By Go Ask Alice
Hey CB --
The purpose of this post, I suppose, is both to vent and ask for other people's experiences to gauge if my behavior is " normal " for MI.
I'm not even sure if I have friends.
Well, that's not true.
I actually have an extensive social circle, with different groups of friends comprising them. I don't really know how it happened, other than I've known them all for over a decade and we really, really, really like to party. So I have very close relationships with many people, despite being an incredibly introverted person. Anyway, the set up.
The reason I say I'm not sure if I have friends is because obviously in my depressions, I become an introverted, reclusive asshole and can't be found. I don't even pick up my phone or answer texts. I'm not sure why, I just don't.
Of course, when I'm manic, I can stay out hours, days, weeks, months at a time (rapid-cycler). And they like that Alice. If I'm wrangled out in my depression, I'm rather silent and frankly, a different person. You know how the game goes.
It's not like my MI is a secret, not at all. I always manically say, "well, I'm bipolar as shit!" and "I've been on antipsychotics for years!" So they are aware. And, *usually*, there aren't many problems (although I don't think they truly understand that those statements are related to my time away from them). The thing is: sometimes, after a time, I feel like I lose them as friends (especially women, as they require more day-to-day friendship maintenance than males do). Sometimes they're vocal about it, jokingly yelling at me for being distant, missing events, etc. They stop inviting me to come over, or out for events. But it seems like I always find my way back, eventually, and it's as if nothings changed. But I can tell we aren't nearly as close as we once were. And it troubles me deeply.
I miss my friends. I miss my social life. But it's also so exhausting to me.
It doesn't help that my best and most understanding friend, which whom I am basically in her family (her family is staying, thank GOD), is moving away, 15 hours away, with her baby daddy and my godson. I'm heartbroken. She leaves tomorrow. What will I do without her?
Insights, experiences? All and anything is welcome. Sorry if it was too long.
so i have a friend who has for the most part been good to me... i think. we were more like dating but i never called it like that because i didnt like him as much as he liked me. but we slept together and all that stuff for all 4 years in college and we had a long distance sort of thing after that. anyway, i can be pretty unsure of myself and so when i needed a pick me up from hanging out with my badly chosen so called friends, he would be there to tell me they were bitches anyway. the thing was, i feel like i let him to all the work in terms of the insecurities i was feeling. i should have relied more on myself for these kind of things. ever have someone you used too much as a crutch when you were ailing sort of?
he's very sure of himself, which has served him well and has even made him successful. as an african american male, this sureness has especially served him well in my opinion. he isnt easily put down, especially not when racial things come up which do pretty often when you are trying to excel in academia. and this confidence even makes him attractive - its what made me drawn to him. but, it has also been my downfall i realize. i never challenged myself to think for myself and to challenge him on some of the concepts he's tried to lecture me on, especially those concerning on who i am as a person. thats what bugs me the most, that he's so quick to label me because of what i believe is his confidence in his ability to do so. and i feel like its put me at a disadvantage now. i didnt look to myself for answers, instead relying on his lecturing to tell me who i am and when im being socially acceptable and appropriate. it really hurts that he didnt foster more confidence in myself and makes me feel like maybe he didnt care for me as much as i had originally thought. so now, i habor a lot of anger and i feel like im growing to hate him
im sure my problems dont stem just from this relationship and that its been a long time coming, but im starting to hate what the relationship was. is this normal? is this justified? have you ever experienced this?
Dr. Valerie has given me homework for the next couple of weeks. She requested that I write about something, anything, that was hard for me during the day, and to correlate a rational reason for the task being difficult. She suggested I share my thoughts with a loved one, because I am not alone in this. She made me repeat the phrase “I am not alone in this” about five times during our conversation earlier today. I immediately thought of J, and he may very well be the person I send this to later tonight. For my first homework assignment, I will write about apologizing.
I made apologies today to J and A for my behavior last night. My emotional reactions were inappropriate to the events, and although the way I felt was valid, my treatment of them was not fair. Regaining control of my outward reactions to inward triggers has been a challenge for me, for as long as I can remember. A side effect of not being able to regulate my emotions in a healthy way is that later, once I do feel more in control, I feel guilty and ashamed. And then starts the spiral.
The way I felt when A called me out on not knowing what a certain football term meant was reminiscent of how my ex would intimidate me into agreeing with him, even against my will, my better judgement, and verbal opposition. I’m sure she was completely correct, and I don’t doubt for a second that her intentions were innocent and coming from a place of wanting to help. It was the way she communicated the information that triggered unpleasant and frightening feelings of being belittled and controlled. I tried to keep my composure, but I didn’t last 3 minutes until my eyes were welled up and my breathing turned shallow. I escaped to the women’s restroom to avoid certain embarrassment and forced explanations.
A ended up needing to use the restroom about five minutes later (or maybe it was just an excuse to check on me because she’s a wonderful friend) and she asked if I was OK when she walked in. I decided that there was no getting out of this one without opening up to her, so I explained what was going on. Of course, she was supportive, apologetic, and she felt terrible even though she did not do anything wrong. Later, I felt guilty and ashamed that my emotional reaction had negatively affected my friend, and I became worrisome that our friendship would suffer. I needed to talk it through and organize my feelings, and J is the very first person I want to go to when I feel like I’m in a crisis. As it turns out, I managed to make the evening even worse.
With J, I sent a text that I regretted a very short time later. I was on an emotional roller coaster already, and when he implied that I was essentially over-reacting, quite frankly, it pissed me off, so I reacted. He had unknowingly invalidated my feelings, and instead of explaining further and helping him to understand where I was coming from so he could better help me, I shut him down and abruptly ended the conversation.
I sent a follow-up apology by text that was genuine, but I still felt as if the damage had been done and there was no going back. Then the shame and guilt kicked in. To top it off, his response did not offer forgiveness, which of course, I overanalyzed in my heightened emotional state, and I began to panic and experience feelings of potential abandonment that were irrational, but very real to me nonetheless.
Obviously, A and J aren’t going to end their relationships with me over what happened. They are strong people, they care about me and they value my presence in their lives. Still, the fear of losing them was real in my mind, and I felt it until they accepted my apology today.
I suppose that fear is the result of my ex emotionally abandoning me at the drop of a dime. Whenever I made a mistake, spoke to him in a way he didn’t approve of, did not want to sleep with him, or just generally displeased him, he would withhold communication by giving me the silent treatment and hiding my cell phone, refused to give me affection or touch me physically at all, denied money and took my debit card, took my car keys, and threatened to leave me and take my child and all of our money with him if I did not fix the error of my ways. These abandoning behaviors would last for days, until he was sure that I would comply.
Apologies were not accepted by him, and he never forgave me for anything. He believed that apologies were worthless and that I should do what is expected of me the first time, all the time. This is just an example of a tactic he used to control, intimidate and manipulate me, and so that I was dependent on him and him alone. I learned to avoid apologizing, because when I apologized, it displeased my ex, and that never turned out well for me.
A and J are nothing like my ex, but apologizing was still difficult today. I had to apologize to them in order to move forward, so I worked through the anxiety and awkwardness I felt, and of course they both forgave me and all is well.