Anti-social. It is something that I hear way too often from people who I am around. Often times, when I am around people, I am told to interact more with people, to get to know people who I don’t really know. If only they knew how difficult it could be for me, especially with the fact that I already have Bipolar. So what am I getting at here. Does Bipolar have a connection bring anti-social? I believe so.
I was never like this when I was a child though. I was completely the opposite. A social butterfly, I was more than willing to talk to anyone who I could possibly see. Even throughout High School and College, I had no problem talking to people. It was a gift that I had, being a charismatic person with the ability to talk to anyone. That changed when I got into my first salon however. I was beaten to death by the words of the other stylist, hurting my self esteem, which in turn ruined me. It brought up my anxiety and allowed my bipolar to rear its ugly head and prove that it was something to be feared. I pulled back away from people, including those who I considered my friends and family. I didn’t know who I really could trust anymore. There wasn’t anyone. No one I knew really understood me, I felt, no one knew what I was going through. It became a challenge for me to actually fit in with those around me, to trust anyone who I actually became close with before. Who could I actually trust with my illness? After finding being diagnosed, I didn’t know who to turn to.
When I began to tell those about my illness, I began loosing friends, those who didn’t understand the illness and did not want anything to deal with it. It scared me, considering that I was afraid what I would have left. I pulled back even further from people, to the point of where I am now, i really don’t know how to socialize with people anymore. I have forgotten how to socialize. For me, it doesn’t come naturally and it is troubling when people talk to me. I find it quite difficult at times to start conversations, always finding a way to end them quickly or to pull them away from a subject that is non confrontational. Even the simplest task of asking someone how their day is happens to be of some trouble for me. I lose myself within my words. scrambling within the jumbling mess that rests within my head. It is all too much for me to deal with at times. I cannot get my words straightened out. How I wish I can. Then comes the fact that I want to shy away from other people, that I literally want to pull myself away and hide myself in the corner. Being around a group of louder people exhausts me and while I can be loud at times, I need my space and my peace. I like my time to myself without others bothering me or getting in my way. Is that really too much to ask? I certain do not hope so.
But yet, even my emotions seem to provide me with some problems. I am not one who commonly shows my emotions out loud, as my boyfriend likes to put it and therefore, it makes it rather hard to tell what I am exactly feeling deep inside. I was never one to really share my emotions, I never thought that would be an issue but it has seemed to have gotten worse with age. Now, I hide them well, portraying the famed “bitch face” rather well. Not only that but there are plenty of times in which that I should have cried at a funeral and I never have. Why? I really do not know. Perhaps it was because in my mind, I felt that it wasn’t right for me to cry. There was something inside of me that told me that I needed to be brave and not cry like everyone else. It is something that always seems to be playing in my mind. Put on the brave face and don’t let anyone see your weakness. It is what always plays in my head, especially with my illnesses that I must deal with. I must not allow others to see them as weaknesses. It is not something that I can let them witness, especially with all of the stigma that surrounds them.
Yet, I am not apparently the only one who feels anti-social with Bipolar disorder. It is apparent that other people who have Bipolar disorder also seem to suffer from this as well. While looking on one of the support groups, I saw many topics talking about members being anti-social and concerns about it, especially with how anti-social they were. It seems that this is something that people with bipolar seem to have a common trait with? Perhaps that is due to the fact that we all have this fear that, deep down inside, someone might be out there, judging us for our illness. There is someone out there who is judging us, who doesn’t understand our illness nor doesn’t want to try to understand it. The majority of us have already witnessed what it was like to be judged by another, to deal with the stigma from the people around us about this disorder that we are born with and yet, we still hold up that caution that is around us. Even with our family and friends, there is still that caution that they are going to judge us, no matter what they think about our illness. Perhaps it is unfair of us to think of such things but maybe we do have a right mind. Maybe most of the people with the disorder are like me. Perhaps most of them sit and stare at people, watching them intently and questioning whether or not they should interfere and talk to them or not. Question whether of not they should get to know more about they personality, to get to know the traits that sets them apart compared to others. After all, they say that people with bipolar tend to be more sensitive than others.
Perhaps, people with Bipolar just need to be understood.