Working to end the stigma and discrimination of mental illness.

Blog: Sad by Jessie Close

Do you know someone who hasn’t forgiven you for the way you used to be?  Someone who you did such terrible things to that they can’t turn the page with you?

Bipolar disorder is a very difficult illness to have and to manage.  It controls the person who has it and it hurts them, but, for the people around that person, the scars may run even more deeply.

I remember years ago I had a friend who is actually a councilor in Bozeman.  She broke off our friendship because she told me that I changed too much – I was first one thing and then I switched to another.  She couldn’t handle our friendship anymore because my changing upset her.  Why did she not see that I was living the bipolar nightmare?

When I defend myself for my past behavior I feel so very guilty for what I have done.  I feel like I’m faking the fact that I lived under the influence of mania and depression and alcoholism; that I was a bad person and that anything I did in the past deserves the falling away of friends.  Just thinking about the friends I have lost fills me with a sadness so deep that I simply have to wait it out.  There’s nothing I can do about how I was but live a more caring, productive life now.  It’s unfortunate that I have these spells of guilt and melancholy… but I do.

I find myself sitting very still, even when alone.  I keep my head down when walking in public which is at least better than tripping the way I would when I was younger, so terrified of people seeing me as I was.  Of course they would see me but I created a glass bubble around myself.  I knew people couldn’t see it but I didn’t care; it protected me.  Even if they could have seen the glass bubble I wouldn’t have cared.  And it was only in the glass bubble that I didn’t care. Outside the bubble I was terribly awkward and fled to be alone whenever I could.  But it’s the sitting very still that bothers me.  I don’t catch myself as often as I’d like and I don’t know why.  There is a connection between my guilt, my shrinking feelings toward myself, connected to the memories of how I was, connected to the behavior others remember.  And I’m so sorry for everything manic I ever did, everything alcoholic I ever did, and I’m tired of it making me shrink.  Depression was when I hurt myself, mania was when I hurt everyone around me.  I’m not whining, it’s just a fact.

If I think about where I live and who I live with, (my dogs), all of this makes perfect sense.  But I’m afraid I’ll wake up one morning and I’ll be back to how I was and I won’t even know it or if I know it I won’t care and I’ll get in my car and drive 70 mph down the dirt road and run into the neighborhood bar and sit on a twirling bar stool and scream for vodka and everyone will look at me like I’m CRAZY!

Do any of you have that same fear?  Do some of you hide yourselves so you won’t hurt anyone ever again?  I do.

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