Category Archives: Maintaining Friends When You Have a Mental Illness

How To Be Friends With Someone Who Is Bipolar. Or Not.

My best friend of over 30 years had her 43rd Birthday toward the end of September. I didn’t call her, send a gift or a card. This is the first year that I’ve done nothing for her Birthday.

Our last conversation ended with her yelling at me. She told me I was always negative when I called and had nothing good to say. She never did either. I always tried to bring up subjects that she might want to talk about but they were limited.

She works 12 hour days and spends most of that time walking. She cleans her house before leaving for work and cleans it again when she arrives home. She then feeds her animals, herself and boyfriend, takes a shower and goes to bed. On the days she doesn’t work she is doing a project in her yard or rearranging her shed for 500th time. She also likes to wash her car. Even in the winter in New England.

She doesn’t watch TV or movies. She doesn’t read. She doesn’t go anywhere. She isn’t knowledgeable about current events and could care less who is President. She believes none of this touches her life. Considering she works for the Government in a way you would think she pay a little bit of attention.

I can’t continuously go down memory lane. It’s fun for the first few minutes. She’s always annoyed at some point in the conversation. She was never like this before.

Like me, due to a health issue she can’t have children now. She’s ok with it because she never really wanted children. I kind of did but knew I wouldn’t. Somewhere inside of her I know she’s hurt. Like me the choice was taken away for her. The problem is she never shows emotion unless you count annoyed. I would describe her as annoyed most of the time.

Trying to find a common ground is hard. She’s lived through all my shit with me. She doesn’t want to hear about fights with my sister, my Kidney Failure, or my dad. I’m not sure what she does want to hear. I’ll ask about her boyfriend. She’ll say “He’s fine”. I’ll ask about the animals (6 cats and 2 rabbits) she’ll say “They are all fine”. I’ll ask about the yard. She’ll say “It’s fine”. What the f*ck isn’t fine then? Talk to me like normal friends do. We used to spend 3 hours on the phone laughing. Now it’s 5 minutes of “fines” and she has to go to the store. I know she loves me, I know she cares. If it’s too much to be friends with me just say it. It hurts more sitting here knowing that she’s at her house on a Saturday night, sitting outside around a fire with other people having a few beers.

Why am I not there you might ask? She thinks I will feel uncomfortable because it is mostly couples. One of the couples that might (slim chance) stop by happens to be the guy I drank with for years and it ended with me covered in my own blood. She doesn’t want to take that chance. She also doesn’t want to be responsible if I feel bad and start chugging booze after 8 years or hurt myself. I would rather hurt the other person. (Joking. Kind of.)

Instead of giving me a chance to interact with people she pretends that her and her boyfriend just sit there alone and do nothing every weekend. This might be true but I don’t think so. W has a habit of getting bored with men around year 5 or 6. This one is past his expiration date and her own mother admitted that one to me.

So I am without any humans except my dad and I threw a jar of peanut butter at him today. I woke up late, hurried to the market and in the mean time didn’t take my medications. I started stuttering while talking to him and he turned his back on me and walked away like I didn’t exist. Just because you have a hard time understanding me doesn’t mean I do not exist or I am invisible. It is the most insulting thing to have someone just walk away while you fight to get words out.

Was throwing the peanut butter one of my better ideas? No. I apologized and told him how frustrating it is when he walks away. Did he really understand what I said? Probably not.

I wish I was Tarzan living in a remote jungle. Animals are easier to understand even their pain and suffering is easier for me to relate to. What does that say about me?

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