Backpacking and Bipolar II. Taking Manic Depression on tour.
Being Bipolar is like having the constant companionship of a bad friend. We’ve all had one. The backstabber. The one who is outwardly applauding you and inwardly loathing that you’re happy. As you celebrate anything with your bad friend around you’re being earmarked for a punishment further on.
When I’m down:
He makes passive aggressive remarks to denigrate me further. He tells me that everyone gets down but they aren’t so pathetic so as to need rest like me. Often he’ll point out how well everyone else is doing and put the boot in by saying that I’ll never be anybody worth having around. He tells me he’s the only one who really knows me, but that everyone else can see that I’m all wrong. Sometimes he points out ways that I could best satisfy him and finish it. When he starts to lose an argument he just screams louder. His company is exhausting.
When I’m up:
He encourages me to behave strangely and then snickers with the crowd around me. Often he’ll point out that someone is really interested in me and suggest I go say ‘Hi’, no need to be subtle about it – she’s already interested and this is just a pretext to get a conversation going. Again, he laughs. No crowd this time. There are times when I feel as though I’m doing something important and worthwhile. He tells me that he sees it too and that this time I will take us all the way to the top. He’s setting me up for a fall. He knows that the higher he takes me, the harder the crash will be. When I try to focus on a project he’ll constantly remind me of other projects that he knows I want to take on. Before I know it, I’ve gotten too much work across too many categories and I can’t finish any of them. He’s happiest when I’m spending all my money without a care.
If any of my other friends behaved like this I would have no more to do with them. This one is chained like a protester to the inside of my skull. Gleefully ripping wires out by the fistfull and kicking dents into the machinery.
I just remind myself that he gives bad advice and that I shouldn’t listen to anything he says without scrutinising it. Sometimes he wears me out and I head off to bed. He hates that. The best thing I can do for him is to just keep trying and trying, pushing through the emotional pain barrier. I do his work for him when I behave like that.
He used to fly under my radar, but now I see him for what he is. I take pills that make me better as they make him worse. I love beating him. Every time I do it, I get better at it. Today I’m starting a new winning streak, bring it on Frienemy.