Well, that sucks.

Okay, I know, I’m supposed to be posting pics.  I’ll try to remember that later.  Right now I’m going to purge my emotional overload.  [Possible Triggers Ahead!]

I feel like there are times I just cannot win.  Either I talk to much or I make people uncomfortable because I don’t talk enough.  I try so damn hard to fit in here at work and I freaking hate finding out that I have screwed it up again.  It doesn’t even matter what was done or said at this point.  I feel like the office freak.

Apparently, I can’t do anything right.  I can’t even be bipolar right.  All three of my hospitalizations came from me walking into the hospital and asking for help.  Although I tend to fantasize about suicide when things get bad, I have never actually acted on these desires.  Although I have cut in the past, it didn’t last long because my Mom found out.  I have detailed plans and thoughts about how to fix everything.  But acting on these desires would hurt and disappoint the people around me.  Fear of disappointing others controls me.  What no one seems to see is that someone who is so completely overcontrolled isn’t anywhere close to healthy.  Yes, being out of control is part of the diagnosis…But am I in control if I am living up to everyone else’s expectations instead of my own?

I am about to be 36 years old and this is the first job that I have ever held that I still liked after a year.  I stay in horrible jobs because it is expected.  Yes, I could start looking for another job.  But when the one I had was so horrible it drains me of every ounce of energy, how could I?

I stayed in college long after I realized I needed to leave.  Why?  Because it was expected.  I was already disappointing my parents because I was no longer Pre-Med and taking so long.  Being bipolar was no excuse for me, the perfect child.  I was terrified of telling them I couldn’t do it anymore.  And I had every reason to be.  They probably have never noticed, but the minute I dropped out of college, they stopped seeing me the same way.  Instead of feeling like their support was there as a last resort, suddenly I felt like they see me being unable to cope without that support.  As if they expect to be disappointed.

[BTW, that will probably be surprising to my parents as I have never said any of that nor have they said any of it to me.]

So here I am as a teenager with all these complicated and conflicting emotions percolating in my bloodstream with two brothers who are visibly having much more difficulty with living.  There was at least one hospitalization and one suicide attempt when I was in my teens between the two of them.  And it was made very clear how disappointing these actions were.  I don’t know how my brothers felt and am in no way saying that they felt my parents, grandparents, or other family members in the house were disappointed.  In my teenage mind, the concept of suicide was intensely frowned upon as a selfish response to minor problems.

I get to college and start struggling with my classes.  I don’t make friends the way others do and feel like an outsider since I don’t live on campus.  Still living at home in an explosive situation just puts more pressure on me.  Then everyone moves away.  You might think that would make everything better, but it didn’t.  I was diagnosed as depressed after my RA sent me to the school counselling people when she didn’t see me come out of my room for days during spring break.  After they put me on Zoloft, they quickly switched the dignosis to Bipolar.  One of the first therapists I saw then asked me if I was suicidal.  I told her that I wasn’t.  Then she asked me the real questions.  Do you ever think about suicide?  Well, yeah.  Everyone does.  But I won’t.  Do you think about how you would do it?  Oh, yeah.  My dorm has tubs in a public bathroom.  Since they have curtains, no one would see me untill they came looking.  So I could go in there around 3 in the morning during the week, slit my wrists and not be found until morning.  And the mess would be confined to the tub.  And thus came my first suicide contract.  And I had one more reason not to do what I dreamed of. 

The first time I hospitalized myself was in a January.  Because I didn’t like disappointing people, I told them what they wanted to hear and was released in…I think 3 days.  And I was re-admitted on Valentine’s Day.  I generally count the pair as one hospitalization.  Either one or two years later I admitted myself in either February or March.  This time I tried to be more honest, but the doctor’s almost didn’t admit me to begin with.  Because they weren’t sure I was “actively suicidal”.  And in October when I admitted myself this last time, more than one person said I shouldn’t be there.  It took every drop of courage I had because I was running the risk of losing my job, but I didn’t need to be there in their eyes. 

So my diagnosis (as far as I am aware) is: High-functioning Bipolar 2 with some Social Anxiety and PTSD symptoms.

But apparently the High-functioning part of the dx isn’t understood by all the psychs.  Granted, my current doc does seem to care, but my previous psych was a nightmare.  Sitting in her office crying, I rubbed friction burns into my arms and she never asked about them.  And she actually said during the same appointment, “Well, you know what you need to do, then.”  Yes.  She said that to a bipolar patient talking about having difficulties coping with daily life.  [I know I should have reported her, but I was too worn out by that time.]

The high-functioning part is confusing to me as well.  I don’t understand how I can get to work and do my job, then come home and be unable to get out of bed to get groceries.  I can sit here at work, typing this in and crying, but when I go back to work (I’m on lunch), I’ll be able to focus on that.  Granted my focus won’t be the best, but I will be able to focus enough to work.  When I go home, though, I won’t be able to focus enough to write. 

No wonder everyone sees me as a freak.


~ by theartistryofthebipolarbrain on May 30, 2012.

20 Responses to “Well, that sucks.”

  1. We do what we’re expected to do, when we have no other drive left. I get up, take my daughter to daycare, teach as best I can (though frequently it’s just going through the motions of teaching as I can’t really bring myself to care some days), pickup my daughter from day care, go home, cook dinner, eat, and sleep. It’s expected of me. I keep being told by friends and family that “it’ll get better” or “hang in there” (for non Shoshi people, there’s lots of chronic medical issues I’m helping family deal with). But they don’t see, at this point I don’t care that it’ll get better, or that I should just hang in there. I do it because I don’t want to disappoint anyone.

    So yeah, been there, am there. I’ll cry on the way to work, and on the way home. And when I’m supposed to be the strong one, I am.

    It’s expected of me.

    • You said it so right. Being able to function doesn’t make you any less depressed nor me any less bipolar. I might have to write some poetry now, though.

      As for the on the way to and from work…you need to call me, brat. Love you.

  2. I’m known as a person who can be fine and dandy one week at therapy then before my appointment the following week I am in the hospital. Of course, what that really means is that I wasn’t fine & dandy at all! It was just a very effective mask I was wearing in order to please others. I wear it as long as I possibly can, and when I just can’t anymore, I crash.
    You’re not a freak.

    • That’s the way I am. I can’t tell you how many times people have told me, “But you didn’t act like there was anything wrong.”

      *hugs* Hope you are able to get the right help when you need it.

  3. Massive hugs, as always. I don’t even have the same diagnoses, but read through this post in complete agreement – that’s meeee toooo… I’ve had that same moronic response from mental health services; it’s like they don’t want to waste time on you unless you’re Really Bad, and yet it doesn’t occur to them that they probably won’t be able to accurately judge the relative severity JUST by looking at/talking to you. Grr.

    They’ve fobbed me off too many times in the past (they wouldn’t even acknowledge my social phobia for such a long time, because I was capable of speaking to them one-on-one, and after a long period of depression, I came into an appointment saying I felt a bit less hopeless, and the response was “oh good, we don’t have to give you anything now”. Fume fume fume, seethe seethe seethe…)

    I used to feel defective, even in my defectiveness, but now it just makes me angry. I don’t trust mental health services any more, and I will go out of my way to avoid dealing with them, even if I really need their “help”.

    Sorry, it’s complete Rantville in my mind today. I’m just angry on your behalf, and saddened, and many other things that I probably don’t have the words for. People really suck sometimes, and I hope it gets better soon.


    • Hey, this all started from me ranting, so no problems.

      Although I get so frustrated, I am lucky enough to be able to advocate for myself much of the time. Yes, there are times I am not strong enough, but I usually do. And I am lucky enough to be able to fire my psychs if needed. Although it does take months to get a new one here because of a shortage, I have the option as long as I have insurance. Even when I didn’t have insurance, I had access to mental health care. I had to be a lot stronger and do more advocating for myself, but at least I had access.

      I am sorry you have gotten to the point where you feel you cannot trust them and don’t have other options. *hug* You know I am in your cheering section for getting what you need and deserve.

      • Access is good, and power to fire ’em is excellent! Make use of that one whenever you need to!

        Thank you – as am I, in yours.


  4. I’m sorry that you feel that way girl. I have lived most all of my life feeling that way and trying to run from it. One thing I think is so special about you is that you are a giver and you deserve so much to be given back to you. I wish that people would be trying to please you instead of the other way around. I have never seen any jealousy or selfishness, self-centeredness in any of your writing. You are someone to be proud of. I hate to say something negitive about family, but whether or not you turn out to be a Doctor should have nothing to do with their acceptance. You are great just as you are. Greater than anyone who would be shallow enough to expect something more. (((hug)))
    P.S. I am not just saying these things becasue you are a special blogger friend. These things are why you are a special blogger friend! 😉

    • Thank you for the wonderful compliments! To be honest, though, my family probably has no idea I feel that way and may not be aware their behavior or my perception thereof changed. As for me, I will fully admit to being selfish and jealous at times. I do try to make sure none of that shows up in my behavior. At least not regularly. I am firmly of the belief that there is a certain amount of selfishness necessary for me to stay sane, safe, and healthy.

      I do like to think that this blog is as much for others as it is for me. I do want people to be able to look at my blog and see that someone with bipolar can accomplish many things even while living with the disorder. Additionally, I hope that some people out there read my words and find the descriptions fit their own life in some way. I know describing my emotions 14 years ago when I was first diagnosed felt like trying to dive to the bottom of a 50 ft lake to find just the right pebble. Even 5 years ago, I still had problems with it. So if someone can run across this blog and have that “Aha!” moment, then I have done what I wanted. Helping someone at the same time as dealing with my own thoughts and emotions is truly the best I can hope for.

      *hugs* Hope things are going well for you as well.

      • Yes I am doing pretty well lately thanks! Being that you are a single woman making it on your own with this disorder you have to think of yourself, who else is going to Right when you need someone to? I admire you I really do for sharing your life as a bipolar woman on your own. I think you are doing wonderfully. You need to let yourself be a little weak and not be super woman every once and a while when you can to let off some steam. Then do something for yourself lol.

      • You are too right. One of my best friends suggested I do this as well. I’ll have to see what I can work out in the next couple weeks. Especially since my birthday falls somewhere in the next three weeks. 🙂

  5. Well, frankly, “high-functioning” is not at all a proper dx. There’s none of that in the DSM. It’s extremely hard to define what constitutes “high functioning” with the variability between conditions. It’s not technical medical terminology as applies to BP, anyway.

    But I’m high functioning too, and that basically means people don’t believe the severity of my issues. They have outright invalidated my very well-founded concerns when I have gone looking for help. I’m sorry you’ve had the same experiences; they are really disheartening.

    I’ve never had the guts to hospitalize myself, and always hid my suicide attempts and cutting to avoid involuntary hospitalization. Now I know better, and if I need help, I’ll try it. But I’m afraid they’d turn me away for being “too healthy” too.

    • DeeDee,

      If you get to the point where you are thinking about suicide enough that it worries you, go. Make sure you are honest with them. They always asking me if I am going to act on the desires and I tell them no. But you have to make sure they understand that the desire and dreams/thoughts are getting stronger. Regardless of the fact that we feel as though we won’t act on something, we are still in crisis at that point. And if you truly feel that you might act on the desires, please go. Here in the US (not sure if you are in the US, although I have gotten that impression), short-term hospitals are generally used for patients in crisis. From there you generally enter a long-term residential program, a specialized therapy program, or see your own therapist and psych more often. Most often, short-stay is for medication regulation. But please, go if you feel like you need to. I have had friends tell me that I didn’t need to go, but I realized that if I felt I should be there, it was a huge clue that I needed to go.

      *hugs* Stay healthy hun! You have so much happening right now that is good and hopeful.

      • Oh, I’m not at any risk just now. In the past, I should have been checked in, but did everything I could to avoid it. Now that I know better, I think I’d try to actually take advantage of the services meant to help in those situations.

        Yep, I’m in the US. Most of the time, anyway. 😉

  6. TAOTBM,
    You are an awesome human being who is dealing with a pretty nasty disorder, and learning to live with it as best as you can. I’m sorry you are going through such a rough phase, and do hope you have a great support net around you… like us! Don’t hesitate to write, TAOTM…
    Le Clown

    • Thank you so much for your kind words. They mean even more since I know what is going on with you and yours right now–speaking of rough phases. Please take my happy wishes for you, the Ringmistress, the Whispering Petunia, and Lord Evil Poppy.

  7. Hiya, I nominated you for the Sunshine Award: http://rachelmiller1511.wordpress.com/2012/05/28/sunshine-award/


  8. I was sorry to hear how rough life is right now. I must say that I, too, have had many jobs that I really didn’t like most of the time, and only one job where I really looked forward to going to work. Sometimes the trick is to look for the positives, as small as they may be, and make a major effort to ignore the negatives. It doesn’t always work, but it’s a good approach.

    As for parental disappointment, when you left school to help your mother, I was disappointed in your mother, not you. I have always tried to support what you wanted to do, and not see you as an opportunity for living a second childhood through you. I hope you see that the same way. Any time you want to talk about that, call me.


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