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Unsure if I should renew my friendship with a bipolar woman.

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Bumped into a woman who was my friend She was on her way to a bipolar support group. I previously decided to end the friendship. Reason was she would be really thoughtful and then sometime later she'd turn on me. This would be anywhere from a couple months to a few weeks. This was her pattern with everyone who was ever her friend so it wasn't that she targeted me out. I don't mean to imply everyone with bipolar is like her. 
When she turned she was really mean spirited. She said things that were downright cruel. It was as if she looked for what someone was most sensitive to and used that to really hurt that person. That includes yours truly. 
So no idea why I did this. I said hello to her. I called her name. 
She told me she was on a regimen of meds that finally stabilized her. Mentioned . First for her sake and everyone else's she is stable. Realize my query may be unanswerable. Did I give enough information?

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I'd give her another chance, but at the same time I wouldn't go into too much detail about your life.  I'd keep it superficial at first, then go from there.  The only problem I can think of is if she became unstable while you were friends again (if you decide to become friends), meaning that I wouldn't want her to be really mean spirited and cruel to you again.

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Sometimes people hold grudges and those things gets out of proportion while symptomatic, at least for me does.

I get oversensitive.

I can remember a bunch of things that people said to me while I was symptomatic.

I wasn't aware of my disease.

A thing like:

"- You're ridiculous".

I think Mania can be ridiculous.

I'm ridiculous but that got me on that day, because I was telling about some plans that were really important to me and this friend just said that.

I'm unsure that I want to renew my friendship with all my friends that unfortunately are all undiagnosed.

If you want to get close to your friend I would suggest asking if she holds any grudges, because maybe without you even knowing you could have hurt her or maybe while symptomatic she can imagined or exacerbated that.

I would just ask that because if you think the friendship is worth maybe you'll have to work this out and I would start asking about the grudges because I would like someone to ask me that.


Edited by uncomfortable thoughts
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I want to add to what I wrote above ... when I wrote:

"The only problem I can think of is if she became unstable while you were friends again (if you decide to become friends), meaning that I wouldn't want her to be really mean spirited and cruel to you again. "

I guess my point never got through (I didn't finish the sentence ... sorry!) ... When I meant that I wouldn't want her to be like she was, is to disclose only a couple things here and there so If she ever did turn on you again, she wouldn't have much to say back to you that was mean-spirited.  If that makes sense.  I would take it slow.


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From the other side, I'd give anything to have a second chance with some of my old friends.

I know I could be an awful person before I was properly diagnosed and medicated. Like so many folks with bipolar illnesses, I was on ADs, which could make me even more obnoxious than I might have been otherwise. I can't just go back and apologize, though, because I'm not exactly sure what I've done or what I might have said. I just know that they seem to see through me now or keep me on the outermost edges of any group we have in common.

It's rarely a bad thing to give someone a second chance. Keep your eyes open and walk in carefully, and you should be fine. Who knows? This might turn out to be really good for both of you. Bipolar life can be pretty lonely sometimes.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Your friend regrets what she did before she had meds, and it sounds like she made an indirect plea for a second chance with you. I think you should do it - proceed cautiously as others have suggested.

What I wouldn't give for a second chance to make amends for the rotten treatment I spewed on those who were kind to me . . .

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I'm on meds and still occasionally a horrible person. Trust me, if someone isn't a regular at the job, they feel absolutely disgusted with themselves. I feel exactly as the woman you have in question. I'm with @melissaw72 on keeping it superficial at first. A quick list on considerations:

Neither of you are the same person anymore. Maybe she didn't know about her illness before. But maybe she is still tweaking her meds and might be a bit wonky for a few weeks. And god knows how long it's been for you two, but I sometimes enjoyed re-making my friends every couple of years. Cuts down on the anxiety of strangers. Most people aren't totally bad. It's okay to struggle with friends. No one is perfect. And she might be sorry, wanting the door open a crack back to normalcy.

I know the first couple of people I told went was sort of like what she did- quick mention, guage reaction, move along and think for weeks. Unless you two both have too many friends and you couldn't possibly squeeze another in (curse you, if so), then throw caution to the wind and see if you get a friend out of it.

You could be besties, you could be just people who see each other at other peoples' homes. It's okay to be either. There is a whole spectrum of friendship, and each variety is a good one. I love my surface friends. It's like having a playground that's always sunny. Full of dirt in weird places, but I get to go home so who cares!

It is hard to rebuild a friendship on social clues and misunderstood signals. Use words, use precise words. But this isn't an intervention. Be okay saying "I'm sorry we grew apart, we just turned into two very different people." And be okay with the non-apology-apology "Yeah, I wasn't in a good place then." But other than that, be honest and move forward with a positive attitude about the fact that you two are acting like adults, and already that's better than most people.

And the number one golden rule most important thing is do not define her by this illness. Unless it magically pertains to the conversation (and in a kind way), don't call her "my bipolar friend" or assume that being bipolar makes her an expert on it. Hell, we're all here because none of us have our shit together. Treat it like she has diabetes or a missing toe and not a stamp on her forehead in blinking neon. It's cool to watch for signs and back off when she gets wonky. But don't call her on it unless you feel she is in immediate danger. And don't assume. My dog was sick for a week and everyone wanted to talk to me about my depression getting out of control. Not even close. She doesn't have a crazy thermometer and you are just re-meeting her, anyway.

In all, I say go for it. What do you lose? A non-friendship with someone probably unstable? Okay. But what could you gain? Well, if a friend isn't enough, then ugh. Maybe she is a good conversationalist, or reads good books, or needs a jogging partner but not a shoulder to cry on. Be a friend either way. 

Edited by 3xEmonkey
minor typos
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