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Old 03-31-2005, 12:16 PM   #1
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Friend w/ Bipolar and not sure what to do

My friend of mine recently told me she's Bipolar in an email and that she hadn't had any occurrences for a few years till now. She did not elaborate as to what exactly happened or what she's feeling or doing about it. We are close, but not like best friends type of close. We are totally open and talk when needed, but we really just hang out and do activities. We don't talk on the phone much because we are both always on email so we usually email each other many times a week. We do see each other though much less. She only lives 45 min away though. Anyhow, so she sends me that email after I think my having had emailed her saying that after I get back from this road trip which was at the beginning of March we should hang out since it had been a while since we had. Since I have been back which I was only gone for 3 days w/ my hubby I haven't heard from her. I emailed twice and waited. I tried calling her and it kept just ringing and ringing and eventually a robotic voice would come on asking me to enter my something code and then hung up on me. Haven't a clue what that was so I had asked her in an email if the number I have is correct. She did end up emailing me back 2 days later and apologized for not being a good friend and being out of touch. Mentions she's embarrassed about her having this issue & that she's trying to deal with it. The overall tone of the email was depressed & filled w/ guilt. I of course explained otherwise to her and told her if she just needs to talk call me. I really want to go see her just to hang out and b there if she does want to just talk ya know? Problem is that because she hasn't elaborated on anything about what has happened and what she's feeling during her highs and lows I have no idea what to think. We don't have the type of relationship where we just stop by eon another's place unexpectedly and I fear that by asking if I can come by will make her feel bad because I don't think she wants anyone to see her while she's in this state. I have no idea if she's on any meds, has seen a doctor recently about it, how she's handling dealing w/ her everyday stuff which is a stay at home mom dealing w/ 2 kids and many other tasks she takes on. I feel in the dark about this and she doesn't want to burden me of course. I have read into Bipolar disorder so I think I can deal with it just fine if given the chance, but she seems to reclusive and embarrassed I don't think I'll have the chance. I just wish I knew how serious her specific condition is as I know there are stages.

 
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Old 03-31-2005, 03:04 PM   #2
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Re: Friend w/ Bipolar and not sure what to do

Veggigoddess,
You sound like a pretty good friend to me. Not too many people take the time to learn about bipolar disorder.
It sounds like your friend is depressed and also dealing with the stigma of mental illness in our society. Keep emailing her even if she doesn't always answer you. Your concern and caring will be heard on some level but please realize that you can't fix this for her.
If she is agreeable to a visit, by all means go.

 
Old 03-31-2005, 03:30 PM   #3
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Re: Friend w/ Bipolar and not sure what to do

Hello,

I definitely realize I cannot do anything to "fix" her or the problem. I just wish I knew how serious it's effecting her. She's a really hard working stay at home mom and she takes on far too much then she should because she makes herself too available for others and ignores herself. I want to be able to be there for her if she needs & for her to knwo I am there for her. She thinks she's not worth the energy to worry to concern myself over and is being selfish by being a hermit during this time. Couldn't be farther from reality in my opinion. I just want her to know I am there for her and for her to be able to at least open up and tell me what she's feeling and how this started (meaning what made her realize her Bipolar issues re-surfaced). She seems to just want to be alone to deal with this and I respect that of course, but from my Reading up on those w/ Bipolar that's a typical response and since I do not know how serious her Bipolar disorder is as I know there are different stages and some more serious then others I am not sure if I should just let her be or keep emailing her now and then.

 
Old 03-31-2005, 03:46 PM   #4
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Colefort HB User
Re: Friend w/ Bipolar and not sure what to do

Hey V-goddess,

I am kind of in the same situation but with my girlfriend. My girlfriend is bp and she doesn't like to talk about it or acknowledge it most of the time. When she is going through an episode she pushes me away so I do not see it or have to deal with it. All I can say is that time and education are the key. I started learning about it here, the people are great. It's really nice because so many people can relate to you, and you to them. Most importantly, you get answers from both sides. The more you know about bp, the more things begin to make sense to you that didn't before. When things begin making more sense, you kind of get a better idea of how to help even when they don't want to talk to you about it. Good luck, it is not going to be easy, but it does get easier. I promise you. I was a complete wreck when I first posted on this board a month ago, now I am only half of one.

Good Luck,

CF

 
Old 03-31-2005, 03:58 PM   #5
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Re: Friend w/ Bipolar and not sure what to do

I can tell you right now, that she probably knows very well that you are there for her. You sound like a good friend. And from my little experience, I can say that this sounds very normal. I would just keep making contact w/o putting any pressure on your friend to talk.

CF

 
Old 03-31-2005, 03:59 PM   #6
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veggigoddess HB User
Re: Friend w/ Bipolar and not sure what to do

Hey CF,

Thanks for your words of encouragment!
I just got doen emailign her tellign her I am here for her and if she's feelign up to it I can drop by and we can just hang out. I tried to let he know that what she's going through must be really difficult and even if she doesn't want anyone to see her in this state I am not there to judge her, just be a friend to talk to and hang out with. I have been to a couple dozen web sites regarding BP so I do get the jist of what she maybe goign through, it just feels incomplete not knowing how extensive her particular issue is.

 
Old 03-31-2005, 04:29 PM   #7
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Ruth6:11 HB UserRuth6:11 HB User
Re: Friend w/ Bipolar and not sure what to do

First of all, a welcome to the Bipolar Board veggigoddess!
You've discovered my other "home" here at HealthBoards - it's really wonderful to have you here.

I have Type I Bipolar - also known as "classic" bipolar. Extreme mania, extreme lows, with periods of normal behavior inbetween. I'm one of the lucky ones hwo has found the right med that allows me to lead a pretty normal life.

BUT - I know exactly how your friend feels.
And I have just a few close friends because most do not understand that sometimes I'm just not "up to" something. To this day I hate to make plans too far ahead because I may not be up to being social.

I have one friend (for almost 14 yrs now) who will call me every couple weeks just to say HI. She never makes demands of me that I may not be able to meet. She'll mention lunch & if I pick up on it fine, if not she'll mention it another time. Otherwise, to be honest, I am HER listening friend because she sure talks alot!! And that's good for me because when I do hit that occasional shallow depression meds or not, I don't always find it easy to be a conversationalist.

Once you get in a habit of just touching base with her, mention that you had gotten interested in finding out about Bipolar Disorder and had done some reading. Mention HealthBoards even. Ask if she ever was told if she has Bipolar I or Bipolar II or one of the other variations.
If you treat it as a regular physiological disorder, like diabetes, in a matter of fact way she'll realize that you are not attaching a stigma to her.
Do try to interest and knowledge rather than curiosity if you know what I mean.

Other than that, glad you found us here and I'll see you back on the other range!

 
Old 03-31-2005, 04:45 PM   #8
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maniasterisk HB User
Re: Friend w/ Bipolar and not sure what to do

<< gentle pat on the back >>

Good posting, Ruth !!!

Loved what you said and how you said it !!!

Personally, I suffer from O.F.P.S.* ~ which makes it extremely difficult for me to read the postings that don't separate for many lines...

Glad you did the job !!!

~ M* ~

* = Old Flatulent Persons' Syndrome....

 
Old 04-02-2005, 06:48 PM   #9
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veggigoddess HB User
Re: Friend w/ Bipolar and not sure what to do

Hey all and thanks for the words O' wisdom!
That's what I really want to figure out..if she has BP 1 or 2. Seems like 1 judging from the tone of her emails which is all I have to judge by unfortunately. She hasn't replied back to my email from a couple days ago so I just wait... If I don't hear from her by mid next week I'll try calling her again though the number has not worked so far and she never said if that number was correct and if so why I'm getting that odd robotic recording. Just wish I knew if her mom came down to stay w/ her (mom lives in Portland) or if her husband is taking good care of her. He's not a very attentive hubby and works a whole lot & when at home is playing computer games solely! So I worry about who maybe taking care of her when needed ya know?
Sucky thign is (in a round-a-bout way) I am over 8 1/2 months pregnant so my water is going to break anytime between now and the next couple weeks most likely so I am not going out much. She feels like a bad friend for not being able to be available so to speak during this "amazing" time which sucks cause I so don't ant her to feel like that. Anyhow, I shall let you al know any updates.

Thanks for all your advice!

 
Old 04-03-2005, 03:37 PM   #10
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polarized13 HB User
Re: Friend w/ Bipolar and not sure what to do

Hi There,

Colefort probably has the best advice for you about this since he is on the same side of the disorder as you are. Most of us are the ones with the disease.

It is impossibe for any of us to accurately speculate on how she is coping with her disease or how serious her's may be compared to anyone else's. My best advice to you is to make sure you are not involving yourself too much into something that you can neither really understand or control. You can only involve yourself to a certain extent, no matter how clear their problems may be to you, you can't fix it for them.

There are a couple of good posts on this board regarding co-dependency, so you can read them if you want. If you type the term into the prompt, it will take you to a list of posts that discuss it further.

My expericene is that if you try and push help onto someone who isn't ready for it, then you end up pushing them away. Just be there for her. When she's ready, she will come around. It's impossible to understand how it feels to be depressed unless you have been there. It is wonderfull that you are trying to be such a good friend to her.

Sincerely,

heather

 
Old 04-03-2005, 04:30 PM   #11
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veggigoddess HB User
Re: Friend w/ Bipolar and not sure what to do

I definitely know what it's like to go through depression, but not BP related depression. I only know from what I have read about which which is a lot over the past week. I'm just allowing her to take her time and I am not pushing at all. I have no intention to try and be the hero here, just a good caring friend. I just wish I knew where her mind was right now...

 
Old 04-03-2005, 07:47 PM   #12
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polarized13 HB User
Re: Friend w/ Bipolar and not sure what to do

There is nothing different about bipolar depression than any other clinial depression. Except that we also experience manic highs. And we swing from one extreme to the other without medication.

But clinical depression is not the same thing that most people experience when they lose their puppy, or they break up with their boyfriend. We have neurons in our brain that mis-fire, and don't carry the chemicals the right way, so we cannot function properly. It is completely debilitating at times.

The thing is, SHE probably doesnt know where her mind is right now. When it's bad, you can't even think straight. It's the scaryiest feeling I can imagine, like you are losing your mind. Of course you don't want to be around anyone, or do anything beyond what absolutely has to get done.

I had a friend with bipolar before I was diagnosed, and she was never really "present". She was like a totally different person one day than the next. It is mental illness. And you have to get treated for it, and stay medicated, and that's harder than it sounds.

I think it's great that you want to help her, and be there for her. Just don't get yourself too involved, that's all I'm saying, because then you will be hurting yourself. Just keep reading and learning about how others deal with loved ones with the disease. Best of luck to you and your friend.

 
Old 04-03-2005, 09:43 PM   #13
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Re: Friend w/ Bipolar and not sure what to do

Thank you!
I am actually not all that involved in her life anyhow. I love her an see her every now and then and like and get along w/ her 2 kids, but we don't hang out that often and very rarely talk on the phone. We she only lived 45 min, but we primarily have an email relationship and see each other once every handful on months and hang out for much of the day. She's a very busy women w/ her family and just doesn't have the time. So even if I wanted to it wouldn't be an option to crowd her or get too involved even accidentally.
Having the highs of BP makes it really different in my opinion to having standard depression because I'd have to assume and from what i have read the lows are then more intense because you're coming down from extreme highs. I had depression in my teens and never went through highs, just lows so I know how that end feels.

 
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