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.
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?
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.
at the same time
we want them to realize and recognize when we have done/said something under the influence of Bipolar.
this does not sound fair to them.
But does it sound fair to us?
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.
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?
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
And as far I’m concerned “support” is all well and good
but what will really save a Bipolar life is
So it IS a crucial need
and it IS a desperate longing…
The longing for loved ones to understand….
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…..
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.
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….
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
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.
it can feel.
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
to get it
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
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