I find it seriously disturbing that because of the way my disorder can manifest how differently I am treated. I mean on a less-than-conscious level. People do it automatically without noticing it. They don’t give me the same concessions or considerations as they would other friends.
When a friend is hurt, upset or emotional we often immediately do what we can to help, or at least sometimes just put out the offer. We bake cookies, we watch movies, we spend time, share a drink perhaps. Maybe we go out to the range and blow off steam by shooting up pictures of their ex. Whatever works. However I have noticed that in dealing with me (or others with depressive, dysphoric or elevated conditions) people act as though they are on a minefield. Perhaps they expect me to react differently. Maybe they feel as though they will get sucked into my deeply involved psychological issues. Or perhaps it’s as simple as just not having the energy to deal with me. However the reaction isn’t merely distancing and indifference, no it gets much worse. People will treat you like an asshole. An interloping shit disturber. They will call you names and get into arguments with you, maybe only on social media but this will probably result in them unfriending you and then never talking to you again. They get downright hostile with you because even though they know that you are bipolar and prone to fits of manic dysphoria they just don’t care that there is an inherent underlying issue.
They don’t care that your reckless behaviour lately is the fallout of self-medicating. Nope, you’re a dangerous drunken jerk and you piss them off. You could endanger their family so why don’t you just go fuck yourself? Forget that we’ve been friends since high school. Forget that they should know better why you are acting out this way… Forget all that. You’re not welcomed there anymore and your problems don’t fucking matter. I want to say that people are selfish and self-interested, self-preserving and judgmental assholes. Well, I can say that because they are, to me. Yet you see them with their neighbour whom they’ve known for a few months and their cat has been hit on the highway. You see them make soup or bake a cake for this person.
I don’t expect you to bake me a fucking cake. However, when you have a full and busy day of people screaming at you and your boss riding you, think about how you feel. Now imagine that while combating a demon all day. One that can possess you and make you say and do strange impulsive shit that makes enemies out of even your closest friends. Imagine that. Think about what that must be like. Wondering if the next time your boss yells at you you won’t come out of a rage-haze fifteen minutes later eating a sandwich with cut and bruised hands covered in his blood. Having no clue what happened until you hear him crying under his desk into the phone for 911. Wondering why you are sitting on his berber tapioca carpet crosslegged and eating the sandwich his wife packed for him. You know it’s his because he has one everyday wrapped in wax paper and you always buy fast-food…
Fortunately the violent extreme episodes have been limited to three but you don’t know what triggers the ‘fight’ portion of your “fight or flight” response. And once that switch gets flipped it has one setting: Maximum. Also, you won’t remember it. Except when fight turned into flight… Out of love? No clue, I digress.
So everything you can do I can do drowning. Or on fire. Or however you want to look at it. Here are two of the primary reasons that I know I’m more intelligent than most: genetics, can’t discount that, and war. I have developed a keenly honed sense of cunning from having been at war with myself for my entire life. Imagine being locked in a battle against someone with every advantage that you have exactly. You share the same mind and you have to outwit them. My mind is an arms race. So yes, I’m sorry that my border skirmish is spilling over into reality and causing some heartbreak on your end. To wit:
“I need you to hear. I need you to see.
That I have had all I can take
And exploding seems like a definite possibility
So Pardon me while I burst into flames.
I’ve had enough of the world, and its people’s mindless games
So Pardon me while I burn, and rise above the flame
Pardon me, pardon me. I’ll never be the same.”
-Excerpt of lyrics from “Pardon Me” by Incubus.
Oh, and my mind is like a junkyard. I keep everything. I remember every lyric. I remember every slight, every conflict and insult. I don’t hold grudges but the heart can only take so much. Especially given my junkyard gallery of horrors, populated with the social atrocities inflicted upon me by friends. The alienation. The double standard and guilt. The regret.
Most of this precipitated by nothing more than a bout of depression or dysphoria, or a combination of the two. Or maybe a flawed medication. One wrong phrase or a few sentences and people are more than willing to throw a whole person away. Because… feelings. And people wonder why disenfranchised loners with psychological problems shoot up a mall. Because you push them out into the wilderness by themselves after years of friendship for no reason at all whatsoever after a single conversation like nothing about your relationship ever mattered and never talk to them again…
I can’t help but totally commiserate with these people. You wonder why the world is broken? Because you are actively breaking it.
Compassion. For everyone, especially those of us who desperately need it the most. Need it the most because whether you see it or not we are taking on your pain at the same time as all of the above. I’m reminded of a small exchange in “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”:
Charlie: There is so much pain. And I-I-I don’t know how to not notice it.
Dr.Burton: What’s hurting you?
Charlie: No, not… not me. It’s them! It’s… it’s everyone. It never stops. Do you understand?
This hit me pretty hard. Because it’s true. Our empathy is too strong and it drives our passions. It’s the reason that we get so upset about good causes and stopping all the injustice in the world. It’s the reason that we care so deeply and in turn become so wounded when we aren’t given that care. We know that it’s hard to see through the conflagration and chaos that we drag around like our own personal pet hurricane. Please just know that it’s there and be nice to us. Know that we are hurting. In ways you have yet to imagine.