I like solving problems. I enjoy fixing things. I am quite a good listener, and while my advice might not be necessarily great or used, I do like helping people try to sort out their thoughts and fix their life issues.
When it comes to my own issues though, am I bad at it!
I haven’t done any personal writing lately, mostly due to getting my dream job a few months ago and trying to hide the bipolar part of me. I was quite open with my struggles with depression and this was known in my job interview. When I started not being able to cope with the long days and getting overwhelmed, I knew I needed to drop a day and my employers were more than happy to accommodate. I got along with everyone, I loved the work, and enjoyed learning the engineering aspect of the work. I knew it wasn’t long term, but I knew it was the industry and position I wanted.
Then I lost the job. I was ok- I knew that it wasn’t anything to do with me, and that work was just quiet. I knew that they would keep me in mind for future positions. I knew I did well while I was there and that I had made some close friends. I knew all this. But like usual, I didn’t feel it.
The first week was ok- I enjoyed spending time with the kids and helping the new aupair acclimatise. I enjoyed going out and having sleep ins.
The second week, things started to get a bit more difficult. I thought I would be able to find work quickly and not be paying an aupair to look after my kids when I should be able to. I worried about money- my termination payment hadn’t come through. I started going to kineasiology on advice from a friend, and it was amazing. Three sessions of kineasiology has done more for me than four years of psychology.
The third week, I started to stress. I still couldn’t find work. I had some cash work going on though that kept me going. The weekend of the third week, I went out for the carnival of flowers and had an absolutely smashing night out. I needed it, and enjoyed it thoroughly, even though I had to work the whole weekend.
The fourth week, I started noticing that I was obsessing. My depression was getting worse and I didn’t want to tell anyone. I made appointments to change my medication as I knew it wasn’t working. I tried to get in contact with people from my old jobs- trying to book in coffee dates etc. I needed to get out of my house and distract myself from the obsessing thoughts of how I screw things up. I tried “playing it cool” with people, laughing about the dumb shit I had done while drunk, but secretly obsessing about what certain people thought of me. Had I called too many times? Was I sounding desperate? Did they not want to talk to me? Did they just pretend when they wanted to still hang out after I stopped working with them?
I have very recently found an amazing blog about bipolar. I wish I was strong enough to blog like this. But I am still too scared to admit to it and just tell people I have depression. There is less stigma. However, this blog post made me realise that I may not JUST be crazy, but my obsessive thoughts were part of my illness. And not just that I am ACTUALLY crazy.
“It seems to me that simply by the virtue of extreme emotional experience, people with bipolar disorder think in the extreme quite frequently. Everything feels like the end of the world (catastrophizing). We’re not upset, we’re depressed. We’re not suspicious, we’re paranoid. We’re not happy, we’re elated. And of course there are all the thoughts that go along with these things. If our boyfriend looks at another girl he must be cheating. If we have a disagreement with a friend they must hate use. If we’re criticized at work we must be getting fired. It’s not that we don’t necessarily understand these things aren’t reasonable; it’s just that we can’t help the way our brain thinks, the way it leaps.”
The other problem with being obsessive is when you are also impulsive. If I want to cut my hair or dye it a crazy colour, I do it THAT DAY. I decide the day before that I want to go away with the kids to the beach. If I want to catch up with someone, I text them ten minutes out from the coffee shop. I barely plan small things, and if I do my memory is that terrible I forget them anyway and look like a flake.
I am proactive, I look for things to do and if I decide to do it I do it immediately. I need problems fixed straight away. If they aren’t addressed immediately, I worry incessantly about what could be happening and what that person could think of me.
I try to filter myself and my incessant worrying as best I can. I know that not everyone likes to fix/address things in the same time frame or in the same medium as I do. They take their time and it could have absolutely nothing to do with me. But of course, if I send a message and don’t get a reply (damn you, facebook messenger with your little ‘seen’ bullshit) I start to internalise it. I worry that they may have thought I am stupid/slutty/overreacting/annoying for something I have said or done. I do it with strangers and I do it with my best friends. My friends know I am crazy and that I can’t just ‘get over things’ if they are unresolved. Strangers or people I have not told about my bipolar, not so much.
I move on quite quickly once things are addressed. If I screw up at work, tell me and I won’t do it again. If you are mad at me, and I know it, I will apologise and move on. If I make a mistake, I will tell you and admit I fucked up. Then I won’t worry about it. If you lie to me, I will tell you I know, accept your apology and forget about it. I have enough to worry about without holding on to grudges. I don’t judge people- if you screw up, say something stupid or act like a retard I will make fun of you but it won’t change my opinion of you at all. However, if I do any of these things and try to apologise and it isn’t acknowldged, I will keep apologising for EVERYTHING I have ever done until you tell me I am being a dickhead and I am forgiven.
And this gets worse with wine. Well, excessive consumption of it anyway. I am pretty bad for the drunk text, the impulsive side of me doesn’t care that it is 2am, I need to tell you I think you’re amazing and your beard is god worthy. But if there is anything unresolved, I will torment you with a torrent of all of the thoughts I have had over the past however long it has been since any event. I have no filter when I drink- I need things resolved quickly normally, but I need them resolved immediately when I have both wine and a phone in my hands. And I apologise profusely. I know it makes me sound crazy. I KNOW THIS. and I HATE IT. As much as I am frustrating you, I frustrate myself more. I always regret it when I send it. Whether it is a text or a letter, I write it, send it, and within half an hour think “Hannah, you DICKHEAD”.
People with bipolar disorder are constantly trying to figure out what a “normal” and “reasonable” thought process and reaction would be in any given situation. We’re constantly trying to overcome how our bipolar brain naturally thinks in order to have healthy interactions and healthy relationships. We’re constantly trying to deal with the extremeness of our thoughts internally so we don’t thrust them on the external world.
So, while this has been an issue for the last few weeks, I hope that all my issues get resolved soon, and that people can understand why I act the way I do at the moment. I know my tablets aren’t working, and I hope to get onto some medication soon that will help me not constantly worry about my social, monetary, family and personal issues.
The fifth week. My depression has finally been admitted to my family and publicly. I didn’t want to, I wanted to seem like everything was ok but it hasn’t been. However, I start a new job this week and am looking forward to it. I have my ten year high school reunion this weekend and I am looking forward to it. I have coffee plans and will be climbing tabletop with friends this week and I am looking forward to it. I have been running and have reached 12km, and I am proud of it. However, I still cry in the shower over absolute nonsense and I still want to just sleep all day.
But I know there is more to life than worrying what people think of me, so its time to finally admit it to myself and others. I have too much to look forward to.