Bi-polar Bear

I think I’ve been bi-polar most of my life.   I just wasn’t diagnosed until my 30s.   Even when I was young, I’d think the strangest things, but when I tried to talk about them, I’d get looks like I had 3 heads.   So, I’d shut up, knowing I was weird.  And that I better keep all that was whirling around in my brain to myself, or else.   I wasn’t quite sure what “Else” was, but I knew it wasn’t good.

I was made to feel that I was out of step with the world.   That something was wrong with me.  I knew I was different, just not sure why.

One day I’d be happy as a lark, playing, and smiling all over the place.   The next, I’d be so blue, It seemed my world was ending.   Nobody else seemed to have such intense emotions, and extreme reactions.

Joining drama in college, and my first year after, was fabulous!!    I was TOLD to be an entirely different person!!    It was just what I needed!!   You are REQUIRED to be larger than life!

slob, drama

                            Easter play 1984.   I was Pilate’s wife.

As I look back on it, I’m not sure why I never was involved in drama before then.    After I married Ranch Man, I tried to join the drama troupe at a big church.   I was politely told “We don’t have many roles for middle aged women.”   And the very next Sunday, who was starring in the production??   A woman my age!!   BUT, she was NOT FAT.   Yeah, being mental AND fat made my life so very pleasant.    {Sarcasm carry thru there??}

Now, I’ve seen that kids as young as 7 have been diagnosed bi-polar.   How would that have affected my growth, and development if I had been as well??

 

Sometimes teaching helped, a little bit.  When it wasn’t driving me to another nervous breakdown.   (I had a total of 3 while teaching between 2005-2008.   That’s why I’m on disability now.)

slob, bi-polar, upside down day This bit of crazy was school sanctioned, because it was “Upside Down Day” at the Preschool where I taught Kg, in 1992-1993.   It was fun!   A little hard to walk, since the dress straps were between my ankles, but hey!   Anything for the kids!

Even now, some people can’t seem to deal with me.   “Sit down, and shut up” has been inferred many times.   “Quit being so dramatic about everything”  is another frequent refrain, ringing in my ears.   “You laugh too loud.”   “Stop being like that.”    “You can’t just let out a scream like that, we live in an apartment, there’s people all around.”   “This is church, restrain yourself, you’re singing too loud.”   “You’re embarrassing me.”    “You can’t dress like that, if you want to go with me.”   All this – even AFTER I grew up!!    I was an adult!

And I’m only being myself.   It’s not like I’m picking my nose in public!   I’m just talking to the waiter, like he’s a friend.   Or, waving to a baby, and making faces.   Or, asking for a Sprite with 3 different flavored syrups.  Or horrors, hugging my aunt/cousin/best friend in public!   How dare I??   Or squealing with excitement, when I’m opening a present.  Or wearing shorts without shaving my legs.

For awhile, several years ago, I just stopped feeling.  I stopped reacting.   I quit joking, or laughing in public.   Didn’t sing until I was alone in the car.   Why do it, when I’m just gonna be bopped on the head like Whack-a-mole??  

slob, bi-polar, thwack a vole

Exactly, except I was ALWAYS whacked, never missed.

I hated being me, and wanted to just die. Some people approved of me.  “You’ve finally grownup!”   “You’ve learned how to behave!”    “You aren’t embarrassing me anymore!”

 But then, they finally started asking me, “What’s wrong?   You don’t talk anymore.   That’s not like you.”

Well, duh!!   I wasn’t being me, because “me” was always wrong!   Easier to just exist, instead of trying to live.   Being constantly beat up, verbally and emotionally, takes a tremendous toll on a person.   Especially since I already had mental and emotional problems to start with.

Now I have a select few, very few, people I can be myself with.   But I can’t always be around them.   So, I have to modify  ( read- tone down  completely change) my behavior to suit the company.   And that’s a strain.   For about 6 months, last winter, I told my counselor every week, “I’m so tired, I’m just so tired.”   I wasn’t able to be myself, because my few people were too busy, or our schedules didn’t sync.   For whatever reason, I was having to sustain my modified behavior, without a break, to let loose and be myself.  Talk about bi-polar!   It feels like having to maintain a totally different, unnatural personality.   Like being in a straitjacket, and muzzle.  Yet, still expected to talk, and “Be normal”.

slob, bi-polar, straightjacket

 But, I don’t like me, when I’m like that.   I just want to be free to be me.

Is that too much to ask??

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36 thoughts on “Bi-polar Bear

  1. Putting on a public face sucks rocks. Sorry you have to go through it. Me? I told people who said, “you’re embarrassing me.” to take a flying leap because if they were embarrassed by me then too bad, so sad. People in my life either need to accept that I’m not wired right or not accept me at all. I do my best to not be too weird, but I’m not changing for nobody. Screw that noise.

    It helps that I’m an introvert and don’t need a pile of friends and family around. ^_^

    Anyway, I hope you find your answer because putting on a public face sucks.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. No, it’s not too much to ask. And, you don’t have to be bi-polar to be ostracized. I do understand where you are coming from because my youngest son was diagnosed with bi-polar at ten. He is now 20. He still has those moments of drama, being over-the-top, etc. I just love him as he is. Doesn’t mean I don’t get frustrated with sometimes. However, I have four children who are all different. We all have our issues and the only one to straighten them out is Jesus. It certainly has been a learning to really love someone experience regardless being a parent. I do feel you though in regards to being diagnosed early. That point has helped me and my son tremendously.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You sound like a really fun person. As I was reading the beginning of your post, I thought, “Wow! She’d fit right in with my closest friends!” Even at church! Maybe you should try a charismatic church…they are very loud! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I was thinking long and hard whether I should post this comment in a public forum. In the end I decided that there are more people out there who are suffering through the same issues (about 5.6 million diagnosed in the U.S. alone), and it might be helpful.
    So, Melinda, repeat after me: IT’S NOT MY FAULT! Bi-polar disorder is about 60% genetic, the rest being environmental, and to this day we are uncertain as to what triggers those genes. If your brain produces not enough of certain chemicals but too much of some other chemicals, IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT!
    Stop calling yourself bi-polar. I had cancer twice – does that mean that I call myself cancer? You are Melinda, and as Pilate’s wife you were stunning, and your disorder IS NOT A PART OF YOU as a human being, so repeat after me: I AM MELINDA, I AM NOT BI-POLAR, I SIMPLY HAVE A DISORDER.
    Social norms exist for those who choose to adhere to them. If you choose to be who you are and act the way you act, as long as you do not violate any laws or hurt anyone, it’s nobody’s business. People will always make stupid or insensitive comments, which are to be ignored. Repeat after me: SOCIAL NORMS ARE NOT LAWS!
    You have already taken a gigantic step towards controlling your disorder by losing weight (BTW how did you do it? Amazing!). So repeat after me: I CAN CONTROL IT, IT DOESN’T CONTROL ME!
    Finally, to help you control it, you might want to stay away from, or at least reduce gluten, sugar, and artificial food coloring in your food intake, and increase blueberries, carrots, cantaloupes, and all kinds of green leafy vegetables and naturally fermented foods.
    I hope this has been helpful rather than intrusive!
    Good luck!

    Liked by 3 people

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  6. Wow – I agree with Dolly – what a good way of looking at it (the cancer analogy). It’s very hard being a canary in the midst of flock sparrows. I know exactly what it’s like to be pecked to near death by those sparrows – so you are not alone (although I admit there IS rather a lot of water in between us!) The more I read you, the more I think I am probably undiagnosed. But you know what, if it is 60% genetic, you have just perfectly explained the basis for the other 40% – the sparrows peck peck pecking at our every little (or big) difference. It really does send you crazy when being yourself attracts such negative reactions. I too have had this all my life and I still get it now in ways I can’t even write about the way you do because it hurts to much. It hurts when the people who don’t get you are in your own family. I SO get you on this Melinda, just keep on wearing those shorts without shaving your legs! I went out the other day in my workout leggings, a massive baggy hoody with paint all over it, no make-up and my hair just as it was from when I woke up. The sky didn’t fall in and I really didn’t care for the first time EVER in my life – it felt SO good. You are brilliant Melinda – you really are – thanks so much for these posts. x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Gilly. My heart goes out to you, that you had so many bad experiences as well. 😦
      I always thought being yourself was what we were meant to do…
      YAY!! I’m so happy you took that step, of going outside like you were!!
      Thank you so much. You’re welcome. I do tell it like it is!

      Liked by 1 person

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