How – “How Are You?” and “Are You Okay?” – Do Not Actually Help.

It has been awhile since I have written words. I have found it hard to find the ‘right’ words to say – to describe how I am feeling and what I continue to “go through” each day, as I feel more and more that I will never be able to fully explain “what it’s like” and have everyone else somehow get it. I feel myself growing more and more detached from my relationships, and it just feels much easier to stay alone and isolated while I “work” with three different doctors (all for different reasons) and a suicide peer group to “heal”. I feel like some days I have almost compartmentalized each aspect of this bipolar depression + personality disorder (the new ‘diagnosis’) into neat and tidy drawers within my brain, body and heart, because I am literally avoiding everything and everyone I know that will ruin it (yes, I am negative).

Every time I have any people interactions truthfully, I frustratingly find myself drawn only to the negative things they say or do (even when its one negative word versus hundred positive words), and these words end up crawling around violently in my head for days, weeks, and in some instances, months. The doctors are wrong – you cannot instantly turn that way of thinking off or instantly adopt different coping mechanisms. I have found it is easier to protect myself by just disappearing. And though some days I wish disappearing meant being halfway across the world because “home” does not hold the same meaning for me anymore; and other days, I wish I was literally dead, I have become ‘okay’ for now with being right where I am just avoiding the world. Somewhere in there, decisions have to be made, and, as the doctors would say, “the work has to be done”, but right now I have found my protective nest, and I am perfectly fine just staying right where I am – everything blocked out.

I feel like my mental health has become a “tired, worn subject” for some reason, but in truth, not very many people in my life, outside of professional help, have ever just asked me the literal perfect questions – what does having bipolar depression or suicidal ideations, etc  really feel like for me – what is it like, what does it mean, how can I understand [and those very few that have –> without mothering me, or without having an opinion for self-help books / articles, trying CBT / DBT, or to go see the shaman in the woods]. Basically, very few have asked the right questions (any questions actually) and listened, as blunt as that sounds.

In all honesty, having this mental health issue has consumed me – it is all I think about; it is how I break down everything, every problem; and it is all I want to talk about, but I am not actually sure anyone in my current world gets it, wants to actually get it (actually being the key word), or will ever fully get it (I mean that’s what doctors and peer group are for, right??? – no, wrong). Basically, it feels like it is best not to talk at all then. In some ways, I have stopped responding (in a way that matters) to even the few that think they are asking because my brain cannot handle anything other than getting through each day (the enough people for the day), managing the violent negatives (right now I am literally stuck on a thought from last month where someone close in my life referenced a TV character who portrays a woman with bipolar disorder as “crazy”; it was hurtful) and thinking maybe these few individuals too are not ever going to give me what I need from a support perspective.

That, negative all aside, I told one of my psychiatrists the other day that I wish so very much (if I were to be social again) that people could talk about negatives as freely as they can with positives, especially in groups. I wish that negatives would be the conversation starters – not X’s wedding or Y’s trip. Unlike “regular social” conversations where we can carry over topics like our work, vacation – marriage – child plans, I don’t even know how to bring up things like thinking about death on a continuous basis, feeling detached from the world, and just being miserable (other than from behind a computer screen or a doctor’s closed door – and it should not be that way). In all these group settings, I have sat there for the last few years – in mental illness – listening (perhaps trying to block out) as people talk positively about the happy things in their life, their successes and achievements (something I too used to do, I am not denying that I did not, but now I just stay mostly quiet) and I wonder – do I not receive the right to talk about death and hopelessness without it becoming awkward or ending quickly? Truthfully, I cannot even think of a world where the first thing someone brings up is a defeat in his/her life in a group setting (say for example, getting fired), and this is such a contributing issue to mental health stigma. People cannot talk about things in public unless it “brings them up”. My psychiatrist says that obviously people talk about positive things to feel happy, but sometimes it is to alleviate self-esteem issues as well.  Sometimes I think it really is more about the latter, but in all honesty, I think we are conditioned to talk and think this way (not a great excuse, but it is true) to feel good about ourselves.

I could very well set a precedent for my own world, but I also know some of the people in my life all too well, and suicide, etc. is something considered too private. I have been so very vocal about my struggles with mental health (yes, behind the ‘protection’ of a computer screen), and some people I would have, at some point considered close, will not acknowledge that it exists (by even looking into the difference between bipolar I and II), that I write these “diatribes”, or actually do / say anything meaningful other than “how are you”. Some of these people have visited me in the hospital after I overdosed, and spent their entire visit talking about work (people talk about work too much – why? Seriously, the amount of social gatherings and 1:1s I spend talking about work, rather, trying to avoid the topic of work) or something otherwise completely unnecessary for the moment. I guess defeats are considered private; we cannot talk freely about defeats in group settings like we talk about politics or even religion. It is just not accepted; and even though I could do it myself and face what will probably be five minutes of muffled conversation –>

–> (basically the-same-old-every time expected “how are you feeling” or “are you okay” – with the ‘concerned’ half-smile, which are not helpful questions at all because they do not actually say I am allowed to talk about being suicidal, or that I cut my wrist last month to feel again, or that every day is a struggle to keep my emotions intact. I would rather people be blunt and ask me straight up if I have been suicidal or what the bipolar depression is like, or even ask about my treatment directly; like actually try and get to the root of the problem, not be surface level and think that actually portrays support. Being there for someone with my situation doesn’t mean getting together to ask me about how work is going or where I’m travelling this year. That’s not support. –> 

–> I do not think anyone in my life ever will be that person to step up and raise the issue on my behalf either – like literally at a pause in conversation say “guys, let’s talk about mental health” (okay, maybe not in such a corny way). I sound horrible right now, but in some ways, I have seriously lost faith in humanity. And you know what – this is a contributing factor to my screwed up mind.

I told my doctor that sometimes I feel like dying (firstly above all else, because of hopelessness, do not get me wrong) will actually make the people in my life seriously talk about and analyze what went wrong and finally be conscious about how serious bipolar depression can be.

Yes, I realize I make it difficult and push people away, but what has anyone actually done to try and actually learn after being kicked out, and fight for a way back? I guess because I am posting on social media, or someone catches me laughing for 45 seconds, there’s always a guarantee that I am okay. Right.

We do not need to do anything because she’s not calling about cutting herself. We do not need to fight for her because she will not actually ever do it. She’s already failed at OD-ing three times – the hospital bit is so overdone. Well, little do they know. Anyways – maybe I said too much. Let’s stop now.

I guess I am just a really pent up, angry person.

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