Out of the Blue
Today I met someone who has bipolar like me. We had an immediate connection as if we had known each other all our lives. It did not take us long to become bipolar friends. With our time together, we shared our war stories and flashed our scars like old war veterans. It was very refreshing and enlightening to find a bipolar friend, like me, who struggles with a mental illness day in and day out.
With my bipolar friend’s wisdom of living many years with the ups and downs of life and bipolar in the mix, she shared some advice that I will remember for a long time. She asked me if I ever raged at my husband. I said “no”. My new friend went on to tell me from her own experiences what has happened with the people she loved when she raged. I told her I saw a lot of rage at a young age and I do not want to repeat that behavior.
I am glad that I am getting bolder about my mental illness. This bipolar friend would not have developed if I had not revealed my mental illness to her. We were getting to know each other better and the topic of vocations came up. I told her I worked for an attorney, but I wasn’t always in the legal arena. I simply said after eight years of teaching middle school, the bipolar was making it incredibly difficult to function as a teacher (it was painfully hard to create lesson plans, I had social anxiety and being around other people smothered me) also I could no longer handle the stress that came with the job like homework comes with a math class. With my revelation, she opened up and said she has bipolar. Maybe things would have been easier if I had a bipolar friend.
For those of you who don’t get it, it is as if a UK fan meets another fanatic…ur, um…UK fan and they hit it off because they have something in common. Likewise two ladies who are friends over shoes and handbags (I see a lot of that at the office). It feels good to talk with someone who knows something about you. It is as if you have been friends your whole life.
You may be wondering why this is such a big deal to me. Well, telling somebody outside of work that I have bipolar is not all that scary. It is the telling somebody anything that IS scary. My social anxiety keeps my mouth closed many times. My social anxiety keeps my head down too many times to count. My social anxiety keeps me in the shadows where it is safe.
I am so glad this situation happened and I found a friend. This will give me strength and bravery to fight against the social anxiety and reach out to other people again and again. If you battle with social anxiety, too — you can break the chains that hold you back, one step at a time.
Here are some links to information on social anxiety.