I was pen pals for the last year and a half with someone who has bipolar disorder. We knew each other in college 13 years ago, when we had a friendship for approximately the same amount of time. It was a chaotic friendship with a really bad ending!
It's important to note that I have ocd and ptsd. I certainly struggled with boundaries because I shoed away all my friends a few years ago when my symptoms were bad. This was my first friend in a while.
We wrote nearly every week--sometimes multiple times. I shared a lot with her, and even sent things. She liked that I did that, at least, that's what she said. She told me that not many people share with her.
There were cracks in the friendship. She gave herself permission to do things I wouldn't. She fibbed a lot. She liked to pretend to be someone she thought I would admire, instead of herself. This was pretty constant. She had a lot of hooking behavior--seductive language, offering things and then snatching them away before she gave them. Anyway, I liked her energetic personality, expressiveness, and even grandiosity! I thought she was charming that way. It was also very important to me at the time to have a friend with mental health issues because I could relate.
Everything seemed fine, and then she just dissapeared completely from my life. No warning. She always asked me not to vanish when I proposed writing less, or going away for a while. I did become attached to her through the letters. She's gone now! I suppose I could kind of see this coming because she did like to pretend so much. I would like to hear from other people who had bipolar friends suddenly walk out on them. I've heard of this happening.
Coming from a person with bipolar disorder, do NOT take her vanishing personally. I have cut off communication with so many of my friends over the years.
A lot of people with bipolar, including myself, can go "within themselves" for an extended period of time. This usually happens when he/she is in the depressive stage.
In my experience, when I am "within myself," I have very low social reciprocity and I feel that it really wouldn't matter whether I talk to my friends or not. I feel that I am not worth anything and that my friends wouldn't care if I just disappeared.
I have gone through these stages numerous times, and when I finally come out of it and want to be social, it is too late and too awkward to start communicating with the person again. It makes me really sad to think that I have lost so many friends because of this.
My suggestion is to write her again, letting her know how important she is to you. If she doesn't respond, do not get angry. It might be that she needs some time to come out of herself. And don't be angry if it takes her a while, because it usually does. It's not you, it's her.
Sorry I wrote you a novel. I just didn't want to see another person go through the same thing I did. :/
Literarypractice, a good friend of mine who might have bipolar or borderline personality disorder stopped talking to me a year and a half ago. Things got bad in his life, and he stopped going to the gym, and wouldn't answer my calls or emails. His roommates said he moved, but wouldn't tell me where. By the end of summer he deleted his online profile, cancelled his phone and quit school. I didn't know what was going on or where to find him.
Months later I saw him driving, and he stopped. He accused me of things I didn't do. He had a hard time seeing my side, but could see that not talking caused a problem and said he needed time to think. He said he wasn't depressed, but he seemed like it to me. Everything he said was negative, and he used to be mostly happy and funny around me.
Earlier, I had sent him some letters and packages for holidays and his birthday to his mom's house. I thought that might cheer him up, but he was angry about that. This November, I stopped by his mom's house when he was there, but he wouldn't come to the door and she sent me away.
I still feel really bad about this. He was a good guy, and I miss him a lot. Sometimes I think he won't ever talk to me again. I get depressed, and this has made that worse, so I've been seeing a counselor lately.
solemn_versifier, I'm glad you say not to take it personally. It's hard not to because I know that he goes to work and to the bars with others, and everything I do seems to make him angry. But when I think about him quitting school and all that, I know it's about more than me.
I've called to leave a message every few weeks, even though I know he won't answer, but I might wait a few months to call again. I don't want him to ever think it's too late, or awkward if he feels like being social again, but this is really hard and hurts a lot.
You know, solemn_versifier, I hope you are right!
I did write her a message expressing confusion. No responce. I did tell her that she's a valuable friend to me not long ago. I won't take her silence personally.
I have to respect that she's not writing. Maybe she doesn't want to carry on the friendship, and doesn't want to say it. Btw, I liked your long answer!
I think she will miss me, even if she's moved on.
Jaden08. Thank you for your comments. Sometimes, it can be seductive to think we can get back in someone's good graces through effort. Yet, trying so hard is only investing more of yourself. Sometimes all we can do is leave something be.
I recently read that there are four things that get disrupted when someone shuns us: belonging, self esteem, control, and meaningful existence.
When there is no interaction with our friend, we don't feel a sense of belonging, which we need as social beings. Our self esteem drops because we are left wondering what happened or if it's our fault. We lose our sense of control because nothing we say or do gets a reaction from the other. It's like we don't exist.
Reading about that helps me understand my actions and feelings, and gives me a way to put it into words. I guess my efforts were just me trying to get control over the situation. It never hurts to be nice, and I'm sure I will still call occasionally, but you are right that sometimes all we can do is leave something be. Hopefully someday our friends will realize that we do care and will contact us again.
I was exclusively dating a young lady for 3 months, who I clicked with very well right off the bat, and we were mutually falling in love with one another admittedly, when one day out of the blue after our relationship having had no arguments, no drama, no lies, no cheating, no problems, she tells me: "i went to the doctor this morning... I need to be treated for bipolar disorder, I can't do this anymore....You can't help me...We can't even be friends". And as of right then, she was sure she would not see me anymore, and didnt think we could even be friends anymore. This shocked me, depressed me greatly, and left me to wonder if she was telling the truth (maybe just seeing someone else) or not. Since that week she declined to take my calls, and I have not been able to speak to her or see her since - that was in late 2006. Just a day before all this happened, she was excited to see me and everything was normal and wonderful between us, and she had told me that previous week that she "was falling in love with me". It was a brief yet serious 3 months, and I had fallen for her as well - this was an absolute shock, probably the worst dating ordeal I have ever dealt with, because she will wouldnt speak with me, and my attempts to e-mail and call her upset her, she then threatened to file a restraining order against me, and said she wanted nothing to do with me ever again. Do understand, a few days prior to our break up, she was "falling in love with me", and "wanting to be with me in the future", and "looking forward to the day she could fall asleep and wake up in my arms everyday", to quote her word for word. After her sudden doctors visit, everything changed, almost like she was told to drop me and never think of me again, not even and as friend, or in any regard. This has disturbed me greatly, depressed me greatly, and made me wonder if this is a symptom or a sign of something someone with bipolar disorder would do - dumping someone they recently told they love, without any apparent reason or decent explanation..... This insight you guys have shed has made sense, and helps me to cope with this tremendous loss of my beloved Friend. This has caused great distress in my life, because truly do I love this person unconditionally, and wish there had been some way for me to help them, but they refused to discuss anything with me, and had completely shut me out of thier life 100%. When she told me she was diagnosed with bipolar, I told her I would be there for her though thick and thin, and I wasnt going anywhere. I meant that. She was so sure that I could'nt help her, she just said "you can't help me, I have to get better on my own". I didnt think that meant never seeing or speaking with her ever again. Losing her in that blunt, brisk, harsh fashion attacked my inner being in every way imaginable, depressed me greatly, even leading me often have thoughts of suicide. I love/loved her that much, I wrestled with trying to figure out "why" for months, even years... It has been over two years since that final sweet day we embraced and said goodbye, and I can still see and feel her precious smile when I close my eyes. I just Pray my sweet Lindsey is ok, and the Lord has taken good care of her.
I have BP and I have up and vanished from peoples lives. i know that I do it, most of the time with out really realizing it at the time. Sometimes I wake up and just cant be around or talk to that person anymore, its kind of hard to explain. It isnt anything they said or did, it's just me. Don't take it personal.
I'm Borderline and sometimes I just stop talking to certain people for one reason or another.
I had a female friend who could be bipolar and she's just cut me off and said how people just pass through your life and said she had no intentions of being my friend again. She even deleted me from her Facebook page. I find it strange because we were really really close. Sometimes she'd almost idolize me and then sometimes not want me around. I keep trying to find out if there's anything in particular I might have done. Can't get that feeling out of my mind. At least one person said the same thing too.
I'm not surprised things ended like they did. She was an untrustworthy friend. She had behaviors that were consistent with compulsive lying, or at least, very low self-esteem. If you don't have any honesty in a friendship, it's very fragile. At the time, I over valued her. I was pretty isolated. She had a big personality, at least, with me. I liked that, and I overlooked her bad qualities. I'm glad it's over with. I don't have anyone tugging on me anymore. It wasn't satisfying.
Hi Literary. I am moving on from a friendship, starting today. My once friend did the unthinkable, she called my hospital room two days after my newborn son passed away and out of the clear blue let me have it verbally.
Back then I did not realize she had a disorder, but I understood her point of view when I ran into her almost ywo years later. Although I gave her another chance she beagn displaying some of the earlier traits. Now she has disappeared and guess what I refuse to run out an dlook for her I have my own life to lead.
this happened with me
I had a best friend for many many years all through school, after school we both moved to the US for different reasons. We spoke a lot over the phone and promised to maintain our close friendship. Anyway I was in Colorado with my partner and she offered for us to come visit her in Cali, so I drove all the way down to California to see her (a 4 day drive) When we got there she showed us round her house, and then about 10 minuets later asked us to leave. I couldn't see a reason and didn't understand, but like she asked, we left. The next day I didn't hear back from her, and it was only when I returned to Colorado I discovered that she'd removed me from all of her friends lists, msn, facebook you name it. She'd just wiped me from her life. I didn't understand what I'd done wrong, or what i'd said, everything had seemed so normal. I didn't hear from her for a year until she put her facbeook back up and I contacted her again.I noticed she was speaking normally to my other friends and making plans with them, so I tried to make things better, but she wasn't the same person, she was distant and had clearly decided she couldn't be my friend anymore for whatever reason, I respected that, because i'd read about bipolar disorder, it wasn't her, it was the illness. She was just closed in. And our conversations came from the akwardness of a time gap, she in her mind couldn't and wouldn't make it better, because to her it had passed. As she said "I've moved on"
In the end I'll always be her friend, and always try to be there, even if she doesn't want me to, and if she ever does decide to find me again, I'll happily be waiting.
What I have learn't is that people with bi-polar can treat you pretty harshly, but it isn't personal, to them it makes sense, and is the right action and best thing for them. All we can do is try to be there for when they are ready to try again.
wow. that must really suck. i don't have many friends because i'm dealing with bipolar depression & i'm struggling real bad to get it under control. i keep people at "facebook or text messaging" distance as i also deal with anxiety & i'm very anti-social. so i try my best to get help from family, but everybody has their own problems.
almost everybody in my entire family has a "health" or some "medical" issue. i found out a few months ago that my dad has bipolar too & he didn't even bother mentioning it me. it breaks my heart that he didn't tell me because as soon as i found out he broke all ties with me, my sister, his sister & all of his family except his new wife & two kids. i know what you're going through & it really sucks.
it also sucks trying to seek friends & family for help & then you get disappointed. i don't want to get disappointed because my faith is still going strong, but my faith is literally going down the drain slowly. i feel your pain & keep your faith above water.
I was reading Lostangel post, nearly cried, for him and for me, this happened to me to, one week he was all mine, we were going to move together, we were going out, enjoying life, making travel plans, next week he had problem is his family, called, shouted down the phone that he was not my boyfriend, never had been, to delete his words, this from a most loving person who wrote absolutely lovely emails full of promise for the future and loving kind words, adoring me.He went incommunicado, I now got an email from him, but short and dismissing me, saying how down he is with everything.I`m also in a terrible state, hrdly can get up in the morning, it was so sudden, he just went, no time to adust, to say goodbye, like if he had died in a car crash, Im has threatened to change his number, now is saying we can be friends when he is better, but I think it is a way to put me off. He changed from day to night absolutely overnight, no reason, no huge fights, even though he was picking fights for some weeks, but we had talked about things , we had a last outing, he threw me a kiss in the air when running for his train and that was that, he broke off immediately, sent me a horrendous email, is now incommunicado.I feel ro all of us who have to deal with this disease, Im truly broken and missing him so much, but there is no way I can see him.
Hi, wow I have read all these posts and have now come to terms that it wasnt me after all. I have a friend that has Bipolar and never really understood what it was. We have been friends for about 5 years I have gone thru some bad times with him and and he has been there for me. Recently about 3mos ago we had been getting closer. We saw each other about 3 times a week just meeting for lunch or making plans to be together. He would text or call me at least every other day. We became romaticaly involved. Our "last" day together was the most perfect day I will ever have. Things were perfect almost to perfect he was so loving and kind and gentle when he left he kissed me goodbye and even texted me later that night to see how I was. That was 13 days ago I have texted and called him but no response. Like one poster said its like he just vanished. I am struggling daily as to what I did wrong what did I say what did I do? But I found this and it has made me feel better, I want to keep trying with him let him know I am here for him no matter what. I hope that he comes around soon I miss him dearly.
The problem is, they come back. mine did. He is with me again, telling me he thought we would never see each other again and after having made me go through hell he is back in my life, making plans again, we have just spent a time having lunch and talking about the future, who knows what is going to be...
That's what I am afraid of. I gave him my true self I trusted him. I hope and pray he comes back soon. We have been thru a lot together and I miss him so much. I wish you all the best. This site has saved me from thinking I did or said something wrong.
I feel so much less alone after reading all these posts. To know that I'm not the only one being treated like this by a loved one with bipolar; to see from a bipolar person's point of view; it's all calming my anxiety a bit. As I understand it, I may have lost friend forever? I was holding out hope that he would contact me if he got treatment and started feeling better, but maybe he'll get treatment and still not want to talk to me? NOT KNOWING is what's killing me. I don't know what to now. Do I write once in a while to tell him i love him, and want to support him, etc? Or do I back off and let it be and maybe someday he'll contact me? I miss him so much.
I too have tried so many different approaches and have no idea what is best when my boyfriend shuts out all of his loved ones. What did make a difference was when I actually broke up with him. He did not come back to me, but when I came over to his house unannounced a week later, he was really happy to see me and we got back together and had the best 3 weeks after that. Well, notice I said "had..." He has withdrawn again 2 days ago after we spent the most loving and wonderful day together on Tuesday. I've called and texted because I have no idea what is wrong (of course, no response from him). I'm just going to go over his house unannounced after work today and see how he is. Like you said, it is the NOT KNOWING that is hardest and at least if he won't open the door or if he lets me in, or whatever, at least I will know a little more than just having that IGNORED feeling I have when he doesn't return texts or calls. I do think your friend will come back, although it may not be without a little coaxing from you. If he is like my bf, back off for a little while (or as long as you can stand it) and then text or call sometimes. He will surprise you sooner or later and pick up. What has helped me is keeping a journal of my feelings and what I want to say to him when he won't talk. I am praying for you to find strength to get through this. It is very hard and especially when no one can understand how we feel if they have never experienced this for themselves.
Thank you. I waited a month then sent a card saying I missed him and that he should feel free to call me anytime (no response). I've decided to send him a card once a month just to let him know I still care, other than that I'll leave him alone. If he wants to talk, he will, and in the meantime I need to focus on my own life.
If your friend is anything like my boyfriend, your card meant a lot to him; he just can't respond. I haven't talked to my boyfriend in 2 weeks and it's so hard on me. My friends have given up on me and are tired of hearing me crying over him so I feel so alone right now. And I know it sounds like he will never talk to me again, but last winter, we didn't talk for almost a month, but after he came around, he told me how much my texts meant to him and we were still very much together. So, I guess I will have to try a similar approach and just leave him alone and when he is ready to talk, let him come to me. Me going over his house unannounced seemed to be ok, but now I think it may have made him happy to see me initially, but then made him more depressed that he is hurting me so much when he is like this.
I am going through the same thing now and for 2 days have been really struggling with it. I expressed that I understood and she knows where I am if she ever needs. But instead I got a response and it was harsh. It said 'No thank you - I really don't see you in my life -I need to surround myself with people who are more equal.' I have known this girl for 10 years and she was my flatmate at Uni! This seems to be a bit different because she could have just not replied. But she did and clearly stated she wants nothing to do with me.
After crying a lot, I then felt angry. But I haven't replied.....instead I believe she has my email and my number and if she wants one day then she can call me. She knows I think the world of her so I'm going to give her the space she's asked for.
People with bipolar disorder are incredibly emotionally unstable. They act in ways that are very hurtful to others, often not even realizing it. If they do realize it, it will often make them feel intensely guilty.
Often they have very little insight into their own illness, so they cannot understand or explain their behavior.
Unless they choose to get treatment, this is what the rest of their life is going to be like. Unfortunately, bipolar disorder is not a mental illness that most people understand unless they have spent some significant amount of time educating themselves. Often people with the illness are undiagnosed or chose not to reveal their diagnosis to their friends and lovers.
My advice is to try to keep your emotional distance unless they are committed to treatment because relationships are hard enough when your partner is not mentally ill.
I feel so comforted in reading all these replies. I can relate to Lostangel and Reggiane Every now and then I resort back to blogs and forums, just to feel an ounce of reassurance that my ex had real issues that I probably couldn't help with My ex was like a dream to me... He was like my prototype of everything I had been looking for. Yet I wasn't looking and there he appeared. I always wonder if it was me... Felt like love at first sight, I don't even believe in that but I remember locking eyes with him and we couldn't connect then but he came back to find me, same place, same time. Damn it felt meant to be... After an amazing first week, he disappeared after the second week, then the fourth week, then the seventh, until 3 months, we broke up, he believed he was developing bpd and we couldn't date... We wanted to try to be friends but I think it was just too much for him. He even said, he knew he needed me in his life... Maybe he meant for support. I really wanted to be in his life....The transition to friends seemed to be going well but then out of the blue, he just never returned my call one night. It's been about 4 months since we've spoken and I always wonder if I'll bump into him. I don't know what I'll do, how I should react, what to say... I just want him to get help and be committed to it. Even if we'll never be together again, he is an incredible person, who deserves to be happy and loved... We were falling for each other, but circumstances... And when he'd disappear I'd never get upset about it, cause I knew, but I just really wanted to help if I could. I always wonder if he thinks of me... Or if I'll ever connect with anyone in the way I did with him... The last time I saw him I met his extended family. The end was just so abrupt. Really sucks. Right now I feel so apprehensive in regards to dating... I just feel stunned by the loss. My ideals around something that seemed so perfect just, ripped away... I feel so sad when I do think of us. I called him last month, just to go to voicemail, thought maybe he'd get back to me. Maybe he's gone for good this time. I wish him all the positivity in the world. And that he finds happiness and peace of mind, even if I'm unable to be the one. Emotional distance is probably the healthiest for me, and I'm letting go... One day at a time. God I sound sad. But I know it's better to let go now, and then I feel content again.