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Losing Friends Due to Your Bipolar Illness

By Laura Yeager
 
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Grand total: I’ve lost two friends due to my illness. The first is my friend Mary, who was with me in New York when I had the nervous breakdown.

Mary saw the whole thing. And in a nutshell, I think it terrified her. I think she had no desire to remain friends with someone so crazy.

It’s unfortunate she had to witness my complete insanity. In many ways, I don’t blame her for splitting when she did. I invited her to my wedding in 1997, six years after the breakdown, and she didn’t even respond.

The other friend I lost right after I came out of the hospital. I told this friend, Barb, that I’d been hospitalized for manic depression. Our friendship was “on the rocks” at that point, and that simple fact, my hospitalization, was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

I have to say I miss both women.

It is true: SOME PEOPLE CANNOT HANDLE HAVING MENTALLY ILL FRIENDS.

Who knows, they might be particularly unstable people, battling some mood swings of their own.

That said, know that you might lose a couple few friends if you tell them about your illness.

The way I look at it is everybody’s got something wrong with her. She might be overweight or have chronically bad breath or be a sexaholic, a binger/purger, a bore; everybody’s got some kind of problem.

With your oodles of problems, you might make others feel comfortable with theirs.

And for the perfect people, if there are some, I don’t want to associate with them.

What’s really amazing is when you truly start to analyze it, your problems might not seem that bad in comparison to others'.

Cherish the friends you have. Love them. Accept their flaws, and they’ll accept yours.

And that’s the truth.

Add a Comment5 Comments

Christine Jeffries

Hi Anonymous,
Thank you for your comment and for being a part of the EmpowHER community.
Are you currently being treated for your bipolar disorder? What medication are you taking? If the medication doesn't work, or stops working as well, do you go back to your doctor to help tweak the dosage or find a better solution? What other options do you use to try and control your condition.
In regard to your relationships, do you tell them about your condition up front, or do you try to hide it? I firmly believe that there is someone out there for everyone. Don't lose hope. Your next great relationship could be right around the corner.
Please let us know if there is any way we can try and help you. We have a new groups section that may be good for you to connect with others like you, or to find other fellowship depending on your situation or interests.

August 31, 2010 - 9:15am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

my problems with bipolar usually affect my relationships with men. at first, i'm sure i seem perfect....but a few months down the line i conveince myself of things and bring them out. and then i cant take it back later when i realize it was parnoyia due to being bipolar and i had embarrassed myself. then i am seen as the crazy girl instead of the perfect girl. i have no insurance and i am untreated. everyday i wake up and know that i cant ever have a happy relationship with a man...i will never know happiness cause god made me this way.

August 31, 2010 - 8:17am
Laura Yeager

I know my bipolar illness could be much worse, although my doctor tells me that I have a very severe case.

I also have a loyal, understanding husband who doesn't mind living his life with me.

I'm glad you wrote. You represent many people.

Thanks.

March 31, 2009 - 6:07pm
Susan Cody HERWriter Guide

Thank you Laura, for your great post!

And to Anon - I am so sorry that you are experiencing this. No matter what your condition, you should not be leading a life of such isolation - that is just not right.

What can we do for you? Where do you live? Please tell us and we will find resources for you, if you would like them.

Your honesty is so refreshing and so heartbreaking - please stay in touch with us and we will find help for you.

March 31, 2009 - 5:47pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

While it certainly is not the worst illness one can have (maybe), having bipolar illness can wreak havoc with many of our relationships, not simply a couple of friends. I have been bipolar for 16 years now, and I have managed to alienate everyone in my family, my husband left me, I haven't one friend and am totally isolated socially. My husband left nine years ago and, frankly, all I have been able to do in those years is sit in my apartment and read, write, listen to music, cook for myself. There was a time, a few years ago, when I developed a really strong relationship with another woman, who suffered from depression that did not respond to treatment. We became great friends, and I treated her as I would a sister. Then, one day she just walked. Did not take my calls, I never saw her again. To this day I do not know what happened. I became so depressed, I attempted suicide. The sudden abandonment just destroyed any sense of self I had. I have lost my siblings, nieces, their spouses. None of them have ever read about bipolar illness. But, they think I am lazy and make excuses for myself. They want to know why it is that I can do some things, but not others. I don't know what to say except I don't know either. It is part of the fact that each day when I awake, I do not know who I am going to be that day. I am very dependent on psychiatric medication, and am not stable enough to work. I had a simply dashing career, was very much in demand in my field and had a great life before this happened. I am saying all of this to make it clear that, yes, their may be professional high-functioning people with bipolar disorder. But more frequently, the disease devastates our lives, our families and friends abandon us, we cannot make new friends, cannot work, are cognitively and socially as well as emotionally impaired, must live with the constant side effects of a multitude of medications and have not gotten to a quality of life that is acceptable for us and for everyone else. When I ask my doctor if I will ever be stable, he reassures me that I have done well since early diagnosis. That is all he will commit to. He says, anything can happen. Great. Just wanted to join the talk and speak for people like me. Thank you.

March 31, 2009 - 5:37pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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