Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A complicated BiPolar issue

I've got a bipolar friend that lives on the other side of town. He goes through bad patches of depression, and can't get out of bed to work in the week. But, as his wife vehemently points out, "that doesn't stop him from getting up and watching rugby on Saturday afternoons."

Ok, so I can see where his wife is coming from. But take a moment to think the whole thing through properly. Depression works on a spectrum. When at it's worst, you can do NOTHING. There is ZERO that interests you, no matter how exciting it used to be. When the depression eases marginally, and you move up the spectrum a little, some previously-very-exciting things might become bearable. Like (in my friend's case) dragging yourself out of bed to watch the rugby on Saturday afternoon. And when this little twinge of interest returns you gotta seize it, go with it, DO IT. That's the only way you gonna get better enough to be able to do the less interesting things like work. Some call it "recovery".

Problem is, the outside world can't always see this. The way it looks to them is that you are kinda shaming when there's work to be done, and fine when it's fun time.

So what would my friend's wife rather have him do? If he stayed in bed all week, and didn't get out of bed on Saturday afternoons to watch rugby, would that be OK then? Would that then prove that he was truly sufficiently depressed not to work? Or does she expect him to somehow manage to slay the beast of depression in the face of tedious work, and then not manage to face the sport on Saturday afternoons??

And hey, its not just other people. I myself, often feel huge guilt when I'm out taking photos while everyone else is working. And sometimes, when I'm really low, and I just climb into bed in the middle of the morning, then I feel less guilt. It somehow seems to be OK then, like, I'm sick, I'm bedbound, it's excusable that I'm not working.

Like I said, complicated...


  1. Each of us have our unique journey with Bipolar Depression. And, it's good that we can relate to some of those experiences.

    Why do you feel guilty?

  2. I suppose she's jealous and thinks he's self centered - only getting up when something is of interest to him, and not for her? Of course I see it from your side and his side, I'm ON that side! :-) or should it be :( You're right - at least he has one interest left that gets him moving. If he lost that, then there'd be even more reason for concern...

  3. Anonymous07 July, 2007

    Bipolar in itself is complicated. For me, I would take the highs (mania) any day of the week, as would anyone, over the black mud depression. I am BP II, am on Lithium/Lamictal combo and thank goodness it's working. Too many trials of meds and wasted years.

    I really like your site. I do deal with BP on mine, but more towards the stigma side of mental illness on mine. OK to link with yours?

    Living In Stigma

  4. that post basically sums up my currrent life. completely. although it may be a little selfish to say, it's comforting knowing that there actually are people in the world that can put it into words exactly how it is. thankyou..


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