Befriending Someone With Bipolar Disorder
Over a couple of years ago, I met someone online through my blog. He was a writer, an exceptional one. He writes with his soul and you could really feel his pain and his joy when reading through his works. For the longest time that I had been engrossed with the art, I never yet met someone who could make my tear fall in a single line of truthful words. Or maybe perhaps, I was just treading the wrong lane all my life.
Coming from a well-off family, you would not imagine Tim to be struggling to keep his sanity to find reasons to live. He had planned on cutting himself several times; went back and forth from his alcohol addiction; desperately drowned in medication just to relieve himself of the dilemma of living. Yes, there were countless times when he would say how he hated just to be alive. He would talk of death very often. And despite the help he has received, in spite of all the effort to keep him well, he would go back again and again to where he started. He never wanted to quit but he can do little to help himself. I could not exactly remember when he was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, all I know is that he needs some special care and attention. I used to find it weird when his mood would suddenly change or how abrupt his mood swings can get overtime. But like most of those who were trying to help out, I had always tried to understand. And he would say to his readers, that was all he needed to make it through the tough day. And I was genuinely happy with that. Several months later, I quit from reading and following his blog for personal reasons while I was recuperating from my issues myself. Trying to help out when you know you are extremely wounded yourself would not help that person heal. So I stray away. But he didn’t know I would still check on him from time to time to see how he’s doing. Knowing that he is still into writing and is trying to finish his book, taking pictures of Point Judith or Narragansett, to me is a great relief. That way, I could help get my conscience put to rest.
Tim was not the only friend I knew who is Bipolar. One high school friend had been diagnosed with the same, about exactly the year that I met Tim. He is Teddie, 30 years old and was the smartest kid in our class in high school. He was always the one who garnered the most honors even without really exerting too much effort in studying. He was probably born a genius. We went to the same university in college. He took up Chemical Engineering and because we belong in the same engineering field, I would see him from time to time in the campus. We have always been friends. So that moment when the news broke out about Teddie having some sort of ‘mental disorder’ (which I still dread even mentioning now), was heartbreaking. Being one of the Cum Laude graduates of the BS Chem Eng department and one of its most priced student, it just broke my heart that something as devastating as being Bipolar could possibly happen. What I did not know was that the stigma of the disorder was more destructing than the illness itself.
Today, Teddie is still coping up. He has regular sessions with his shrink every two months and he is trying to come out so people would understand. He has not had a job after he quit his first job after college but I am always hoping he would find one in time. There is nothing much I can do to help except to let him know that I am always right here whenever he needs me. From time to time he would message me on Facebook just to tell me about some problems and issues he’s been dealing with lately. If in any way these messages are a cry for help, I hope I am doing the right thing to address that need. I do hope I am.