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How hard do you work at trying to seem normal?


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When you are symptomatic, what lengths do you go to try and blend in with everyone else.  I often find that I spend more energy at trying not to alarm people with my symptoms than I do with actually trying to cope with them.  When you are depressed, how much energy do you expend trying to put on a brave face and not seeming like a total basket case.  If you are manic, do you spend more time trying not coming of as an agitated, irritable person than you do actually working on the episode.  Sometimes I think I put more work in trying to seem not crazy that I do on working to control my symptoms.  Same deal with anxiety.

 

Does it seem like you spend more time and energy on trying to fitting in than you do on actually trying to get better?

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... I often find that I spend more energy at trying not to alarm people with my symptoms than I do with actually trying to cope with them.  ...

 

Does it seem like you spend more time and energy on trying to fitting in than you do on actually trying to get better?

 

Yes, absolutely. I tend to have less of a hard time with depression; most people can relate to that somewhat and I've made up lies on the spot to justify depressive behaviors I didn't realize I was exhibiting. People tend not to look too hard at those excuses. I don't think they really want to know the truth.

Mania's a whole 'nother fruitcake, though. For years, I had trouble recognizing when I was in a hypo-/manic episode and my family had to tell me (at which point I usually exploded and accused them of all sorts of nasty stuff; not fun memories). I can't be sure how many times I've made other people uncomfortable while manic, but I have made a huge effort since my diagnosis to work on things that I can recognize objectively. The hardest things are slowing down my speech, keeping my expression soft, and making sure I articulate my face enough (otherwise, it tends to get "stuck" in a scowl, so I'm told).

I'm not sure whether I'm successful at not seeming like a nutcase, but I like to think it all helps me stay out of the psych ward, at least.

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This just happened to me on Wendsday. I was in a foul foul mood and tryed my best to cover it up and be jovial. I thought it worked then my freinds asked me if I was having a bad day. Cover blown.  But I spend a ton of energy at trying to cover it up. Except around the pepple who know i'm not normal.

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As an abused child I became an expert at looking/acting normal my whole life.

I've only had one real manic episode (and a couple hypomanic) but my main problem anymore is depression at times. Only those super close to me can tell.

I never thought about how much energy it takes, but I'm sure it wears me out but since I'm so used to it, it seems normal to me.

Thankfully my meds pretty much work and I'm pretty stable, so it's not much of an issue anymore.

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I call it putting on "the mask" and its the face I wear in public to prevent friends/family/others from knowing I'm in distress (either depression or hypomania).  It sucks a lot of energy out of me, as you said eldorado.  I do find that more energy goes into maintaining the mask than into dealing with my symptoms.  However, when I'm in the Pit of depression, I can't hide the way I feel...I just don't have it in me.

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Does it seem like you spend more time and energy on trying to fitting in than you do on actually trying to get better?

absolutely yes.  i know spending too much time in isolation is bad for all of us, but it's one of the reasons why i spend so much time alone.  when i'm alone, i can work on getting better instead of constantly working at perfecting my "sane" performance.  the more time and energy i spend pretending, the sicker i get.

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Even though i think i spend a lot of extra energy trying to cover up behaviors i find that putting meself in situations where i have to act normal actually provide a little relief. I even feel more normal for short time and forget for a brief moment how horrible i am actually doing.

But ulimately i dont force myself to do that as much as i should and just lock myself away as much as possible. Blah....

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I call it putting on "the mask" and its the face I wear in public to prevent friends/family/others from knowing I'm in distress (either depression or hypomania).  It sucks a lot of energy out of me, as you said eldorado.  I do find that more energy goes into maintaining the mask than into dealing with my symptoms.  However, when I'm in the Pit of depression, I can't hide the way I feel...I just don't have it in me.

 

THIS.  So much this.  I try to be congenial and funny in public and act like I'm doing okay, but I can be totally screwed up to heck inside, although I'm not sure that my mask is trying to fit in as much as it is trying to keep up the appearance of not being as sick as I am.  I've come to terms with and almost revel in my being quirky and unusual, but hiding the distress is tiring but something I try very hard to do and sadly,  I'm getting so depressed that I can't hide it and that depresses me more because I don't like getting the "You poor thing" looks in public.

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I was also abused so I learned how to pretend to be normal. Sometimes I don't even know how I am feeling. It is very tiring to play "normal" especially when depressed. I know I have that look of mental anguish on my face and I can't take it off, not even at work.

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When I'm low enough, I honestly don't even try to cover up my depression. If it makes people uncomfortable, I don't care. I just don't have the energy to put on "the mask." 

 

Hypomania on the other hand... I have no idea when I'm hypomanic until after the episode. Like A208B, I shout all kinds of nasty things at people who accuse me of acting strange or hypo. When I've had transient hypomanic symptoms (mild hypomania), I just act like I'm in a super good mood and people think I'm awesome, so no need to hide anything. 

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When you are symptomatic, what lengths do you go to try and blend in with everyone else.  I often find that I spend more energy at trying not to alarm people with my symptoms than I do with actually trying to cope with them.  When you are depressed, how much energy do you expend trying to put on a brave face and not seeming like a total basket case.  If you are manic, do you spend more time trying not coming of as an agitated, irritable person than you do actually working on the episode.  Sometimes I think I put more work in trying to seem not crazy that I do on working to control my symptoms.  Same deal with anxiety.

 

Does it seem like you spend more time and energy on trying to fitting in than you do on actually trying to get better?

 

 

I am so used to trying to look normal on the outside, that it is automatic. I don´t really have to put an effort into doing that. It is harder for me to tell the truth, and tell my relatives that I am not feeling well. Sometimes they don´t even believe that I am feeling bad, because I have a "normal" face

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When it's a depressive episode, usually only one person really knows that I'm fucked up and that would be my SO. My dad lives here though, and while I try to hide it from him as long as I have the energy, he always knows something is up even if I'm smiling and joking. Must be a parent thing, I don't know.

 

Right, when I'm depressed as hell, I try VERY, VERY hard to act like it isn't happening. I do it until I no longer have the energy to do it anymore, and in that case, I just hide. I hide from everyone which sets off alarm bells, so I'm really hiding nothing in that case, but it makes sense at the time.

 

Manic? I don't think that it would occur to me to even try and hide that shit as, for the most part, I feel really good and NEED to show off how totally fucking awesome I am. THAT is harder for me to hide because it's really hard to control my actions or what comes out of my mouth. I mean, there is NO filter and I couldn't fabricate one. I've embarrassed the shit out of myself doing that. 

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Manic? I don't think that it would occur to me to even try and hide that

shit as, for the most part, I feel really good and NEED to show off how

totally fucking awesome I am. THAT is harder for me to hide because

it's really hard to control my actions or what comes out of my mouth. I

mean, there is NO filter and I couldn't fabricate one. I've embarrassed

the shit out of myself doing that.

Yeah, that. That and the cognitive symptoms, like opening my mouth and an unintelligible word comes out or I stop midsentence and don't know what to say after that.

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Ah, I just remembered how hard I try to be normal when I'm psychotic. Now, THAT is hard. 

 

During my last episode I told my friends that my thoughts were leaking out of my head and that the sun was watching me. 

 

Needless to say, I am extremely embarrassed. 

 

When I'm psychotic, I'm paranoid and suspicious so I act really jumpy. That's pretty hard to hide. 

Edited by Parapluie
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You know, to be honest, I tend to get swallowed by an episode, n thus I get a bit nutty first, n then walk around trying to sweep up the mess afterwards. That is, I lose my shit because I'm cracking, then I realize I've lost my shit, turn around n apologize or whatever n try to make up for or cover up my mistakes or failures because I simply lack the insight n control needed to grip the situation before it, well, becomes a..."situation," if u know what I mean. So I spend more of my time fretting over how I'm gonna make shit right with people again bcuz I've done gone batshit rather than trying to plaster a smile and hide the crazy. I'm not together enough to hide shit at the moment. When somethings not right in my world, this is known to those around me pretty quickly.

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If I am going through hell, I do my best to look as if I am not.  I think I pull it off pretty well actually because no one really asks about whether I'm (symptomatic) or not.  In general I might be asked, but rarely can people tell I am hallucinating, for example, at the time I am.

 

Otherwise, I am just me.  What you see is what you get.  I don't want to deal with people who judge/treat me a certain way.

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I haven’t been “ normal” or not
in the middle of some sort of episode for so long I don’t know any
other way to live. It was worse when I worked 40+ hours a week. But
I have learned from a young age to internalize and not let others see
the weakness or that you are having an episode by putting on my
normal person happy mask everyday. Just like putting on my shirt I
put on the mask. I often wore it all the time, around family and
friends and where I am currently I even wear it around the people
trying to treat me I guess because I am trying to cope and don’t
know another way. So yeah the mask is what I wear.

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