Mental illness is more prevalent than people may know. One in four people live with a mental illness. 2.8% of the United States population lives with bipolar disorder. 83% are classified as severe. Those are some meaningful numbers.
Being beautiful bipolar has its extremes. We can be way up, or manic. Or we can be terrible sad or numb, or depressed. Sometimes it is hard for those around us to navigate our moods. I have heard that it may seem like walking on egg shells. We do not mean to be this way. I know, I know, it is our fluctuating moods. We have a mood disorder and for those of us live with bipolar disorder it is severe. I am not sure whether or not we can fault those who turn away from us.
I do not have many friends. I have family I can always count on. I have my therapist and psychiatrist. But as for friends, I do not have many. It is hard for me to reminisce when there is no one who remembers stories of the past. I need those memories, because, like a lot of us, I have brain fog that has made it hard to tell us what happened.
I lost a bunch of friends the first time I tried to kill myself. If I know one thing it is that people do not like to be associated with the crazy. My friends called the psych ward but mostly it was awkward small talk. I was so drugged I honestly do not remember who called except for former best friends. They called, and like I said, nobody wants to be there for us. People want what is neat; what fits in a box. I am neither.
This past year I lost two of my best friends. The first one got got tired of my writing about bipolar disorder. (Hello? That is what I do). We did not have much in common anymore anyway. She was married with 3 kids. I am single and have a dog. On Facebook I post a lot of inspiring quoted because living with bipolar disorder is hard and we could all use some inspiration and understanding. She and I worked and went to the same university. I am not going to lie, it hurt me and I ugly cried. She threw me out of her Facebook friends the next day. She really did not want to be friends.
The other disappeared. I have absolutely no idea why she went away. We were so close. But maybe she outgrew me as well. Husband. Kids. Family. Where do I fit into that equation?
I use to have a big bunch of friends but not anymore. I know I am not the woman I once was, but I am still fun. I still like having coffee with a friend. Marathon phone sessions. It makes me sad when my friends become distant. I need people. I need a support system. I am wearing out my current people.
I need people who I can count on to “talk me off the ledge.” Don’t you? I am prone to anxiety attacks and I need someone to help me, someone on the other end end of the phone. We need friends who care. Friends who have been schooled in being beautiful bipolar. I know it is hard. If it weren’t I would have tons of friends.
But know that these people who leave you because you are not at your ‘best’ suck. It is stigma at its best. This is a great chance for you to enlighten the ignorant about bipolar disorder. You have every right to be sad when people turn and walk out of your life because of your mood disorder. You did not ask for it.