Jump to content
CrazyBoards.org





How hard do you work at trying to seem normal?


Recommended Posts

My first Pdoc had a good analogy: Let's say every person has 100 units of energy when they wake up. In a non-depressed person, they use 30-40 units to hold themselves together, which leaves them with 60-70 units to deal with the rest of the world. Someone who's depressed is using 60-70 units of energy just holding themselves together, which leaves only 30-40 units to deal with the rest of the world, and that's not enough.

 

Before I was dx'd with BP II, I didn't even realize when I was hypomanic, but my friends used to comment on how unusually hyper and wacky I was.

Edited by Dingbat
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My first Pdoc had a good analogy: Let's say every person has 100 units of energy when they wake up. In a non-depressed person, they use 30-40 units to hold themselves together, which leaves them with 60-70 units to deal with the rest of the world. Someone who's depressed is using 60-70 units of energy just holding themselves together, which leaves only 30-40 units to deal with the rest of the world, and that's not enough.

 

Ah, the old spoon theory.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

My first Pdoc had a good analogy: Let's say every person has 100 units of energy when they wake up. In a non-depressed person, they use 30-40 units to hold themselves together, which leaves them with 60-70 units to deal with the rest of the world. Someone who's depressed is using 60-70 units of energy just holding themselves together, which leaves only 30-40 units to deal with the rest of the world, and that's not enough.

 

Ah, the old spoon theory.

 

I love it!  My family still doesn't really understand what it's like day to day to be depressed and how that makes functioning difficult, even with the units of energy analogy. But this spoon theory article is so much more detailed and descriptive in the way she breaks down every "simple" task (e.g. getting ready for work) to show how much effort is required and energy is expended. I am definitely going to pass it along to them!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I get depressed I don't care enough to try, and when I'm manic I'm not self-aware enough to try. I'm getting much better at both, though. When I have been manic in the past I'll be aware that I'm talking at a million miles an hour, making really bad choices, being unreasonably irritable (or downright throwing-shit pissed off), etc. but I really don't care. I always regret not trying after the fact, when I reflect on my behavior and realize I've made a total asshole out of myself.

 

I am familiar with "the mask" though. I've worn it a time or two, when I had the strength.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think that is exactly what broke me a few months ago, what made me realize something "not right" is going on.
I was a massage therapist in a really busy chiro office and I was dealing with peoples "junk" everyday. You have to be empathetic, calm, helpful, focused...with people who are in serious emotional/physical pain.
I was always exhausted trying to keep my face on, putting all of my energy and focus into caring for other peoples issues concerns and pains. I made my hours shorter my days start as late as 4 in the evening so I could get myself out of bed. In the end none of that helped.
I think after doing this most of my life and then taking a career path that pushed it further just broke all my reserve.

This is interesting to hear as something that is common with bipolar...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I feel fortunate ( sort of) because I am filing for soc sec. I am no longer working and do t have to pretend all is well. It took more e edgy than doing the jib, which I did horribly.

I have so often been out of work on short term disability nobody questions me. Which I am great full.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I'm in the midst of depression I *feel* like it's all out for everyone to see, but for the most part people don't actually notice. I guess wearing the mask has just kind of become automatic for me. Also people are really unobservant, and since I'm quiet and not super energetic or happy anyway they don't seem to notice a difference. When I'm hypomanic, my family will be more or less oblivious but my friends notice pretty quickly (partly because I deliberately hide symptoms from my family, and partly because my friends know me better in general). But in answer to your question, *incredibly* hard. Sometimes when I'm depressed I practice smiling in the mirror, just to make sure I can still do it to people's faces. People tend to think I'm fine just because they don't look hard enough, but the cracks in the mask are definitely there. The only reason they aren't bigger is because I can usually feel myself losing it, and start hiding it early on.

If I put half as much energy into helping fix what's wrong as I do hiding what's wrong, I would probably be much farther along than I am right now. That being said, it's really hard to give up the hiding and I feel really vulnerable whenever someone notices that I'm acting "off". It's sort of a delicate balance, yeah?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fitting in has always been an issue for me.... socially especially. There is a fine line between putting in too much energy into and not enough into appearing normal. I also struggle to articulate my face appropriately.... what took away my expressions? My illness? Somewhere along the line something got lost. With depression it is pretending not to be struggling with the burden of life. With hypomania it is pretending not to be on the verge of losing it. Both are equally hard pretences for me. Remember masks are interchangable and work on different levels. They can be factual, deceptive or humourous. If one mask isn't working for you or is sapping too much of your strength try another one.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I usually don't even realize I am not being, thinking, feeling normal. So I don't try to fit in at all. The only time I realize it is when I am depressive-which it has been along time since I have fallen into depression because of messing with meds, so I don't remember.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It depends on how bad my depression is. If it's mild, I can fake it for the most part and appear normal, just a bit quiet. When it's bad, I don't care how I come off. My friends that know I'm BP understand what's going on and know I just want to be left alone. Everyone else thinks I'm just moody, which is fine by me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I only try to cover up my moods at work. Which working 40+ hours a week in a busy insurance office, qute frankly sucks. It's hard. But at home, I'm always what you see is what you get. Whenever I have time off of work I just wish I could drastically cut my hours, or not work at all. But it isn't feasible. And logically, I want to work. I know I would be bored at home. But I want my issues more under control so I'm able to work without feeling like I'm falling apart some days!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

At my last job I tried desperately to do this when I was manic. Instead I got paranoid, couldn't concentrate on my work, talked nonsense to coworkers...the end was not pretty. I was  on unemployment for about  6 months and finally, after that long, started to feel like myself again.

 

So I tried to pretend I was fine,  but in fact I absolutely was not fine, and I think everyone knew it. One of my coworkers asked me if I needed to go on medical leave but I thought she was trying to set me up.

 

But what are we to do? I've not found any employeer that I would feel comfortable telling I am bipolar.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...