Okay so where were we?
(in case you have just joined us please make sure to read the first going off about therapy post too in order to get the full effect.)
I was just talking about whether or not therapy can help you to not experience the pain of Bipolar disorder.
I am reminded of this piece I wrote in which I talked about how Bipolar may get worse but YOU can get better. And I think that this is where therapy earns its keep.
Therapy can help make US stronger and better in our Fight Against Bipolar Disorder.
But as for the intensely internal indescribable pain of Bipolar…
I do not believe that therapy can make that “go away”
I do not like when therapists tell us that they can help us “Manage” Bipolar….
I know what they MEAN
They mean they can give us tools and skills and ideas to help keep us in check…to help keep us away from the break down…to help keep us out of the hospital perhaps….
They can help us “manage” the more external, observable parts of Bipolar.
So sure. They aren’t lying.
But when the desperate suffering Bipolar hears those words they feel like…
is on the way
okay now i’m sad.
because it isn’t
you know that.
is not the same as
relieving the pain.
I really hate typing shit like that.
i feel like I do it all the time.
Maybe I should blog about aprons…or emus or something where you don’t have to say things like that all the time.
But let’s get into my big beef with therapy for Bipolar…(yep we have not actually mentioned it yet)
I think therapy can be EXTREMELY triggering
bad therapy is worse than no therapy
But Good therapy can also be DAMAGING at the wrong time
I think the wrong therapy at the wrong time can put a person in danger
Therapy can get into some deep shit
therapy can stir stuff up
therapy can open stuff up
And while for normal people that is probably almost always a good thing….
that therapist better look both ways before crossing that street.
Because if there is any whiff of “mood” or “episode” around then there is always the risk of triggering and exacerbating it….
Actually with a Bipolar isn’t there ALWAYS the risk of triggering and knocking off balance….??
There is a fine balance here.
Because on one hand hashing through old gross emotional shit can desensitize triggers like your mother or whatever….VERY important. Extremely helpful.
However, talking about all of that old gross emotional shit about your mother may also
AND who on earth thinks it is a GOOD idea to talk about this stuff when you ARE depressed?
To make it worse….unfortunately most of us go when we are feeling depressed because we want HELP.
And it seems like a good idea to you and the therapist to talk about some shitty shit in your life in order to “process it” or “get it out” or whatever whatever whatever
but that shit is for NORMAL PEOPLE
That is what normal people do with their NORMAL PERSON FEELINGS
That shit can fuck US up. WORSE.
I have NEVER had a therapist who seemed to have this idea in their heads. NEVER.
Maybe just maybe WE need DIFFERENT therapists than the ones that also serve the normal people and their normal person “feelings”
Where oh where are the therapists who actually specialize in Bipolar?
And I don’t just mean they list it as an “area of interest” or whatever the fuck
I mean isn’t there anyone out there who is putting…
(I was in such an impulsive rush when I set up this site and my mind told me Bipolar first was a good name and I wasn’t sure I believed it but it keeps being relevant. Because seriously. I would like SOMEONE to put Bipolar First….because WE all HAVE to…whoa this is getting a little post within a post…let’s come back to this later.)
You need to protect yourself from bad therapy.
Be really clear…
I am depressed…I need help…I am afraid that talking about my deep emotional stuff will make me feel more depressed. What else can you do for me?
And always…”I am Bipolar. I live my life on the edge of break down. I want to work on myself so I can be stronger in my fight but I need you to remember that every thing that comes up has the potential to trigger me…..and please please please don’t stir everything up and then send me out the door triggered…Bipolar….flammable.”
How many of you have ever gone to therapy with the hope of feeling better and then after it got into your car feeling WORSE?
Do you see how dangerous that could be in the wrong moment?
You know the time I am talking about.
And it isn’t like we can’t ACT like it is okay…
“oh are we done oh yeah okay I will think about what you said good point see you next week thanks……”
walks to car…
starts to shake……
If I was a therapist I think I would honestly stay away from Bipolar people. Out of respect and an acknowledgment of my own inadequacy.
I guess if i had to I would only work on “skills”…..
I know that is not fair because the Bipolar people need therapists too.
It isn’t our fault that we are volatile.
I really am just saying that to wham home my point about how careful I think therapists and Bipolars need to be in therapy and how
No One Ever Talks About This Like This.
AND if you are seeing a therapist for “skills” I would want to make sure they understood that the skills are helpful but they are not going to stop the pain.
just get everybody on board from the get go
and while you’re at it
tell the friends and fam
all those loved ones who are so relieved that you are “getting help”..
because now you’ll get “better”
once after unleashing some suffering pain filled bipolar “rant” email on a friend…
she actually insinuated that it didn’t seem like I was using all of the “skills”………..
little did she know that that kind of ranting IS a skill we use to help “Manage” the pain.
Loved ones have to be aware that they don’t KNOW SHIT
(she is actually a very nice person and has since become more aware.)
As for skills…..
Let’s talk about help from Bipolars versus help from Therapists……
(I am going to do these as little dialogues… based off of real situations. I am also not interested in boring myself typing out what the therapist reaction would be and you are probably more than capable of improvising that part on your own.
example number 1
Bipolar person- “This agitation is just killing me. I just feel like i need to peel my skin off. It starts every night and I can’t stand it. What can I do?”
Therapist says- therapist stuff
Fellow Bipolar says- “Turn on your clothes dryer and then press your forehead down on it so that it vibrates your skull”
Example number 2
Bipolar person- “Around 4:00 for like no reason at all I just feel so helpless and angry and frustrated. I feel like there is this thing inside me and I just CANNOT stand it. It drives me crazy and I want to explode.”
Therapist says- therapist stuff
Fellow Bipolar says- “Put cheap dishes into pillow cases and keep them handy and then when you feel that coming on throw one down the stairs.”
Bipolar person- “I am so depressed. I feel so helpless and the thought intrusions are so bad. I have no idea why but I can’t stop thinking about smashing chairs on the concrete steps.
Therapist says- ____________ Therapist thinks- “holy shit”
Fellow Bipolar says – “Why don’t you snap chopsticks or pencils in half. Maybe you just need to hear splintering wood.”
Bipolar person says- “I just don’t know what to do with myself. I am afraid of myself. Afraid of my own hands. I feel so out of it…I just want to drink or SOMEthing.
Therapist says- therapist stuff.
Fellow Bipolar says- “squeeze ice cubes as hard as you can until you wear yourself out.”
I think you get it.
No therapist is going to tell you those things.
And if they are it is because they have a friend who is Bipolar who told them that things like that worked for them.
And then you should probably say …
“So should I just make this check out to your friend then….?……Do you think you could give me her email?…..”
They can’t help us like that.
They don’t get it.
It’s not their fault.
They go to school…they learn about all of this stuff……they think they know all of this stuff….
and then one day a Bipolar walks in and sits down on the couch
and guess fucking what?
This shit is DIFFERENT than the couple who was just sitting there because he is having an affair….
different from the woman with the panic attacks and the aging mother
different from the man whose father thinks he is a failure…..
different even from the person struggling with intense anxiety…
and yeah still VERY different from the depressed guy who was sitting there earlier….
Because this is Bipolar
and Bipolar is different
and everything about it makes everything about us and everything about how we live our lives
We simply don’t participate in the world in the same way. Whether we feel like we are “defined” by our “illness” or not…it doesn’t matter.
Bipolar drags you through “experiences” in your life that cannot help but shape you and all of the tiny little particles of back and forth interaction with the world through whatever channel whether it is physical or emotional or intellectual or spiritual…there is some sort of other in there that is not going away and it makes us different.
mAYbe not even cRAzy…..just different.
So yeah maybe some day you will be able to Google…”Bipolar therapy” and get therapists who ONLY deal with Bipolar.
The number one reason why I think the Bipolar handbook tells us we need to have a therapist is that it is good to have a mental health professional keep tabs on you. The Pdoc is one but most of us don’t seem to get to see them that often.
A person who gets to know you and just sort of keeps an eye on you.
Maybe it can save you in the end.
That would have been a poignant ending
instead I have to add that I have not ever really had one who was good at sussing out my real emotional state.
As we talked about before I have often had to CONVINCE these people that I am depressed or manic or anxious.
In fact one time I was super buzzy manic….sittin’ on the sofa having a little session….distractedly thinking about how when I left I was going to find some cigarettes and somebody to go out drinking with me…..
and the therapist actually said to me at THAT moment…
“Sometimes I forget you have Bipolar Disorder because you are just so together.”
Maybe I will leave it there instead.