Mood Check: Mild depression, no elevated mood, mild irritability, moderate anxiety
Sleep Last Night: 7 hours, but extremely broken – a lot tossing and turning all night (took 50 mg of Hydroxyzine at bedtime)
When you’ve past your episode, for me at least, I am stuck with this shame and guilt for my actions during my episode. Not only during the mania, but also the during the despair of the depression that followed.
For me, my manic episode had me doing things that could bring a lot of shame.
I created an OnlyFans account and almost posted naked photos on there. I just a Sugar Daddy site and again, almost sent out naked photos. This was all part of the hypersexuality that I felt. I could not get enough sex. I was daydreaming about it, having vivid dreams at night, and was clearing reaching out beyond just my boyfriend.
I was at the neighborhood bar, somewhere where literally everyone does know your name, screaming and cursing at the television quite loudly for an entire evening.
I rambled and rambled and rambled to people that honestly did not want to hear me talk in circles about nonsense.
I was so irritated and frustrated with anything that did not go my way or how I thought it should be going.
I spent an insane amount of money on clothes, lingerie, and sex toys. Then, because I spent so much on that, I had no money for a weekend getaway and tried anything I could do to get money. This included going to a peer to peer lending site where I gave my banking information and social security information out and I never even got the money.
There was also the wedding. Where I was late to the rehearsal dinner to start. Then, at the wedding, I was all over the place. Crashing photos, going places I should not, smoking (both weed and cigarettes, which I do not ever do). I was talking so loud and just bouncing around and I could tell I looked like an idiot, but I could not stop myself. I was basically propositioning someone’s girlfriend about a three some. It was super embarrassing.
So, what happens after?
I am not in a place to just tell people, look, I acted crazy because I was having my first manic episode and I am now bipolar. I am not there yet. But without this understanding that I had a manic episode, people just see me as the crazy woman from the wedding. Those friends have not talked to me since. And we were close! Every Fourth of July we spend together, by the beach, with friends and BBQs. I did not get my invitation this year. I reached out and did not hear back. My friendship with a whole group of people appears to be over.
You bounce between a few thoughts. Those who matter, do not mind and those who mind, do not matter. I guess that is something. But it can be hard to not mind with no context behind your behavior. There is also what my therapists says: it was my body, but it was not me, it was a chemical reaction I did not have control over because I did not know. Which again, makes sense, but without giving people that context and admitting to this disorder, how will people understand? Then, you also think, was it unforgivable without an explanation? Is it so bad to never speak to a person again? I guess so.
This leads me to thinking a lot about friendships.
I have my boyfriend and best friend whom I closest with and the only ones I feel comfortable being around. No matter what I have done, there is no judgement and there is a sense that we will face everything together. I honest do not want to see where I would be without them.
I, then, have a group of 3 other girls whom my best friend and I speak and hang out with frequently. It has not been in person necessarily, but we talk over texts a lot. I know that they do not judge me and can look past this craziness. I have not really told them. It was more like quietly after saying something about being crazy, I nonchalantly said I have bipolar. I am not sure it stuck really.
I have a close work friend, who has not given up on me. Keeps checking in and asking how I am doing and really does not judge me at all either. She knows and she has really been supportive.
Then there is someone who I have known since elementary school, who I just told and was super like “Are you OK? I hope you get better. Do you want to hang out? Go to a baseball game?” just like nothing had happened. She would understand if I did something crazy or disrespectful that it was not me and we would work through it.
Everyone else is just a fringe friend, I would never tell but we could possibly still hang out and just have a good time. There are approximately 5 people I had put into this category. There used to more pre-manic-crazy-wedding-guest but that is where we are now.
So, in total, I have about 10 people in my life. But maybe that is okay. Maybe that is the thing with shame. It helps narrow out the people in your life to just the ones that really matter because those are the people that will try to lessen your shame by understanding the situation and looking past it. In school and college, it was all about having a billion friends. But now, as we are all older, it is about quality friendships rather than quantity. Except, while you can accept that, it still sucks that there are people who you have lost because of a chemical imbalance. I am a people pleaser and I hate if people are mad at me, hate me or think I am not a good person. It makes me hate myself, like I should be doing something different.
While I still feel shame and on a large level feel like I wish I still had those people in my life, the smaller part of my says why do you need them in your life? If after all there was before these moments were fine and normal and you truly care for someone, wouldn’t there be the benefit of the doubt? That something might have happened or was going wrong for someone to act that way? Or at least to give the opportunity to reach out and say that what I did was upsetting and made them angry and say what is wrong and give me the opportunity to explain. Instead I am just shut out. That makes me sad, but also in a way is freeing. They are not spending time thinking about me. I have enough things to think about and worry about. Why should I add this to the list? I think that a large part of this, for me, is that I am disappointed that I could be written off so easily when I would have given the opportunity to explain and listen.
Maybe one day, I will reach out and I will be ready to explain and give myself the opportunity to be forgiven, but I know it will never be the same. It just cannot be. I know this from experience.
What brought a lot of thing on was looking at a picture of me and a former best friend. This person was like a part of the family. Literally, we would spend everyday together, bouncing between my house and hers. I threw her a surprise party because I knew she always wanted one. My parents took her a cruise with us to the Bahamas! I thought we were strong enough that we really would be best friends forever.
Then, I had an abusive boyfriend. He did not want me seeing, talking to, or having anyone else in my life other than him. I did not leave the house without him. I walked around on a broken foot for 2 weeks because he would not let me go to the Dr. And when I did, he fought me so bad, I attempted suicide. I was paralyzed in the relationship. I could not see that this was wrong. I did not know how to get out. So, I ended up with no friends. She tried in the beginning but then she gave up.
When I finally got out of the relationship, I tried to rekindle the friendship. I tried to explain that he made me do it, to withdraw. I did not necessarily say that he was abusive, though by everything I did say, it was obvious. I did not say that a shoe would be thrown at my face if I did not listen. I did not say that I was threatened with a break-up every time I tried to contact someone or go out or do something I wanted. Maybe it is that thing that I expect people to read my mind and just know, so I do not say, and things just stay worse. But I thought, after everything, she would understand. That it would take time, but we could get it back.
I believe she has forgiven me, to some extent. We talk occasionally. We have never hung out after that though. She had moved on with her life and there was not a space for me in that life. We are acquaintances now. And that is all we will ever be. Even if, like my therapist says, it was not my fault because that is the nature of the abuse, to be paralyzed into having no other choice to comply. Then why didn’t it go back to normal? Why couldn’t I fit back into her life, slowly, like I did before? These are the questions you are left with. But you also can start to accept that no matter what, things cannot go back to what they were. So, you need to find a way forward with or without those people in your life.
Any suggestions, releases, coping skills you have found towards relieving the shame and guilt associated with bipolar episodes? I certainly need them!
Suicide Prevention Hotline Website: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
Phone Number: 1-800-273-8255
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Things coming up: holy grails in make-up and skincare, what I cannot live without (all things beauty) and more!
Stay well everyone xx