Archive for August 2017

The Bipolar Perspective: Depression with Dignity   Leave a comment

POKER

One of the worst things about being Bipolar is trying to hang on to a bad relationship because you don’t want to trigger a major depression with the trauma of a break-up.  However,  you’re afraid of what being alone will do to your psychological state.  Even if the person you’re with isn’t exactly the Martha Stewart of mental housekeeping either.

Things go through your head like; if I break-up with her, will anyone else ever want to have sex with me again ?  Will I ever find another girl I find this attractive?  Is being miserable with her, better than being alone and miserable?  And, is the pubic hair really greener on the other side?

A major frustration with Bipolar Disorder is that it always poses questions that can never truly be answered.  It’s like playing poker.  It’s bad enough you have to worry when dealt a rotten hand.  But you also always have to second guess what cards are coming down the line.  And sometimes folding seems like the only way to save yourself.

MAKE IT GO AWAY MEDS

In this last relationship, which was on and off for so long it made me motion-sick, I mistakenly thought if I were on the right medications, things would be better.  I’d be able to tolerate everything always being my fault.  That she was always right, even when she was wrong.  The free flowing sewage drifting through her apartment like a small polluted river in Pakistan was due to my neglect.  And, that I ruined her life with bad advice she never once took.  But there is no medication that takes the edge off dating someone who blames the car salesman when she runs out of gas.

With Bipolar Disorder comes a plethora of insecurities.  Mania followed by severe depression does not knock on your forehead and ask to come in to your brain.  It doesn’t call ahead, say it will be stopping by and asks if it can bring some mood-stabilizers. It just barges in unannounced, grounds out its cigarette butts out on your brain, drinks all your dopamine, parties all night and leaves you a suicidal lump of shit lying in your bed under a blanket so depressed you’re too despondent to even commit suicide.   And when you’ve been Bipolar your entire life, you realize there are no “make it go away meds.” So you try and avoid triggers as if someone was going to drag you to an all day Grateful Dead cover band festival.  Moreover, breaking up with your lover, even when you’re not in love with her anymore, is a big one.

ARMS OF THE ENEMY

In my situation, I performed a masterful job at breaking up with the one woman who I could not live without.  I stared depression in the face and said “bring it on.”  I was done with her dirt, denial and disrespect. I was so surefooted and eloquent with my break-up, I repeated it at least twenty-five times.

But as always, after a week or two in the “swipe right” world of online dating, I decided to disregard her misplaced blame and be thankful I found sound someone who wanted me.  I was afraid of being alone and felt depression was about to put me in a wrestling hold, forcing me to smell it’s sweaty arm-pits until the referee pulled the white sheet over my head.

Consequently, I’d apologize for all her shortcomings.  I’d walk on egg shells for the privilege of being on probation.  And, at least once a week I realized yet another way I had treated her unfairly and began to repent.  I could handle being depressed.  I could handle being alone.  But the thought of being depressed and alone shook me to the core.  I needed to put my weary head to rest, even if it were in the arms of the enemy.  So back again I would go.  Each time chipping away at my own soul.

BLOCK PARTY

After a break-up I’d usually come up with some reason to call or text my former lover.  I left something at her apartment.  Or she left something at mine.  Sometimes she’d call me.  Maybe she was about to burn everything I left behind, and wanted to know if she should save my college diploma?  Or, I found a pair of her panties at my place, and wanted to know if she’d like them back before I gave them to a needy family?

But it was an excuse to start communicating, and eventually I’d apologize for her misdeeds and the cycle would begin anew.   It was always the ease of contacting one another that made it so simple to reconnect.  But, when you quit smoking cigarettes, the last thing you do is carry them around with you.  So I asked myself, why was I making it so easy for us to contact one another now that we were broken up?

That’s when I decided to have a “block party.”  I blocked her phone number and email. But I went the extra step by also removing her from my cellular address book. This way she should could not contact me, and I could not accidentally “pocket-dial” her.  My fragile willpower to refrain was not strong enough to resist calling or texting on it’s own.  I needed to take the drink out of my hand.  And, to get comfortable with my own depression, realizing it’s just as bad alone as it was with her.

I’d be a liar if I didn’t say the final break-up wasn’t depressing.  Bipolar Depression is bad enough, without something traumatic giving it a helping hand.  Many a time I found myself questioning whether everything was actually my fault.  So this time I made a list of every single grievance I had.  And whenever I felt like driving an hour to my ex-lover’s apartment so I could randomly run into her, I reviewed my list.  Quickly it jogged my memory and made me want to run over her instead.

HOMEWRECKER

Yes, I was depressed.  But depressed with dignity.  Whenever I read the list of transgressions,  I knew I did the right thing.  Breaking-up was worth freeing myself from the mental anguish brought on by slurping down the swill from a poisoned well.  I was depressed, but proud of myself at the same time.  I could have stayed for more of the same.  But I chose to go.  And go for good.

You can not let your Bipolar Disorder determine how you manage your life.  You can not make your life a constant quest to avoid depression.  You have to dictate where you want to go.  And sometimes you have to walk right into that bad place you have avoided at all costs.  But when you finally come out the other end, you have eliminated one more cavern where depression creeps.  Although you’ll always be subject to the irrational thinking bestowed on you by Bipolar Disorder, you can still stand up to it.  It’s going to make it’s way into your head.  But you don’t have to let it ransack your entire house.

 

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Posted August 18, 2017 by Buzzkill - Official Booksite in Uncategorized