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Difficulty Connecting

I feel like a burden. Everyone I know seems to be moving ahead in life and I feel stuck. I still don’t know what I want to do with Covid and its making me feel like a bum and useless. My therapist and I agree its best I keep my social media accounts deleted since I’m bipolar and have severe anxiety.
I struggle with holding down jobs. I have severe breakdowns and I quit. Its embarrassing and I feel like a monster. I had one last week and two of my friends witnessed and now my relationship with both friends feels rocky.
I know my best friend is getting especially tired. I don’t really talk to family anymore.
I feel like a difficult person who’s wishy washy and over emotional. I have an intense fear of being discarded and abandoned. I wish I honestly had money to check in somewhere. If anyone understands bipolar…please help. It’s feeling incredibly hopeless and I’m overthinking every interaction with everyone I encounter.

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I do not know a lot about bipolar, but I’ll do what I know to do, and will be praying for you.

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I’ve never been outright diagnosed with bipolar, but holy crap do I know exactly what you’re talking about! I have a really hard time keeping jobs too. They’re always too stressful for me, which makes me hate how emotionally weak I am. I feel like the smallest things could send me into an emotional outburst or I’ll do something absolutely crazy in front of everyone. I have social anxiety with depression and so I cry really easily. I really fear going off the rails in public and it’s caused me to isolate myself and not want a job that involves people (practically all jobs involve people). So, I’m left living with my parents. I’m stuck and feel like an absolute helpless damn baby. I’m glad to see I’m not the only one dealing with this.

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Hello Rosethorn,

I know living with a mental illness is hard and the fact is that you cannot help it. It may seem like everyone you know is moving forward with their lives, but chances are they aren’t dealing with a serious mental illness like what you have. You have to play the hand your dealt and your goals will look different than most peoples, but that’s okay! Don’t compare yourself to other people because it will steal your joy. Set personal goals with your mental health in mind and work on personal progress instead of comparing yourself to someone else’s progress.

I too have struggled with my mental health and have made a complete fool of myself and had meltdowns in public. My illness also ruined the relationship I had with certain family members to the point where they refuse to talk or communicate with me. I couldn’t help the hurtful things I did because I was severely mentally ill, but I too felt like a monster because of it. The silver lining is that those family members I lost never truly had my back to begin with. If someone can not handle the fact you have a mental illness that is completely beyond your control, you are better off without them. Friends are important, but you don’t need any fair weather friends. You need friends that will run towards you when you need help, not away.

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I am definitely with you on the crying…it takes about two seconds for the anxiety to well up and bring tears to my face. But part of me also thinks it stems from living with dad who was angry and yelled/stomped around a lot when I was a child. Are your parents aggressive? I can’t live with them and have no desire to so I guess that’s what keeps me pushing to stay on my own.

Thank you. This is really helping me to slow down and process. Sometimes I hate that we have to move slower than other people but I appreciate that reminder. I wish I can accomplish so much but I always get super grand ideas and dive in without a plan and then end up setting myself up for failure

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Holy crap yeah! My dad has a really short temper and would lose it over the smallest things if he was having something go wrong that day. He’d stomp or bang things around the house yelling and cursing. My mom, you could never tell if she was going to be mad or not when you went to go talk to her… hmm I guess they were both like that. You never knew what mood you could expect when my dad came home too. They both would just explode on you and you didn’t do anything but ask them a question or be cooking in the kitchen. I never really thought about connecting that too my problem with crying so easily. I wish I could move out so bad but I’m stuck here since I can’t function as a goddamn adult apparently. If you don’t mind me asking, and feel free to message me, but how were you able to live away from your parents?

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You are very welcome. You know that having what you call “super grand ideas” that set yourself “up for failure” because you “dive in without a plan” is part of the symptoms of bipolar disorder. I don’t know if you realized that or if you thought that was just you making a mistake and not being careful enough.

From the sound of it, you may need to ask your therapist about your treatment because it sounds like you’re still experiencing a lot of unpleasant symptoms. Maybe even talk to your psych doctor about what medications you are on, if you are on any, and if they need changed or increased. I can say from personal experience that the right medications can make a world of difference and it doesn’t make you less of a person if you take them. It’s really one of the best routes to normalcy, in my opinion. That combined with a good therapist that gels with you and you can lead a normal and thriving life.

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I hear what you are saying and I kind of had an idea. I will bring it up further to my therapist. I am on a mood stabilizer. I recently signed up for free online group therapy to see if that helps (first meeting is on the 5th). My friend started discussing writing out lists as far as when it comes to planning (we finally had a discussion about how I’m feeling) so before I dive into anything/make a decision…I have to research and write out all angles to whatever the plan is on a piece of paper.
Going to the gym used to help so much. I don’t feel like I can get anything done unless I get some energy out during the day. I’m like a kid. I even got some CBD oil to calm my nerves.

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Those all sound like very constructive things! The group therapy sounds like a great opportunity to hear from other people who have similar experiences. Planning your next steps with a friend sounds good, too. A good brainstorm project can help you get all your ideas out and see which ones are the most feasible for you. The gym and getting exercise in general is fantastic. I know I can’t do anything unless I get my 2 mile walk/jog in.

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Thank you. I think what I’m also finding thats a tough pill to swallow is not everyone believes in mental illness.One of my friends who was a part of my breakdown this past week has been just slowly cutting contact with me. When I try to explain symptoms of bipolar such as the continuous excitement of ideas or the extreme waves of emotions, he just says “You’re an artist, you always have tons of ideas” (we are both artists) or “your zodiac sign is a cancer so you’re super emotional”. It feels so dismissive and I’m tired of trying to prove to people that these experiences are not something that can be just meditated away. I might be losing a friend but I can’t keep explaining myself.

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I’m sorry to hear that. Not everybody understands mental illness. People who have had no exposure to it do tend to explain it away or dismiss it all together. Some people consider psychology as a whole as “psycho-babble” and dismiss real mental illness battles. I used to have a friend who was into New Age beliefs and even thought that hearing voices was a good thing. She never understood that it is Schizophrenia and it’s actually very serious.

I found what has helped me the most was reconnecting with an acquaintance from high school that I found out was mentally ill. Having someone I can talk to who has dealt with mental illness has given me a lot of comfort and the feeling of acceptance. We were never close back in high school, but now we’re best friends.

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Wow this is incredibly helpful. This is giving me a clear view to be a bit more selective with who I have around me. I don’t need pity from people but I don’t want people who believe mental illness is at least real and a part of science…not based off energy and the zodiac. Do you keep any connection with family? I just don’t even feel like talking to mine.

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Glad I can help! As far as my family goes, the majority of my family is very supportive and encouraging. However, my sister and her husband refuse to talk to me. I’m not invited to their kids birthday parties etc but they do invite my daughter. They don’t understand mental illness and think that I am dangerous. To be honest though, I’m kind of relieved that I don’t have to see them because they’ve never been very nice or caring towards me. Even when we were talking, my entire family was in their wedding except for me. And that was just because I was diagnosed with a mental illness. They treated me like a leper. But I genuinely feel better without them. I feel like God has given me so many better relationships that have taken the place of my sister and brother-in-law.

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Wow that’s incredibly harsh. Do you find yourself still getting upset about it or did you make peace with it? I think I’m still trying to find peace with my family despite cutting off a lot of communication. I hear you on “being relieved since they weren’t very nice.”

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I used to get upset about it because I don’t get to see my nieces or my newborn nephew, but recently I feel like all of that doesn’t matter. I chose to forgive them and I feel at peace with it. At some point, you have to let go of what you have no control over and realize it’s for the best. I still wish them well. I send them both birthday cards every year with money just because I want to rise above the negativity and be the better person. But I don’t particularly want any contact either because I know their hearts aren’t in the right place yet.