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Has bipolar ruined my social life and social ability?

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Has bipolar ruined my social life and social ability?

Postby manicmindblind » Fri Dec 31, 2010 12:27 pm

Hi,

I am 98% manic. My bipolar mania and personality got me to switch lifestyles a few times. When I converted to a religion or changed a hobby or moved when I was younger I lost all contact with my social network. It's happened like 4 or 5 times in my life. I have only kept like 3 real friends from my college days. But even they don't really check in on me or contact me. I am on good terms with my parents and my uncle, but not even my large family cares to really ever interact with me.

I made 3 or so new friends over the last 3 years, but now that I have moved 2 hours away, not even they really get in touch. I am in my 30's. I am all alone and even though I make new friends and build a new social life, I am always very careful. It seems that eventually I say something, act some way or do something that I am practically unaware of that ruins any relationship nearly instantly. You wouldn't believe how many people I have called who say 'Oh, I lost my phone' as a reason they didn't call or recognize my number.

The last 2 years I have read every book on social dynamics and dating. I have practiced socializing like a profession and had some great success. I have avoided annihilating some relationships instantaneously, but I don't understand what's up. Does anyone else have this problem. I thought I might have Aspergers, a sort of mind blindness and social inability. But I am not that extreme.

I can call these people and we talk, meet and have fun. But they don't seem to do the same to me. I think it's normal, for a normal person to be contacted by other normal people right? Well they don't contact me. That's not normal. I am the only un-normal factor. Any suggestions of what I am doing wrong? Even my best friend stopped contacting me about a year ago and doesn't pick up the phone much when I call. About 3 months ago he kind of does again.

I know that my life experience is partly a factor. I terrify people with what I know and what I've been through. I want to be an artist and meet radical artists. I assume we would be similar but I don't have much life momentum to make that happen yet. That will take another 6 months to achieve any beginning with that.

I really resent petty domesticated things like sports or tv shows or fake beliefs. So I know just being around me is an attack on all the things that give regular people their identity and world view and that is terrifying to them.

I also don't seem to have the same insight into social skills as a normal person. It's like I am socially blind and don't speak that language. I am transparent and up front and interact with people with sophisticated expectations. I used to work with the extremely wealthy and I did fine, but when slightly less powerful people worked with me, they really resented being treated in a sophisticated way, as if I was insulting them and accusing them of being unsophisticated, unrefined and ghetto. I always had to tone down my respect level and treat them ghetto for them to not feel threatened. I have been trying to fake ghettoness and pettyness and rudeness over the last 2 years and the results have been great. But I am not good at it. I don't see it. It goes against my nature.

I have one more thing I can explain later. But my thing is complex. I really feel like I have a sort of mind blindness and it trips people out. Mixed with my bipolar mania, life experience and appetite for controversial and emotionally charged interests must be alienating or something.

Any feedback appreciated.

Also I have visited many bipolar groups in about 5 cities and I just haven't met any real kindred spirits. Not even 60 days in the hospital. I am hoping this internet site might change things.
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Re: Has bipolar ruined my social life and social ability?

Postby SmileXx » Fri Dec 31, 2010 6:31 pm

I'm not great at people...
Okay wait... let me rephrase that.
I'm great at people... I'm not great at keeping people.

I can make friends anywhere, I just can't keep them.
I hermit up and don't see people and they float away, or I attach myself like a parasite and they flee.

My bf has never seen me crazy...
Right now my meds are messing up and I'm crazy.
All I can think is that he's going to leave... so I'm acting like a parasite...
While trying to hermit up at the same time...
He's confused... I'm scared of what's going on... but I keep trying to explain...
He's being a good sport, but I won't blame him if I freak him out and he leaves...

I don't think emotionally unstable people can really grasp social concepts...
It's a thing. I did so much better when I was stable on meds... I was perfect... I liked people, I knew boundaries and protocol...
I have no idea now... It's geysawce.
crimsonandclover wrote:Sometimes the greatest source is from within. And accepting whats in there.

veloruia wrote:We all have a bit of Smile in us.

onebravegirl wrote:Shine on and Smile on my beautiful 2D pal.


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Re: Has bipolar ruined my social life and social ability?

Postby crazymonkey » Mon Jan 03, 2011 3:06 pm

I have huge problems with social anxiety and keeping friendships going. I always let the ball drop, or my mania / depression ends up ruining relationships. Its terrible. I think it might be common in BP. I hope that with the stability the meds bring, I will be able to start fresh. I still hate social situations, and I think that is just my personality, but at least I won't appear crazy or too manic in front of people. Just know it is ok to have one or two friends, you don't have to be the life of the party. Also, getting to connect here is a good way to feel less alone in this whole thing. It has helped me a lot. Stay strong!
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Re: Has bipolar ruined my social life and social ability?

Postby hope7951 » Mon Jan 03, 2011 3:25 pm

While bipolar meds often are not so much effective with the everchanging faces of depression, they've got it down so that no one need be a victim of bipolar manic episodes. So if you are manic 98% of the time, it is by choosing not to take meds to repress this. lots of people love manic up to the point they get away all their worldy goods and are found having sex naked on a street corner in the rain while on a mission to do this with everyone in the world before the end times. If you really can't live without the iffy thrill of manic, then cognitive behavioral therapy will teach you how to behave in a fundamentally normal way so you do not lose friends and can still influence people.
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Re: Has bipolar ruined my social life and social ability?

Postby toasted canadian » Mon Jan 03, 2011 7:49 pm

Often I am more than socially adept. My job requires it and I generally like people...

But when the down cycles hit - social panic sets in - whether it is a closed room full of people or feeling the world is closing in on me while walking in a shopping mall

3 years of a relationship went down the tubes yesterday due to my cycling that during the down periods , despite certainly on where I wanted us to go - the mood paralyzed me with indecision

It all became too much for her and has left me in shock that despite many good times over many years and commitment to each other, the constant withdrawal and indecisive mind frames left her void.
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Re: Has bipolar ruined my social life and social ability?

Postby siouxzQ. » Mon Jan 03, 2011 8:36 pm

This has been a very interesting thread for me (I am pretty new here and have just finally after 12 years, starting to accept the fact that I have been diagnosed Bi-Polar 2). I am very functional in most ways with my daily life, and do not experience super-extreme mania, but have been experiencing more and more hypo-mania, then worse depressive episodes coupled with the worst on-going insomnia I've ever had in my life. I am not on any meds (yet), as my old doctor said I should quit caffeine and drinking to see if I may be able to control it without going back on Lithium.

Anyway, back to the social phobia thing ~ I honestly did not know all these years that it is a common symptom of Bi-Polar! I always just thought I was a social freak and misfit. I have been like this my entire life; I've always described myself as a loner, but then at times I am the lonliest loner and it is getting much worse. At work I function pretty well and talk to strangers and my co-workers all day, as I am a salesperson, but when on my own time, I never call people, never have anyone over, and cannot for the life of me make plans anymore to go do stuff with others. I know a lot of people out there because I am a musician (I go out to open mics sometimes and play shows and go out to see live music) but the last 6 months I have really become quite the hermit to the point it feels like this social anxiety is crippling me. At any rate, I am just happy to know that it is a real symptom, and yes, I still feel like a weirdo social cripple but somehow knowing the reason behind it makes it easier to deal with. At least I have someplace to start. I do have one very close friend that I can talk to; on the phone last night I was excited to tell him of this revelation about why I am the way I am. I am so grateful for this friend because he accepts me totally the way I am and that is so reassuring to have someone who can love you unconditionally.

I am making a renewed effort to do all the right stuff; I quit caffeine as of two days ago, started exercising, and probably more importantly, started opening up and being honest to a few people and let them know where I'm at. I am trying to be a better person, trying to be more warm and friendly, because I realize that I have successfully annilihated many possible friendships because I think people perceive me as being a bitch, when really I am just overcome with anxiety at having to make conversation, or make commitments with others to be involved with something...
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Re: Has bipolar ruined my social life and social ability?

Postby toasted canadian » Tue Jan 04, 2011 9:33 am

how good to read something akin to my erratic manic behaviour when the mood hits... and that CBT may actually help

I start my first sessions in 10 days time
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Re: Has bipolar ruined my social life and social ability?

Postby manicmindblind » Sun Jan 09, 2011 9:26 pm

hope7951 wrote:While bipolar meds often are not so much effective with the everchanging faces of depression, they've got it down so that no one need be a victim of bipolar manic episodes. So if you are manic 98% of the time, it is by choosing not to take meds to repress this. lots of people love manic up to the point they get away all their worldy goods and are found having sex naked on a street corner in the rain while on a mission to do this with everyone in the world before the end times. If you really can't live without the iffy thrill of manic, then cognitive behavioral therapy will teach you how to behave in a fundamentally normal way so you do not lose friends and can still influence people.


hope7951, I found your response especially helpful. I will ask my new doctor about the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I have been taking my meds for 3+ years and am doing much better, but you make a good point that the mania is a dangerous temptation to let go unsuppressed. I have an extra set of meds I am supposed to take when I feel like I am kind of loosing it. I will just try to work that in more consistently and see how that works out. I might just be still too manic. It is mild, compared to your example, but I can definitely relate to that example from the distant past before medicine.

As to everyone elses replies. Wow, thanks. I really got the sense that we were speaking the same language and going through similar things. I really look forward to attending the local bipolar meetings in my new city. I hope to meet people in person who can relate to my situation like you are doing. My goal is to build a better support network.

Thanks again for all the encouragement everyone.
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Re: Has bipolar ruined my social life and social ability?

Postby manicmindblind » Sun Jan 09, 2011 9:55 pm

crazymonkey wrote:I have huge problems with social anxiety and keeping friendships going. I always let the ball drop, or my mania / depression ends up ruining relationships. Its terrible. I think it might be common in BP. I hope that with the stability the meds bring, I will be able to start fresh. I still hate social situations, and I think that is just my personality, but at least I won't appear crazy or too manic in front of people. Just know it is ok to have one or two friends, you don't have to be the life of the party. Also, getting to connect here is a good way to feel less alone in this whole thing. It has helped me a lot. Stay strong!


Crazymonkey, you totally said it: "I always let the ball drop". You took the words out of my mouth. I totally feel like I let the ball drop in social/relationship situations and/or I don't even see it in play. Somehow often I am not even on the court to be a part of it.

I think that trips people out. I am trying to emulate people and just get involved. I really was shocked how satisfying it is to have certain normal relationship interactions. However they often self destruct. So I am very cautious to build relationships with people I actually like, admire, respect, am attracted to or care for. It's almost easier just to be ignored by them, than to cause them to run away and think terrible things about you. It's like I just want to save them the heart ache. But I am also interested in saving my reputation. In my attempt to rebuild a normal life I have exposed myself to being severely disliked and misunderstood by people.

I am really hoping I can find people who are a little bit odd like myself. I am getting the sense that this might be possible. It really seems like the only option. I just can't keep trying to be normal and fit in. To avoid having people find out about my past or my current struggles. About my real opinions etc. I have tried hard to fake it, since I started taking meds, and did ok, but it hasn't really built more than a few decent longer term relationships. I guess I just got lonely along the way and wanted to see why normal people were so content with their lives. I found one 2 people in 3 years that I thought were awesome. Gave me hope to keep going. I never would have met them, if I had lived a standard normal life. My normal friends don't know people like this. But I can't stay here and keep faking it, trying to build a normal life, because those 2 people didn't really turn into serious relationships. Got to keep going.

I don't put any effort into birthdays, anniversaries or checking in on people for whatever 'normal' (obligated) reason. I don't like feeling obligated or guilty. I just don't subscribe to all that 'Christmas' sort of stuff. I guess it maybe just all seems so arbitrary to me, because I am looking for a 'career' and real meaningful relationships. All those cards, and gifts and phone calls seem so petty to me, like bribes or trickery. Why can't we be in touch and check in independently and because we care? Why does it have to be a 'special' day.

I guess I am saying I don't want to spend time or effort on those people, and they don't want to be around me. Now that I have practiced rebuilding my life, the only place I can really find it is by building my career and meeting kind of odd people like myself. I think I am now in the place to do so. I hope so. Because if I alienate everyone on this next stage of my life, then what am I going to do? I could take different meds. I could try to live a mindless life doing monotonous and physical labor. There is a joy to that, I tried it recently, but I just feel dead when my lifestyle shuts down my mind. I just can't bare it.

I am really hoping that having career, money, influence, status and power really will make the difference. That is the final stage of what I am missing that the normal person has. Once I have those again, then I will do all the bs birthdays, christmas, cards etc.

Thanks for letting me dump this stream of consciousness. I really am getting the confidence to play with meds, get that CBT and to give my life one last shot to meet people like myself and gain a career that uses my mind. If that totally fails, well then I will just do some manual labor job, make money, maybe play sports, video games and be finished.
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Re: Has bipolar ruined my social life and social ability?

Postby manicmindblind » Sun Jan 09, 2011 10:16 pm

I just realized something. Especially thanks to hope####.

My mania and personal interests over the last few years have driven me into a mainly mental and creative life.

Most normal people share activities with their compatriots and I don't. I think my mania and past lifestyle seduce me into spending time in my mind, and it is possibly artificially enjoyable, and then I go on to study cool things. Meanwhile I am further and further removed from 'doing' normal things with normal people. Eventually I just can't relate to them and I get zero pleasure from doing anything, or from joining people. Why? Because my dopamine and serotonin dump comes from being in my head, not from getting things done and living a normal life. It just alienates me more and more.

I think if I just continue to work with and amongst normal people, 'doing' things with them, then that will help me bond with them and will get me out of my head. I think my mania seduces me like a drug to isolate myself in my mind. Then I loose the practice of being with others and bam, there I am incapable of connecting, relating or working with them.

If I numb my mania/suppress it a little more it will probably make me want to 'do' more and 'think' less. I think that is my other main handicap.

That's what I am currently doing, is trying to find good groups, where I can throw myself into and really work with them and bond. I am going to start to try to suppress my manic symptoms with the doctors help. Hopefully that all makes a difference.

I really have always had a great aversion to people or activities that limit or shut down my thinking. I wonder if that aversion is just me wanting be be manic at all costs. I am about to start a new type of life. Hopefully all this brainstorming will help me live with a good strategy.

Thanks
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