Giving a Voice to the Silence offers positive angles to the issue that faces those with mental illness. Living with Schizo-Affective Disorder and being able to share my experiences with others, is the best way I know how to pay it forward. Life can be difficult, my goal is to bring a bit of hope to a place where many feel there is none.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bipolar Disorder – Can Friendships survive?

The Starry Night Oil on canvas 73 × 92 cm, 28¾...Image via Wikipedia
Living with Bipolar is like being alone in a crowd and all to often it is us who makes sure we are alone. It is common for those with Bipolar to drive away those who we need the most in our lives, those that will help us to maintain our mental health. I have, in the past, managed to do this by telling them everything I ever did – that way if they stayed around, then I knew they were worth being friends with. Strange I know, and I am not sure why I did it. Would I do it now? No way, I have learned there are better ways to get to know people.

One thing I have noticed and may keep people at a distance is opening up to them about the illness that runs my life. They think it is contagious, they do not understand the ups and downs that come with the illness. When a manic episode occurs or serious depression, they will fear us even more, turning away when we need their friendship the most.

I have destroyed many friendships along the way, along my journey to find the answers to my illness, at the same time I have found the true meaning of friendship in those who are able to see through the fear and uncertainty and help me too see the hope and promise and not only the fear and darkness that is so often the legacy of those with Bipolar.

Does Bipolar ruin more friendships than it creates? That may be up to us, how we present ourselves, how we take care of ourselves in our worst moments and who we surround ourselves with everyday.


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