Hey,how are you? Me,I’m doing okay. I can feel the depression nudging at the edges of my brain,letting me know that I’d better not get too cocky or it might take me down with a swift stroke to the back of my knees. So I’m just hanging out,trying to get things done,praying it just stays there,just in my peripheral where I can keep an eye on it,making sure it stays put. This time of year is especially worse for people with bipolar. They don’t know why but the hospitals are filling up and we are all on extra vigilant watch.
So the other day,I posted the link to my blog with a little blurb about how I have come to terms with having bipolar and I wasn’t going to hide it any more. Well the outpouring of love I received was overwhelming. I was so scared to post it.Worried what people would think or say when in fact there was nothing to be worried about. Everyone was super cool.
Then a few days later I was in Starbucks,getting my sneaky ,I need a fourth cup of coffee,when someone I know just gave me a hug,not a hello hug or a goodbye hug,just a hug.She didn’t say anything. Just a hug.You know what,at that moment,I needed it. I had swung my legs over the bedside in the darkness of both morning and my brain. I wasn’t having a good start to the day and this,this just lifted me up a little.Enough for me to take charge and push the monster back in it’s cave.So it made my day. I was so thankful. The best part,she didn’t say anything. you see when people say stuff to you,it can be well-meaning but it just comes out wrong,really wrong and then the anger or self loathing breaks its bubble and you flounce off,day ruined.Done.
So,here’s a few things what not to say to someone suffering from bipolar ,whether or not they are in the midst of an episode doesn’t matter. The reaction might just be stronger.
Don’t say “come on,shake it off” You don’t think I haven’t tried that??over and over again. IT DOESN’T WORK LIKE THAT!!!! It’s a real illness,that’s like telling someone with a broken leg to shake it off and get up and go for a run. Yeah,right,that ain’t happening.
Don’t say “go for a walk,it’ll make you feel better” Are you bloody kidding me? I barely have the energy to make it through the next agonizing minute of this dreadful day without using any of it to take a walk. I don’t want to go for a freaking walk.
Don’t say “I know how you feel” (well unless you have bipolar and have experienced the mess it can make in your life) that one will make heads spin,around and around!!
Don’t say “did you take your meds” that’s none of your bloody business. If I’m having a rant about something that I’m pissed off about,I could be doing just that,having a rant. I still have normal feelings and express them . Don’t assume that I’m having an episode and need my meds that I’m ultra vigilant about because I hate what this does to me anyway.Yes of course I’ve taken my bloody meds.
Don’t say “when are you going to feel better” we hate being ill anyway and that just puts pressure on us to hurry up and get better. You wouldn’t say to someone with cancer “hey,can you hurry up and get better,this you having cancer is sort of getting in the way of me enjoying my life.
You can say,how are you today? can I help you with something,do you want some company (don’t forget to bring the starbucks!!) what are you feeling?This one is especially important because if we are having suicidal idealizations ,we may open up and tell you because really,we don’t want to hurt ourselves.We just want the pain to stop.
Sometimes just sitting with us and not saying anything at all can help so much.
Thanks for listening today :0)