Hello. It’s been a while.
I’m low-key today. Am I a human interest story, of the kind I love so well? An animal in a zoo, to be observed for my habits and behaviour? Is that why my dear readers come here?
Living with manic depression. As Jen over on Suicidal No More is ‘Living with Schizoaffective Disorder’?
I wonder if I’d get more readers, from Google searches etc if I were more specific about the illness in the title. No. Hey I’m talking absolute rubbish. There are LOADS of manic depressive bloggers!! We’re two a penny… our currency is inflated.
My readers come here for their own reasons. Some have experience of bipolar friends or family in their own lives, and may read to understand them better. Some are fellow mental health sufferers. Many, I have no idea why they come. It’s their business.
Besides, I am much more than a walking set of symptoms. I have what I laughingly call a personality! A life. Relationships. Struggles. Interests. Occasional epiphanies. A wide range of emotions. I am, in other words, much more like other people than I am different. People can relate.
I know I’m not always likeable. I can read that in other people’s reactions sometimes. They can see that I’m ill at ease with myself and therefore them as well. When I’m feeling comfortable with me (how rare that is nowadays), their reactions are different. I’m ambivalent on the subject of me. I push on through my resistances and fears as much as I can in the course of a day. This takes courage, and builds my self-esteem. If I get too full of myself, though, this is not a good sign when you have bipolar disorder. I’d rather be a bit down on myself, which is what I am, these days.
I’m pretty much permanently depressed, but I am able to function within limits, and I’m happy with that, most of the time.
This self-analysis – navel-gazing if you like – I seemed to have passed to my son whether through nature, nurture or both. He turns an unforgiving gaze upon himself. Sometimes he is grandiose. There is little evidence of compassion or empathy for himself or anyone else. Compassion and grandiosity don’t live together: they’re mututally exclusive. He picks himself apart forensically like a pathologist.
Self-incarceration in a room doesn’t (probably) lend itself to developing social virtues. Locking yourself away from the world is not a compassionate act.
My Mum has had a tendency to think my mental illness is ‘a fake’. She thinks I use it as an excuse. Many people (more than we think, I suspect) feel the same, especially when it comes to depression sufferers. I’ve been sectioned under the Mental Health Act (forced incarceration in a mental hospital) for approaching thirty times since I was diagnosed at 29. What went on? Was all of that a fake? A moral failing? An act, to get attention? If only the psychiatrists, police etc, had felt the same and just let me be! I could have happily done without the psychiatric abuse I endured regularly for so many years.
Please don’t think I am criticising my Mum. She meant no harm, and in recent years I think she has come to accept that there is something awry with the old brain chemistry. My Mum is loving, loyal to a fault, and never gives up. She is, in many ways, a fantastic role model, albeit one who I can never quite live up to. I would say ‘she’s better than me’, but comparisons, we are reliably informed, are odious.
I have no idea why I’m in forensic examination mode, except that I spend so much time obsessing about my son’s issues, I am showing similar traits by the power of suggestion. I’m also way more addicted to the internet and inclined to a fairly reclusive lifestyle, than before.
Well, on a lighter note, I’m off to the Mary Ward Centre today for a course I’ve signed up for in Social Psychology. I am absolutely dreading going out. If only I never had to go out ever again. I absolutely hate it. At times I can really understand my son.
Lots of love folks. Zoe xxx