I woke up one day in 2011 in a 50 feet by 50 feet room lying on a mattress on the floor. One week had elapsed since I was consciously aware of where I was. My phone had gone off and I had not shown up for work or called any of my family members in a week. The only sign of what could have happened in that week was an empty bottle of vodka right next to me. This is my first recollection of what a crippling depression could achieve when it runs riot. In that moment I realized I was completely alone.
This was to be the first of many such occasions of depression, sometimes I would drink and other times I would lie in agony in bed without as much as a shower or a bite of food. Most of the time I figured I was on the verge of death, or probably was having a stroke because I had never felt as much pain in those two years as I did my entire life. Even if I write about my successes in combating a severe mental illness, I still have some failures and disappointments that entirely devastate me. Abandonment and rejection have come in a bundle since my childhood. I was raised in an environment where the two were a norm and even in therapy I am reminded that I cannot be an island upon myself.
1.PEOPLE YOU LEAST EXPECT TEND TO COME AROUND
Along the way family, love interests, and friends I held dearly simply left. I am to blame for quite a number of those departures. I had spun out of control with a mental illness and become carefree with alcohol. Those two combinations have never resulted in anything worthwhile and so I racked up an enormous list of people close to me that abandoned ship and dissociated with me. Circa 2014, after my long term inpatient treatment and stabilization of my medication, the phone calls and messages originated from sources I least expected. For once in my life I was getting courtesy New Year’s greetings and birthday messages. Somehow I had had turned from pariah to popular. I still get those messages and they always trouble me; because there is really no manual out there for how to deal with someone that asks for a second chance from me. It is still mind racking and once in a while I have gone into a hypomanic state from the confusion arising with a close person that comes back. When it eventually happens to you, take a deep breath and seek out as much counsel as to whether people actually deserve the second chance.
2.FRIENDSHIP IS A MATTER OF QUALITY AND NOT QUANTITY
My therapist once admitted to me that she only has a single friend and has since then decided to make a complete overhaul of her life in helping desperate people like me. Having one friend seemed rather reclusive at that time until the moment I was tasked to write in my journal how many friends I had excluding any person that I had ever had a drink with. My list came back with family members and a few names I snuck in to avoid my therapist’s dismay. At the end of the exercise, when I finally decided to be honest about it, I had only one friend. Even if we had been drinking together a couple of times, he was there during the hardships and in a wonderful way kept me going when I was entirely devastated in my family’s difficulties. So my first agenda in my “new life” was to find as many friends as I could because we have all been taught about networking and career enhancing friendship as the roadmap to a healthy and successful life. I began by sending out many messages to people I thought would be ideal friends but eventually I discovered that sometimes people will indeed take advantage of your reaching out for personal gains. A few years later I barely have friends, I have limited myself to the same people that have stood by me throughout my life without wavering. I have learnt that opening up my heart means giving others the opportunity to know me, but still I discover that when people see you for who you really are, they fear to commit lest they let you down or feel inferior. Anyway, I am still open to friendship and family reunions but it must be something that will make me a better person.
3.FORMER LOVE INTERESTS WILL REQUIRE AN EXPLANATION
Oh well, our past cannot be comprehensive if we did not break a few hearts. For other people, breaking hearts and love commitments is not much but when it comes from someone with bipolar it is full of mixed signals, instability, lack of interest followed by complete submission and all the extra features that we bring into any relationship. Having bipolar did not make me a complicated person to be with, girls I dated in a bizarre way always told me I was different. It may sound like something you would only hear in a quasi-vampire TV show, but my difference came about in my complete emotional disorientation and an equal knack for poetry, literature and music. When I was a loving person, I gave it all of my heart and then all of a sudden I would get lost in my head which led to rejection and abandonment. Once you have eventually spent a great deal of time with a lady therapist, you finally get to understand how the female psyche works. I was shocked that I had been doing everything wrong with women all along and for once in my life I was embarrassed about whom I had been. For most of my failed relationships, I decided to avoid amendments because it would cause an avalanche of disappointments. This has worked well for me, until the day someone from my past demands an explanation. There is no explanation good enough for why you broke someone’s heart, so it is best to apologize and move on. I am blessed to be in a wonderful relationship now and however much I am sorry for the past mistakes I made with other people, there is no way to repair it, we simply have to keep learning how to be better people.