MH. I even asked the boys what the hell they were doing. One replied that he did not know, which is quite telling. I think people just get swept away in the moment and do things that they probably wouldn't do if they were alone.

Because I've witnessed this type of callousness, I may have had some dark observations about humanity in the past, but experiencing it has definitely confirmed it. It is sad because we should always have some hope for the plight of humanity.
Sarah
says:
September, 14 2013 at 9:17 pm
Hi Sheri,
Good on you for trying to get help. It seems like where you are at is that you mother is an evil demon, according to you and everyone else and that she is to blame for everything.

What is more likely is that she is rapidly losing the fight against her drinking and her bipolar.

So I would suggest (now, I'm not a professional, just a person with bipolar)

Firstly try to understand what it might be like to be your mother, and what it feels like constantly to have bipolar, and to be in the grip of an addiction. You won't fully be able to understand, unless you have it yourself, such as it is an experience unlike any other.

The main point with that is that her behaviour is springing from the disease and addiction, and not because of any other reason.

Secondly, A lot of blaming goes on, because it's hard to accept the fact of the disorder. She will blame others because she can't see what the disease is doing to her. And you will blame her because her behaviour is so incomprehensible to you that it seems like she is doing it on purpose. You'll just have to take my word that it's not purposeful.

Thirdly, the addiction must be treated as well as the bipolar. As you mentioned, she won't comply with treatment while she can still drink. But the bipolar must also be taken into an account while treating the addiction. I don't know so much about that, so maybe someone else knows something.

Best of luck with the healing process.
Bipolarme
says:
September, 14 2013 at 4:49 pm
Thank you so much for this article, I wish I had the courage to say this to people. It sums me up very well.

Isolation is the story of my life. I definitely isolate myself and push people away. People don't get it. I look very healthy on the outside so they assume I'm ok. I do withdraw sometimes, and I don't get many invitations. They assume I'm disinterested. I wish people would just ask rather than make assumptions.

It makes a huge difference when someone says hi and notices that I'm alive. I avoid face to face and phone contact sometimes. However, even an SMS or email message makes a huge difference. It costs nothing, takes up little time but means a lot.
Sheri Mozes
says:
September, 14 2013 at 3:32 pm
My mother inlaw is a Bipolar alcoholic who lies constantly about everything! She's extremely manipulative & her mood swing are horrible. She rarely takes the Lexapro because it interferes in her drinking which she does daily. She ruins every holiday & both my husband & myself are at the end of our rope with her. I've been her only ally for years until last Christmas when she became completely irrational. Do you have any suggestions? My husband won't even talk to her, & I really would like to help them have a healthy relationship. She uses $$ to try to control relationships & even tho we need help, we refuse because the price is putting up with her craziness! If you have any suggestions, please let me know.
Amber
says:
September, 13 2013 at 2:25 am
Thank you for that post, I think it helps me to understand my friend better. He has bipolar and has been isolating himself a lot lately and I'm worried. Sometimes I feel I'm being a real pain by insisting on maintaining contact. And sometimes - despite him assuring me it's not personal - it's hard not to feel hurt when he pushes me away. Your blog helps me to understand.
Ernie Richards
says:
September, 12 2013 at 10:12 am
You have described me to a T. My bipolar has led me to push many of the important people in my life away and in some cases to end long time friendships.

I try hard every day to not isolate but it is so hard and then the weather often does not help.

Thanks for your insight into this.
Natasha Tracy
says:
September, 12 2013 at 9:16 am
Hi Ashley,

I'm not sure if this is the good news or the bad news but finding successful treatment, especially in children, can take a long time. That is the bad news, in that it can take a lot of suffering to get there. But that is also the good news because it means that what you're going through is "normal" and you shouldn't give up. And, keep in mind, any good doctor is going to be cautious when trying to help a child through bipolar disorder and this is good - we don't want over-medicated children.

Try to keep the faith. It's actually good that your child has been diagnosed now as she can get the help she needs early which will create a better outcome in the long run.

- Natasha
Jan Tchamani
says:
September, 12 2013 at 9:04 am
Thank you for tackling this painful subject. I've lost people all my life, and seen some about to turn away and given them a gentle little push to make the pain less by speeding up the process. You never know who will turn away the first time they see you in an outburst or a crisis. Someone I thought was turning into a friend sent me to Coventry for 2 weeks recently and it was only a minor outburst. And I'd forewarned her and taken loads of time to explain it might happen. Ah well... Best wishes to you, Jan
Ashley
says:
September, 12 2013 at 8:43 am
Natasha,

I just found your blog today and I want to offer you my sincerest thanks for your bravery in chronicling your struggle with bipolar. My daughter is 12 and suffering immensely from bipolar I. We are struggling to find the right meds for her with no much success in the past year. Right now she's in a severely depressed and hopeless episode and your post really helped give me some insight into how she might be feeling right now. I've been working my way back through your posts and bookmarked some I hope I can get her to read. She feels so alone and helpless right now and I latch onto anything that might give her some hope, at least that there are others out there who do understand how she feels. Thank you again!!!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

RONIN
says:
January, 18 2019 at 10:11 am
Research a procedure called GeneSight. It is a swab of the oral cheeks that is sent to a laboratory, which specializes in finding which medications would work best with the afflicted individual personal brain chemistry through their dna. It is purported to minimize incidences of being prescribed medications that are not genuinely effective for the individual. This new procedure came in effect approximately two years+ ago.
Great luck to you.

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