is this typical bipolar behavior?

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laurar
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Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 730
   Posted 8/18/2006 10:02 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi everyone,
I'm just visiting this forum (I usually post of the Ulcerative Colitis forum), but I was reading some of these posts and it prompted me to ask about a situation I had with a friend a recently. It goes like this.
 
She was diagnosed bipolar when she was a teenager, and told me this when we became friends.  I wasn't concerned at the time because it would never occur to me to not be friends with someone just because they struggled with an issue like this.  We became close friends until one day she disclosed that she had romantic feelings for me.  Since I am heterosexual, I told her that I was not interested but that I very much valued her friendship.  She seemed to cope with this okay, and soon we were friends again.  Then about a year later she suddenly stopped calling me and talking to me.  When I finally flagged her down she said that she needed space for a while because she didn't think I went out and had fun enough, that I was too boring and that she needed space to pursue friendships with other people who were more exciting (I know this was totally unfair of her, especially in lieu of the fact that my health issues are what keep me from going out alot, but I internalized it anyway because we had been close for so long).  She contacted me several months later to apologize, but I didn't call her back for a long time because I wasn't sure I could just forgive and forget.  Needless to say, I finally did forgive her and we became good friends again. 
 
For several years everything seemed completely fine, and then one day she stopped talking to me again.  This time I was a little bit more prepared for it since it had happened before, so I just tried to spend time with other friends and keep my mind off it.  about 5 or 6 months later I saw her walking down the street and decided to call her, figuring it was time to find out what was going on.  She called me back and said that she could no longer be friends with me because I was draining her energy, and that she had found better friends.  I guess I shouldn't have been surprised given her abrupt termination of our friendship the last time, but it's just that we were friends for years and years.  I was so upset about it and couldn't understand.  I have many wonderful friends, and no one has ever told me that I "drained their energy." 
 
I was upset about it for a long time, but now that I'm starting to understand more about bipolar disorder I think I realize that I shouldn't take any of this personally, that perhaps this behavior is the effect of the disease.  Does this sound like bipolar behavior?  How should I have handled this situation?  Is she aware that her behavior is erratic and confusing?  What should I do if she ever decides to try to be friends with me again? (I have decided I cannot be friends with her again after all of this, but how can I communicate this to her in a way that is productive for both of us?) 
 
Sorry my post is so long.  I really admire all of you for reaching out and supporting each other.
 
Laura
Diagnosed Ulcerative Pancolitis 
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Ellie 1
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Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 1291
   Posted 8/18/2006 10:46 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Laura,
It could be the BP causing this, especially if she tends to "feel better" and go off her meds from time to time. And it's wonderful that you've been there for her when she's needed you, but just because she's ill doesn't mean you have to be her doormat. It sounds as though you are being used when your friendship is convenient, and dumped as soon as something more interesting comes along.
BP or not, you have tried to be a real friend to her and deserve better treatment than this. She has truly not been a friend at all. I went through a situation like this several years back, and ended up feeling bad about myself when I truly had done nothing wrong. I would make it very clear when she makes her next appearance, (and I bet she does) that you are not interested in being a part time friend. You have to think of yourself as well. You've gone above and beyond friendship, I'd find a new friend. A real one.
Take Care Hon
Ellie
Good judgement comes from experience and alot of that comes from bad judgement.
 
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laurar
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 730
   Posted 8/18/2006 11:07 AM (GMT -7)   

Thanks for the input.  And you're right, after reading over my own post I can see that I've been a complete pushover because I've been so confused over this, AND I've done nothing wrong.  I remember that she told me she takes Celexa to treat the depression part of her illness, but I don't think she takes anything to treat the manic episodes.  That may explain some of it right there.

Anyway, thanks for the advice.


Diagnosed Ulcerative Pancolitis 
100mg Imuran
Probiotics
Fish Oil
Aloe Vera Gel
 
 
 


lazy
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 241
   Posted 8/18/2006 2:12 PM (GMT -7)   
Seems to me like SHE is sapping YOUR energy instead of the other way around.  I agree that BP or not, you don't deserve that kind of treatment.  Before I got on meds my behavior was very erratic. I did some things that I don't remember but my friends and co-workers told me about.  I told my best friend to ----off and I never talk to people that way.  Now he asks me every now and then if I'm taking my medication! We can laugh about it now, and I am lucky that he remained my friend, although he didn't talk to me for a while and it just crushed me because I didn't know why.  I honestly don't remember doing it but there were witnesses so I have to accept the fact that I did that to someone who I hold very dear to me.  So, you see, we can behave very badly OFF of medication.  I have never been delusional enough to think that because I am doing ok I can stop taking my meds.  I do it for myself and for those that I care about. Hope this helps...Lazy

SMSIRL
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2005
Total Posts : 1061
   Posted 8/18/2006 9:14 PM (GMT -7)   
This is very like certain manic behaviours.

"Is she aware that her behavior is erratic and confusing?" If it is a product of full mania, usually not at the time. People acting like this are not being rational so giving any creedance to their statements is not really appropriate. Frequently they are driven by the latest sensory input, or some expansive fantasy that no rational human being can keep up with. And in her eyes everyone will seem to be slow and keep her from achieving her vision. The sensation of this type of mania is frequently of high emotional elation being frustrated by what is in fact "mundane" reality.

"How should I have handled this situation? "With respect to her, if it is happening the solution is treatment not discussion - that is it is a doctor's role. So, there is no point in trying to convience them you are "not draining their energy" or anything else because it is not based on fact but on distorted reality. With respect to you, don't base your opinion of you on anyone else's opinion. Test yourself instead - healthy, children, if let try to findout and improve their abilities - they don't ask others. So, find out and develop your strengths don't base it on others opinions. Her opinion in this circumstances is typical - she is following her muse and anything, even just making a phone call, that is not directed towards here goal is intensly frustrating and draining. So as you can see there is nothing you can do to keep up with such thinking.

"What should I do if she ever decides to try to be friends with me again?" You don't have to be friends with her. If you are, then recognise that such a relationship is unreliable, not necessarilly due to her at her best, but given her condition and inadequate treatment. I have such a friend, their company can be very enjoyable, but I have other friends who provide me with reliability.

"I cannot be friends with her again after all of this - but how can I communicate this to her in a way that is productive for both of us?"

It is important for her to realise that her condition, which may seem to her not to be a problem given she may feel energised and high, has a price. Only in this way will she get adequate treatment if possible. I would simply point out her behaviour and how while you understand it may well be due to her condition, you cannot afford to continue dealing with her problem given yourown medical condition and given your need for consistancy in friendship, which is normal and yet is not being fulfilled in this relationship. Wish her the best and simply don't resent for your sake - simply accept it as part of learning about the diversity of human experience which will help you as you deal with the many wounded humans thatg live on this planet. In this way you will feel that the time spent on this relationship wsn't waisted but had just run its course.

"Sorry my post is so long." - It isn't. You have brought up an important topic. It will allow others who may need to understand the price of this illness on theirs or on others lives, and motivate them to seek help.

Best of luck.
 
PS. I've Crohn's so I sympathise with your condition.

rybird
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 78
   Posted 8/18/2006 9:59 PM (GMT -7)   
I am a male and usually don't involve myself with females interpersonal relationships, but I think the problem stems from her wanting to be more than friends. I don't know shat else to tell you.
Laugh.... I heard that parachutes have a moneyback guarantee!

Howlyncat
Elite Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 24909
   Posted 8/19/2006 2:15 PM (GMT -7)   
I think she is also taking advantage of your friendship and knows you feel guilty .she is sapping your energy as was already posted and as a crohns person it is not easy having that energy sapped whether it is Uc or crohns ya know ....take care and hope things get better......
Just my opinion


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laurar
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 730
   Posted 8/21/2006 3:16 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks so much everyone.  It has been very helpful for me to process this experience and get everyone's input. 

Diagnosed Ulcerative Pancolitis 
100mg Imuran
Probiotics
Fish Oil
Aloe Vera Gel
 
 
 


domaincat
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2005
Total Posts : 59
   Posted 8/23/2006 7:52 PM (GMT -7)   
Alright here is my input on this:  Anti social part of this may be bipolar or mental illness indeed.  Sometimes the medicines affects us so bad one can't really socialize well or go in public much.  At other times you want to call everyone you know.  It depends on the mood and the medicine they have you on.  Talking may be difficult at times and other times she can't stop talking?  She may perhaps have been depressed from the illness and then manic from it at other times until she is more stable.  Some of this not wanting to talk to you or be a friend could in my opinion now, be avoidant or withdrawing behavior from the depression or mental illness itself.  And yes some of it could be that she is manic and hyper and has to be on the go - go - go and you just can't possibly keep up with her fast pace.  She needs to settle down and get on the right medication and the right dosage and that takes awhile sometime.  And you still really don't know what her true diagnoses are, only her doctor would really know that. 
 
As far as her wanting to be a partner to you, I really do not think that is bipolar or the mental illness at all.  I don't think the mental illness causes that at all.  I don't understand that sort of behavior though.
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