Sometimes Loved Ones Suck too ya know

There is a lot of the “advice” out there about “Bipolar relationships”…or marriages or friendships….etc

But you know what?

Everything that I have seen focuses almost exclusively or really more like completely exclusively on the loved one…..

on helping and advising the loved one in how to deal with the Bipolar…

That is great and necessary.  Thanks so much for writing that stuff for those people, you writers out there.

I mean yeah.  Bipolar is a bitch.

And we are not the only ones effected.  Bipolar can destroy the lives of people who are not Bipolar.

Loved ones NEED help and support.

obviously.

.

But okay.

What about us?

What about some advice and help and SUPPORT for US as WE attempt to deal with and navigate through our relationships with these normies?

Which can be triggering and damaging.

Why is it always assumed in these books and articles…that we are the ones fucking up?

Because sometimes…

the loved one fucks up.

Just because a person does NOT have Bipolar disorder it does not mean they are a paragon of human relationships

.

whispers——-(Are we allowed to say that? Won’t they just leave us if we complain?)

but they do fuck up

and it is hard

And how are we supposed to deal with this?

What do WE do?

How do we find help, support, advice etc for what to do in these situations?

Situations in which the loved one….lets you down..freezes you out…snaps at you…betrays you…hurts you…..

whether knowingly or unknowingly

and yet once again there is a power imbalance…because we have the diagnosis

.

We are not Always to blame because of our Bipolar…..

though this can be a convenient excuse or reasoning for the normie whether conscious or unconscious.

and Bipolar itself is not always to blame either…

but once again it can be difficult to impossible and tedious and infuriating to prise apart Bipolar from the rest of the relationship.

.

We talk about this all of the time….

that we hate it. that it feels like everything gets blamed on the Bipolar…that we are assumed unable to have normal reactions to things anymore….

we get invalidated….

and we hate it.

Yet

at the same time

we want them to realize and recognize when we have done/said something under the influence of Bipolar.

Sure

this does not sound fair to them.

But does it sound fair to us?

No

not to me

Bipolar is not “fair” to anyone.

That’s not how to works.

It’s not trying to play nice

It’s trying to kill us

so of course it is going to get us to piss off…alienate…and burn out the people who love us

.

So this seems like the part where I start giving this advice.

HA

sorry.

I don’t have any.

I am just bringing this up.

That there is more to managing a “Bipolar relationship” than these books and things let on.

.

So yeah advice…not so much

but I can probably go off a little bit about loved ones letting us down if that appeals?

yes?

If you are a loved one of mine you need to go now.  Seriously.  I love you!

okay…(rubs hands together…stretches arms over head…takes deep breath…)

.

When we start out in our journey after diagnosis we can be relatively clueless.

while we have spent a lifetime experiencing Bipolar we don’t actually know anything about Bipolar

The basic facts are easy enough to catch up on but like i say all the time, those basic facts are not satisfying in any way because they do not even come close to the reality of Bipolar.

We may not know anyone with Bipolar. We may feel ashamed and weird and confused.

therefore it is exciting for us to find blogs, videos, forums, etc that show us the real Bipolar.

That show us people like us, that give voice to our experience, that help us understand unwieldy unruly Bipolar.

Our friends and family….

don’t know shit either.

They may search in their own way…..they may learn those basic facts…. “Bipolar for Dummies and Normies” (ha i wanna write that book!)

but they don’t get how much more there is. How NOT satisfying those boring textbook high school presentation type articles are really NOTHING like what we feel.

So it can feel really important to us that they understand MORE….. that they see what we are seeing….that there are other Bipolars out there….fun smart cool “normal looking” Bipolars.

We may want them to read what other people write and say and create (or what we create or write) in order to say…

Look look look it’s not just me! Look at all the other people out there like this! Read what this person is saying! I feel JUST like that! Now you can understand me more!

Maybe we feel that if they read what somebody else has written about Bipolar…

that we won’t have to say it.

Because some things about Bipolar are fucking hard to say.

.

Maybe we want them to respect us more when they see and hear what Bipolar is really like.

Maybe we want them to realize how much they don’t know.

Maybe we think that sharing our own and other thoughts and feelings and rants and desperate monologues and poetry and art and all of those Bipolar vlogs….

That they might

UNDERSTAND

a

Little

Bit

More

.

And as far I’m concerned “support” is all well and good

but what will really save a Bipolar life is

UNDERSTANDING

So it IS a crucial need

and it IS a desperate longing…

The longing for loved ones to understand….

But

As far as I can see some loved ones for what ever reason may not invest like this.

They may not read the books or articles or emotional emails that you send…

Or they may but forget to say anything to you about it…

Or they may say something unintentionally dismissive.

.
They may say something brief and kind but lonely making.

.

In general I think people have a hard time seeing how certain things apply to them.  I think most loved ones don’t really understand…..

First…

that this is a CAUSE.  This is like any other ‘ism’ ….racism, sexism, homophobia….

and it will never be enough that the people on the inside (those discriminated against) raise their consciousness.

Everyone has to care.

Especially loved ones.

They need to care not just about their individual but about ALL of us.

AND

Second….

that we really need them to be invested and aware of Bipolar….our own Bipolar…..us alone.

.

I get it.

Obviously, Bipolar is hard for everyone and it is hard to know what to say in the face of another person’s suffering.

.

But this is my blog and I’m not talking about reality and I don’t care what is “hard” for other people.

I’m talking about US and our suffering and our needs and our experiences. And mine

Because here is the truth…if loved ones did research too and really looked at the things we shyly ask them to read or see…..

then they WOULD understand more.

And that would be REALLY FUCKING NICE

.

And I recognize that every one has different personalities, temperaments, strengths that make them suited for different kinds of support. One person knows how to make you laugh…another is always there to pick up the slack in your household…etc etc

And one of the great skills we humans learn as we mature is accepting other people for who they are not who we want them to be.

So yeah. I get that! Totally.

But I’m not talking about that in this post (well I mean I just did but you know what I mean).

What I am talking about is…..

the great panging desperation to be understood as if your very survival depended on it.

.

This thing about wanting loved ones to understand….

we know that they can never completely understand what it is like….

but yet we need them to try and to get close….

Because….

I know I talk a lot of  good shit on here about how you’re not alone and how we all understand each other’s suffering etc

and that is all true

but

we all know that the internet doesn’t make up for the fact that in the real physical world…

we ARE alone….

and that we may not have anyone who loves us and also understand us

How can you not feel alone?

We…the Bipolar online community….do not actually make up for…..

being so alienated from the people we love and who love us.

.

We are on the other side of a river from them.

And they don’t understand that.

That THAT

is

how lonely

it can feel.

.

And yet…..

They have their own lives right.

It is enough work to love a Bipolar without also having homework.

That’s why we don’t want to out and out ask them to do stuff…..read stuff….talk about stuff….think about stuff.

We already feel like the biggest problem pain in the ass there is.

We are already afraid they will hit their limit and leave.

So of course we’re not going to give them a reading list.

.

Their lives are continuing.

They are moving on while we are dancing through fire with scorpion backpacks.

They ask us how we are doing….

We adjust the scorpions, plaster a small smile and say….

“eh ya know. I’ve been better. How are YOU?”

We feel like we have been in a fiery wreck and are on life support in the hospital and everyone else is just thinking about if they should have another string cheese or eat an apple instead or if the kids really need a bath tonight.

And we are kneeling on rough carpet trying to stop the swirling crap in our brains long enough to find clean (or any) clothes to put on.

.

….they get to leave Bipolar…

whatever crap they go through

they get to live in a clean brain…a non disordered brain….a brain that isn’t trying to destroy them.

they don’t have to live with Bipolar in constancy…

They get to hang up the phone and while they may worry about us and it may suck…..

they aren’t IN the Bipolar

the way we are.

They say they have to go and we say “yeah sure…no I’m good….thanks for listening…love you bye…”

and what they don’t know is how hard we worked to arrange our words into something that sounded “normal”

and what they don’t see is our face smashed down on the kitchen counter … unable to stand upright..

because of a problem in our brain….

.

They can’t reach our pain.

They may hear it in our voices…or see it in our faces….

But they don’t know.

If only (and I’m getting utopian here) they could.

.

And it isn’t just about learning about the disorder but that seems to be what I focused on here.

Sometimes they say the wrong thing.

Or nothing at the wrong time…the time when we needed something…

Perhaps they lose their own shit…..

Perhaps they say damaging hurtful things.

Perhaps they disappear….physically…emotionally…

Maybe they consistently under or overestimate the “illness”

Maybe they deny it

Maybe they try to convince us we are strong enough not to take meds or that people are so over diagnosed these days.

.

Maybe they weren’t there when we needed them…in whatever way it was that we needed them.

.

It is not fun to talk to people who don’t get it……It is not good to share with people who think they do.

That is for sure.

So we need them to both

TRY

to get it

and

to

Understand that they will

never get it.

.

The striving of loved ones to understand combined with respect and appreciation is like a salve on some of the wounds of Bipolar 

.

They don’t understand that when we are in an “episode” especially depression we might not be able to handle talking to someone who doesn’t really understand in some way what we are going through.

That it is too hard…too draining…too triggering…

and so if they do not at least try to understand as much as possible…

then we may need to disappear

And that is not good for our safety.

As with all of Bipolar…it is truly life or death……but no one understands that.

.

I don’t want to make all of the loved ones in the audience feel pissed off and uncomfortable…

(although if you regularly read this blog than you are the most amazing kind of loved one.)

thinking or saying to themselves….

“What the flying fuck???? We are doing our BEST. Don’t you get how hard it is to be on the other side?”

and I will say

No

I do not

I only know THIS side.

And this is a blog for this side

And I’m going to tell those of us on THIS side…

.

That I think we are ALLOWED to be upset…that we are allowed to feel let down.

That we don’t always have to feel guilty and shamed and like we are a huge burden

and that we should just be grateful people even stick around.

We didn’t ask for this

We don’t want this.

And now you must go read I am NOT/SO sorry that I am Bipolar.

It is just what I want to write here now but I already wrote it.

.

So here is my advice…yeah I thought of some

.

We may never get the support that we NEED but we can learn to live with the support they CAN GIVE

.

.

12 comments

Add Yours
  1. morgueticiaatoms

    Thanks for this. After reading numerous mental illness threads on Reddit today in which the consensus was, leave the mentally ill person before they drag you down with them…I needed some perspective as I was starting to feel as if I’d grown horns and was giving off noxious ebola laden fumes. Most of my relationship failures have been because I am “too moody” and wow…Being told I am bipolar should have clued them in but they didn’t care enough to get educated or make an effort…And I end up feeling like the scourge of the Earth but I can try with all my might…it won’t make the other person try harder.

    Just, thanks for the dose of validation and perspective.

    Like

    • bipolarfirst

      ANYTIME.

      Validation and perspective buffet

      And I know! I get so tired of all of that shit about dealing with your mentally ill person that is written the same way one would write about dealing with a cat that claws your furniture and won’t use its litter box.

      SERIOUSLY NOW. PUHlease

      Liked by 2 people

  2. AndrewS

    SO good. You have been on fire. When, last winter, I washed ashore yet again on my parent’s doorstep, life in ruins, a wrecked ghost of myself, I handed my father three books. He read them. Meant a lot to me. Our relationship has totally changed. I think this is exceptionally uncommon. Indeed I think anguished loneliness and ever-deepening isolation is the tragic rule, not the harsh exception. It’s not that he “gets” it. (He is a very reserved, unemotional fellow.) It’s that he is now aware there is something he doesn’t get: something real, grave, not fictive, or a convenient excuse. I feel…respected…and forgiven, supported. “Scorpion backpacks” is a keeper:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • bipolarfirst

      Thank you so much. I am glad you like it. I guess I just have a lot of bees in my bonnet lately 🙂

      This was once again an eloquent, thought producing comment.

      “Indeed I think anguished loneliness and ever-deepening isolation is the tragic rule, not the harsh exception.”

      YES. Said so well.

      “It’s not that he “gets” it. (He is a very reserved, unemotional fellow.) It’s that he is now aware there is something he doesn’t get:”

      Yes. nodding.

      I am super curious what the three books were……..

      Liked by 2 people

      • AndrewS

        Just standard fare. Touched with Fire, An Unquiet Mind, and a primer called Bipolar Disorder: A Guide for Patients and Families, by one of Jamison’s colleagues at Johns Hopkins (I think), Francis Mondimore. (It’s weird they still name boys Francis, in this age of bullying.) The first two opened his eyes because they get “inside”. My own favorite is the first. All my friends gathered together; so eloquently insane;)

        Like

  3. Ava Savage

    Boy I wish I had known about your blog a year ago. My ex would say I was crazy, when I knew he was cheating. He would say I was over reacting or too sensitive when I would cry or need comfort. He would instead threaten to leave me. He even told his son I was paranoid once when I wasn’t. His son had kicked my 10 yr. old dog, I was furious not paranoid. Thank God I stood up for my dog and left his sorry ass. It is empowering to know now I am better off without him and I somehow had the strength after 17 yrs. of mental abuse to leave.

    Like

    • bipolarfirst

      Wow! That is empowering. You are so inspiring.

      This is awful though. I am so sorry. I guess this brings up another point that sometimes people may exploit the mental illness….using it to control and manipulate the person. What a sad thing? Do you know if this is something that happens often.

      It seems to me like it might. I can’t stomach googling it right now. But anytime there is a power imbalance like that things get hairy.

      I wasn’t here a year ago! I haven’t been here for very long.

      Like

  4. darie73

    It was when my twin sister kicked me out of my uncle’s funeral for being “too fidgety”, “too loud” and “weird” that I started to really come to terms with things. No matter how much she read or my father was told they were never going to understand. I am now just realizing I need to stop beating them over the head with explanations, proof, documentation and validation. It’s gotten to the point where all we do is argue. I don’t want that. I’m also terrified of being committed. I’ve been physically ill lately and had to give my permission for my sister to make decisions. This scares me. She’s never been in an institution. I never ever want to be in one again. It isn’t easy. I’ve tried to show her stuff written here because it’s right to the point. Didn’t work. Do you give up? I don’t know.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s