October 19, 2008
Hi, I am a 36 yr old woman and I have bipolar. I live a pretty isolated life because I never know what kind of mood I am going to be in. I can be the life of the party or I can feel like I don’t want to be around people for days.
When I am the life of the party, people want to be my friend, want to date me, love me. But then they see the down side of me the next week and wonder who that girl was last week. To prevent that, I have kept my circle small. Unfortunately, it was not a good circle and it took me 18 years to figure that out.
Everyone needs support. I don’t have family near me, so I sort of adopted myself into my son’s father’s brother’s wife’s family… hope that wasn’t confusing. In any event, I have known these people since I was 17. They all met me when I was a 17-year-old girl in an abusive relationship with the loser, drug addict, criminal brother. Since then, I’ve earned two college degrees, have a great career, bought my own home, and raised a son with a learning disability and ADHD on my own.
I thought that these people respected and loved me. But, what I realized is that all but one really didn’t. When I was manic, they knew how to use that to their benefit, when I was depressed, they knew how to use that to their benefit as well. When I was well, they had no use for me. If my depression was severe, they had no use for me then either. I had formed codependent relationships with these people.
I am making better choices today about the people I let into my life. With this disease, I think we really do need to be careful about the company we keep. We need to be able to trust the people around us. If we have toxic people around us, they can really do us harm.
People with mental illness are more likely to be in abusive relationships and to be taken advantage of when we are experiencing an episode of mania or depression. I don’t think it’s ever too late to start over.
This is my do-over life. I forgive myself for all of the bad choices I have made during the course of my illness, and I promise myself that I will make every effort to make better choices starting today.