I had 3 really good responses to my last post and I wanted to address each of them.
Emiljie: I wish so much a support group were available. The thing is that it is so rural here that there are probably 5 bipolar or schizophrenic people in the whole county, which is huge. There is not a hospital that handles psychiatric admissions for non-gero-psych issues in 60 miles. That one does have a support group, but it is an impossibly long drive to get there, especially with the drive time I already put in for therapy and the psychiatrist. I've been in 2 support groups; one in college which was absolutely wonderful and which gave me the courage to do many things I can't believe I did, and another in grad school which wasn't as great. The one in grad school was a moderated group and everyone in it was in a totally different place in life, and it very quickly became something easy to set aside. I think I mainly quit because of the moderation; I remember feeling so much of it was phony, and at that point I was completely therapy'd to death and really not doing well at accepting anyone pushing me in any way. I had just been through very, very intense therapy and needed to coast a little, and the people who were treating me hadn't seen what I had just completed so they weren't interested in the coasting thing.
Work....I have had work friends. This job that's not so true. I have one person I like a whole lot, but I almost never see her. Otherwise I don't get a lot of "it's ok to be Just Me" from my co-workers, so that makes friendships hard. Even when I did have good friends at work at other jobs though it was limited by the weird hours I work, the distance I always seem to work from my home, my fatigue, etc.
Raine: "how the heck can you maintain friendships like that?" is precisely my question for my therapist. I'm not sure he's buying this yet, he really thinks I have really poor social skills I think (my social skills aren't great. I fully admit this. I think though that I had much better abilities at one time and therefore to me that proves the illness has taken another thing away, not that I totally lack this). But I really want to know how anyone could possibly deal with bipolar of a significant nature and maintain a normal social life. I truly do not see it being possible. I never am completely sure he likes me normally. I think I frustrate him a good bit. But I need to ask him how much he likes it when I'm grouchy with him, because he's never seen me nearly as bad as it can be.
Online relationships haven't ever worked very well for me. Not that I've tried much. I like my blog friends and have had no problems with anyone from here. But back when I was first diagnosed or fighting with "major depression with GAD, PTSD, etc" (you name it I had it for a while) I was in some support groups. But I got irritated with a lot of it and frustrated with the people who posted the most generally being the ones who most annoyed me, which cluttered my inbox terribly. Then I got a lot of people angry at me and quit.
Again, online relationships don't turn into real ones because I live in the middle of nowhere. I only have one regular reader in this entire section of the country (multiple states).
Sarah: Don't cry.....or cry if it helps. But I guess at least there is this kind of community. I know that having you blog-people in my world in the last year and half has made a huge difference. The last 18 months have been horrible in many ways, and I have come to rely on this blog as a way to talk about it all. I am not sure I could have made it without the outlet. I'm sure I'd be seeing my therapist even more than I already do. It is amazing how often I can't wait to write about something. I don't even care anymore if people read it or like what I say. I know that there are a few of you out there I can count on to understand.
Maybe "inside friends" (ones that only exist in the computer) are the friends who are going to be closest to us in some things. I know there are areas you all understand that nobody else gets at all. I reached the point recently where I'm not even talking to people about what might be future treatments, because nobody seems capable of understanding that I really might be making a totally reasonable decision when I say I'd rather have a short course of ECT early in the next depression instead of trialing more meds nobody thinks will work. I don't talk about having taken 31 psychotropic drugs without results because nobody but someone who has been on psychotropics understands what that really means.
I don't know. I am tabling this topic for a bit in therapy because it kind of freaks me out (I feel like it is one too many major issues on the table at once) but I'd love to hear ongoing thoughts because this one will be coming back, I suspect a lot. My hermit ways have been detected....