How Brushing Off a Bipolar Loved One Can Trigger Potentially Dangerous and Erratic Behavior: An Open Letter to the Best Friend Who Unintentionally Broke My Heart Yesterday.

My best friend put me through a world of pain and emotional exhaustion yesterday because they were too stupid to pay attention and take my disease seriously. I don’t mean that they’re really stupid, that’s the pain still coming through. Like most of my environment, my best friend doesn’t understand how bipolar disorder works and what I require from them: the friend I trust more than anyone. To get a more clear perspective, yet protecting their antonymy, I woke up still exhausted from the day before’s not-so-great and isolating day that I kept to myself due to emotional unavailability. Not wanting another Wednesday, I felt a panic attack coming around 8:30 am before work and reached out to my trusted best friend the best way I could without being irrational or alarming:

Sometimes I want to be bitter at the world because I don’t have help. I get so overwhelmed with how hard I try to repress how angry I really want to be that I make myself sick like now where I’m going to throw up. Tell me that’s a normal feeling. Bitterness is wrong, but I feel it. I can’t even see straight to focus on my laptop screen. that’s how I know a panic attack is coming. The vision goes. “Blind with rage” they call it.

I hated my best friend yesterday. I’m still not ready to talk to them because I feel they should know better by now. This person knows I’m sick, they know I’m struggling with this condition alone and that I have no one around with a clear understanding of my condition to talk to. Most importantly, they know the loneliness part; my best friend should’ve tried harder when I reached out to them in emotional desperation, and they didn’t.

Beyonce and Jack White’s “Don’t Hurt Yourself” captures my soul and tells my story so. fucking. well: 

I am the dragon breathing fire
Beautiful mane, I’m the lion
Beautiful man, I know you’re lying
I am not broken, I’m not crying, I’m not crying
You ain’t trying hard enough
You ain’t loving hard enough
You don’t love me deep enough
We not reaching peaks enough
Blindly in love, I fucks with you
‘Til I realize I’m just too much for you
I’m just too much for you

I just wanted to get to work and do the job that I know I can do, and do it well. I was supposed to head to work at 10 am; by 8:51 am I was already on my way to self-destruction.

You had your chance
I hated my best friend so much that I needed to let my Bullet Journal know how much of a piece of shit I thought they were.

I’ve already thought of calculated ways of how I could successfully ruin their life just so that my best friend could feel what they made me feel. I know too much, and I know exactly what to do hurt. It doesn’t mean that I’ll go through with destroying them or their ambitions, because my conscious tells me that this is my best friend and I love them too much. But I know that I have the capability to cause that kind of destruction and be amazing at it! And watching everything in their life burn would put a smile on my face because then they’d know what their abandonment made me feel like…and that’s mental illness everyone!

My best friend still has to come to terms with me being sick and my rapid decline after my diagnosis. The disease still needs to make sense to them. My best friend doesn’t know how to deal with someone like me and they still has to learn. My BFF talks at me often with short generic anecdotes, and they make me furious; blindly furious, actually. Angrily in my head I’m stoping myself from yelling, “You’re a fucking idiot. You didn’t hear anything I just said…“. My friend talks at me because they still have to stop and work my illness out in their own way. My bestie is not going to have the right words because they never learned what the right words are. A lot of people don’t know, actually; it’s normal.

It doesn’t matter if I’m in the middle of a meltdown or panic attack where I need to escape, and I need my best friend to do the right thing to soothe me. It doesn’t matter if they’re watching me suffer right before their eyes and I need my BFF to just be there and listen; they “…know nothing, [and] can understand nothing”. I can’t sit here and say that my friends don’t care because I’m aware of my role in these interactions. My condition impacts others too and I have to take responsibility the best I can. The anger doesn’t go away though. I equate it to being an infant and you’re screaming for that bottle, and no one can figure out what you’re asking for because you can’t put it into words. I suffer alone until I can figure out how to fix the problem, which could take weeks because of the ADHD and blackouts. Again, I will reiterate that mental illness is hell.

That is why it is extremely important to try to understand a loved one’s mental illness to the best of your abilities. Sometimes I’m internally struggling so hard, that I can’t even figure out where I am at times, but the last thing I want to do is heighten the environmental anxiety and cause even more chaos. I’m unwillingly admitting that I can’t handle my disease alone all the time, and I just need strong, knowledgeable support.

It’s not fair to be this exhausted from people who say they love you, and I wish that I had a support system that didn’t put me though this much exhaustion. My group and parents handle me poorly; very poorly. I don’t say it in a spiteful manner, they just don’t know what to do.

Having my type of bipolar and trying to communicate with my loved ones leaves me frustrated, abandoned, furious, and depressed far too often. Leaving me trapped; having to be the wiser one, or “bigger” person to calmy walk someone through helping you make the pain stop.

I can give an example of last week where I ended up “stuck” in the backseat of my car one afternoon. It’s not that I couldn’t get up to open the door, I was just paralyzed with anxiety that I couldn’t figure out how to get out. I sat for two hours in the backseat of my car waiting for another friend to finally come help me. This friend is naturally known to have an over-anxious presence, and I felt his anxiousness radiating while he was still in his car parking it next to mine. I had to take it upon myself to fight through my own tears and confusion to explain that he needed to be calm in order to help walk me through my circle (I call my extreme paralysis episodes circles. Because I feel so stuck that I can never get out).

Sometimes I don’t have the words to stop and be educational. I just want to break down and cry because my best friend made me, not break down and cry because I’m overwhelmed with trying to put the words together to teach them how their actions trigger certain things, and how they’re supposed to handle me in this state. I want my bestie to want to know how to make me feel safe, and then do the best you can. You don’t have to be perfect; just pay attention, and sincerely try. Meet me halfway the best you can, and I will understand that.

My best friend broke me yesterday because I needed them and they were emotionally unavailable. I called suicide hotlines, mental health hotlines in search of support groups for someone to talk to, to which no one was helpful. I just continued to be talked at, rather than talked to. Each hotline I called searching for help gave me numbers to more psychologists (which I have) and psychiatrists (which I have). When I explained that I was looking for support groups because I need to talk to someone, they gave me numbers behavioral health centers I’ve already been to in desperate search of treatment that I can’t afford right now. They weren’t getting it either: I just needed someone to talk to and listen!Just so that I could go to work and function normally for the day.

I never made it to work because of the emotional unavailability, and the rejection from the mental health hotlines created a depression that overwhelmed me. I texted a few other close friends in my close circle who I trust for help, to which I never got replies. Staring at my bottle of Xanax while surrounded by bottles of my parents’ wine (I don’t drink them. My parents just leave them out), my favorite negative thought decided to play her song louder and louder to where I was finally broken, “One day I’ll be dead and it won’t matter anyway“. I know those thoughts are not mine, but I can’t stop them. I was lucky enough that my therapist had an opening that morning for an emergency session. I don’t know what would’ve happened to me if her office turned me away yesterday. We concluded that because I’m so alone (education-wise) and isolated (I’m alone a lot. My friends don’t have time to spend with me to talk. They just don’t) on this journey without a productive support group that I come see her twice a week instead of one, in continuation with seeing a Psychiatrist.

These are things that need to be worked on during my journey, on both ends. What I needed yesterday was for someone to listen, genuinely listen. My entire life has been me screaming for help – unsuccessfully I might add, due to misdiagnosis. To be honest, I don’t even know what I needed to hear in return from my best friend. But I deep down inside know that I just wanted to feel like I got my point across to them, because I love and trust him with my everything. And I wanted them to make me feel safe. I needed my best friend to let me naturally breakdown, not have a calculated mental breakdown; there are differences.

I started my Thursday morning feeling depressed, abandoned, and manic. I ended the day in the backseat of my car in a parking lot far far away from home, with broken headlights, quietly sleeping after a long day of emotional exhaustion. My dad found me around midnight and took me home.

Even in taking the day of collecting myself to try to explain how much pain my best friend’s unintentional abandonment started, he still isn’t there to where he understands yet. They replied and let me know that they were relieved to finally be at home by 1am.


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