A real friend is one who walks in when others walk out ~~ Walter Winchell
While sitting across from a girlfriend yesterday at our favorite coffee house, having a delicious conversation, I thought to myself, “How lucky you are to have a friend”.
Drifting back to 1994.
I’ve become accustomed to having no friendships in my life for many years. Mental illness robbed me of so much, sitting mostly in solitaire in black mud for many, many years and grieving my losses.
I had four extremely dear friends. My first few admissions to hospital; the visits were 2 -3 times weekly, spending an hour or so. Bringing me magazines and diet Cokes, we would stroll the hospital halls together, sit and chat for hours, and when I would have a pass for the weekend, a few of us would get together for lunch or dinner. As the years passed, and the visits dwindled, I found myself with virtually no friends. No phone calls returned when I was in the hospital, nor when I was out. I missed them tremendously. more....
*I wrote this article because it meant so much to have another friend in my life. I missed the laughter, the shopping trips, the lunches, the coffee chats over the years - and now I have it back.
my article continues in my blog: "Living in Stigma"
Hope you enjoy, Deb
Greetings to all of you..
I thought I'd share a few of my own personal experiences; not as someone that suffers from BP, but as the significant other.
My boyfriend suffers from BP and has had it since his ****s. He;s currently in his mid-30's. I have known him for many years but only as a friend and our time together was a bit inconsistant so not until we turned the platonic relationship into a romantic one, did I find out about his illness.
It wasn't until I sought to educate myself on the depressive disorders, did all the pieces of the puzzles start to fit. I had questions about his past; I couldn't understand why he doesn't have any friends from his childhood. Actually, I couldn't understand why he didn't have any friendships that didn't span over a few years. I am one of the rare ones I guess since I have known him for going on 8 years now. He told me that there were some things that happened that severed ties with most friends. Now I understand what those "things" were. He also is a loner. Don't get me wrong, he has friends, but he mostly keeps himself company and this is a learned behavior I guess.
We have a wicked cazy great relationship. One that both of us feel we're quite lucky to have, lucky to have the chance to take it to this level; to even have met each other and then become romanticly involved after 7 years of being friends.
When things started going south; when he started with a depressive episode, our relationship changed. I didn't changed, but knew I loved him and would support him through it. I can't begin to imagine what it's like for him; in his head, what the illness does to him and the havoc it has caused with many relarionships prior to ours.
In any case, I've experienced; while not an extreme amount, prejudice wih people around me and the encouragement, not to stay, but get out and run the other way. When he was fine and wasn't experiencing an episode, everyone loved him and thought we were great together, but once the episode hit, my closest friend took every chance she could to tell me to leave and has even put me in some somewhat compromising positions with other , umm gentleman, to try and get me to forget him.
It hurts to see this, It hurts to experince my closest friend that I normally lean on and count on in tough times,become the one I stand away from now. She has tried to understand, but just can't. It took an exchange of words for her to stop her pressuring and accept that this is my decision, and that what is happening to my boyfriend is not anything he can control, only try and work like mad to make the illness more bearable (if that's possible).
I honestly don't know what the future holds for us..and honestly, does anyone really? But I can say that even if our romantic feelings run out, he will always be in my life as a true friend. I love him on both levels because I know his heart; I know who he is and try and see through the illness. I'll wait patiently for it to pass so I can be with my bud once again.
He is still having the episode; still depressed. It's two months now and will be three months since the last time I saw him (we live in different states..LDR) when I see him again (I see him end of Sept) and I'm counting the days. He may still be depressed or it may lift, I'm noit sure how he'll be when I see him next, but I accept what life gives us and will get through it.
Like your husband, and many other people on here, he tried to break it off with me when the episode just hit. He expressed his unworthiness for me; tried to push me away and went on to say that I needed someone that can give me what I need in a relationship and that he knew the depression was hitting him; he would close up and close out the rest of the world. It was the only way he could deal with it. He didn't know how long it'll last and was afraid it would burn our relationship out if he didn't say something to me; afraid it would ruin our friendship as well. I refused a break-up but told him that I was going to wait it out, whether he liked it or not. Once I said this, he accepted it. We're still together and hopefully will be for many years to come.
I hope in some odd way, my rambling has helped you, comforted you or possibly let you know that many of us on here relate quite well to your situation.
Please continue to check back here as oftern as you can and open up to us when you feel comfortable. I know this forum has given me a world of strength when I needed it, when I felt alone and feel myself weak. Reaching out to the people on here is really a very positive thing to do and will bear great results from those that have gone through it and are here to comfort and be informative for you.
Peace and chocolate,
I agree we have been pretty lucky. I'm sure acceptance it has alot to do with the individuals who know. There are certainly some folks in our lives that I wouldn't tell but fortunately those folks are not work peers of family members we interact with on any real regular basis. One thing I have tried very hard to do when speaking with people is try to provide information without getting into all the personal issues (does that make sense). Obviously there may be one or 2 people I share more with but that tends to keep some of the judgement stuff in check. Now I do have some folks that when they see me just a mess, like now, that tell me I should leave etc. but they are doing it out of concern for me, not out of dislike over my husband. Its a fairly normal reaction. Now if they were to say "you really need to divorce that so-and-so"...you know with all the negative chatter, then I learn very quickly they are not the folks I should turn to in these situations.
I totally understand the "why bother" attitude. Its easier to avoid then risking getting hurt. I just know that nobody can survive this life alone and that there are people out there who care.