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 Marcia Purse

How Do I Better Understand My Friend with Bipolar Disorder?

By July 8, 2009

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Bipolar disorder is Mjolnir, the devastating war hammer of the god Thor. With both a hammer head and a spike, it has two brutal blows. Bipolar disorder takes a toll on those who have the disorder; it also beats on people in the lives of those with bipolar disorder.

LZ, a friend to someone with bipolar disorder, shares in a forum post, I've just been pushed away really hard, and I guess maybe if I could hear some others explain what they're thinking when they do it, I mean... push people away that they care about, it would help me be more compassionate toward the person who pushed me away.

I'd like to think of myself as someone who is willing to learn. If I made a mistake, I want to learn from it. If someone else made a mistake, I'd like to learn from that, too.

We have quite an ongoing conversation about how family member can help someone with bipolar disorder. So lets flip the conversation to the perspective to our loved-ones. How can someone with bipolar disorder help a friend or a loved-one better understand? What advice do you have to offer LZ? ~Kimberly

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July 10, 2009 at 9:03 am
(1) Melinda says:

I can only speak from my experience but when I push people away it is usually to protect from the inevitable fall out that will occur. Pushing people away keeps them away from the monster and they never need see how scary and nasty I can be. It’s the cycle I am in for every high and good feeling there will be hell to pay. That is unmedicated, however, I have yet to find a medication that can totally and perfectly monitor my system, and respond to it accordingly.

July 10, 2009 at 12:38 pm
(2) flowerbells says:

When unmedicated, like I used to be but not anymore, I would push people away when I suddenly decided they had some trait or something and I no longer liked them. Like, this boyfriend I had who told me that “all eyes are really blue,” and that any other eye color was a sign of ill health. He had blue eyes, OF COURSE. Mine are green, I’m proud of them, and I didn’t need anyone to tell me my green eyes were a sign of ill health, or lack of good nutrition, or something. He also had chronic sinusitis, apparently, and from time to time would get a goober hanging from the end of his nose — made me sick to see it. I didn’t have the nerve to confront him, so I wrote him and told him these things. It was so cruel — I still regret it.

Now that I am medicated, I’m able to just “pull back” for a while, not push people away. I just tell them I need to rest, or need time alone, or even that I feel a mood coming on and need to take care of myself, by myself, and that I will call them when I feel better.

July 10, 2009 at 2:29 pm
(3) EMD9112001 says:

I push people away because I feel like they deserve better. No one should have to deal with this garbage that I have to live with. No matter how much they tell me they DO want to deal with it and help me, I just feel like they need a life without the pain of dealing with my problems. Don’t take it personally when you are pushed away. It’s not anything about you.

July 14, 2009 at 10:26 pm
(4) Stephanie says:

I Think Everyone With BP, Has Pushed The People You Love Away!! I Did & Do, When I’m Cycling Either Way(I’m A Rapid Cycler). I Have An Eleven Yr Old & A Five Yr Old & I Push Them Away When I’m Feeling My Worst. For Two Reasons…The First..To Protect Them From Seeing Me Like That & The Other Reason Is I Hate Being A Burden On Anyone. I Don’t Want My Friends Or Family To Have To Deal With The Uglyness Of This Disease. I Can’t Stand To See The Hirt & Pain That I Can Cause. At The Time When We Need Support The Most, We Push Away, It Just Seems Easier. more Humane… Your Friend Probably Is Pushing You Away Out Of Love. Just Let Them Know That You Are There, Whenever They Need You. Please Don’t Give Up On Them!!

July 27, 2011 at 6:23 pm
(5) Mario says:

I have a friend that I am dating that told me that she’s bi-polar. I told her she is not bi polar and we both started laughing to gather becuase I thought she was just playing since she loves to joke alot. She said it a few times that she is wierd. I told her I love her no matter what. I told her I am wierd too.(smile) Make along story short. She got in a heated argument with a girl she never got along with and told me that this girl is the type that will put a gun on some one. I told her to stay away form this girl. I told her that girl is not work it anyway. To make along story short. She said she will call me back tomorrow night. She said she would be okay. I call her back and text her but she did not return my call and I sent her something on her birthday in the mail and she did not say thank you or that she recieve it. Now its a month and I have not heard from her. I send her plenty of emails and told her that I love her along with me calling her but she does not answer my phone calls. I now know that she is doing fine. Because I was on facebook and she responded to her aunt on facebook. I wrote and told her I love her and I glad she is doing finee and that it hurts me that she ignoring me and it makes me said. I ask her was she bi-polar. When I got back on facebook she deleted me and a cirlce of our friends. I was even more hurt. I am convince that she is now. Because now that I think about it. She always taking something to help her sleep at night because she said its hard for her to go to sleep. Me and this lady friend of mine would stay on the phone for 6 hours until day light because I enjoy talking to her and I really love her. We will send us things in the mail. She will send me things in the mail. She talk about me to her mom. She told me I remind me of her mom.

July 16, 2009 at 3:14 am
(6) madnana says:

I have been as upfront as I can with the people around me regarding my illness and some of the behavior that comes along with it. I make a difference between becoming overstimulated and needing a “time out” from pushing people away. My experience is that once family and friends understand that they have done nothing to provoke this situation, but that I have to sort things out for a bit, they are much more secure and even compassionate. Group therapy is a good way to learn how we sound to other people and cognitive ways to be able to say what we mean instead of tripping all over ourselves
in pain and anger. This is especially true when I am in a mixed state and am so busy communing with the bats flying around in my head that I look just a bit wild=eyed to my friends. I think perhaps we are often not easy people to be around.

July 16, 2009 at 8:27 pm
(7) richard says:

BP is nothing-but a collection of behaviours we have chosen to do, to act upon to react, to and with others-nothing more nothing less.Just like any thing in the universe any action produces an equal and opposite reaction.Cause and effect, karma if you like-so we are all bound by the thoght processes we formulate. We BP people loke non BP people are people and WE are responsible for our actions.
This simple truth in physics Work = Force x Distance-is the remedy to recovery.We dont push the boundaries of our friendships, our diet, our self esteem-we wont reap the whirlwhind reaction from our minds ,our friends, our loved ones we push away.
Middle path dynamics-Buddha,Christ,Mohammed ,Guru Nanak, Lao Tze all saints teach the middle way-and infact all balance in the world is achieved thru balance in all things
Meditation on the principles of middle path dynamics through a competent teacher of balanced energy-
Lacto vegetarianism,non illicit drugs,no alcohol,no eggs fish or meat products containing them-a moral life -marriage or celibacy daily meditation on the sound current with the help of a competent living teacher of the middle path -Tao -shabd-will remedy some of the negative effects of the extreme emtions and thoughts (see below) that we socalled human beings have been acting on.
.Bipolar is the extreme- the remedy is in middle pole-nonpolar =humilty Zero tolerance for mental imbalance.
The serene mind causes no harm.Upset mind is the tsunami of emotions. Hard to do but not impossible peace of mind is exactly that-PEACE MIND.
We can all soar with high spirits and rapid cycling -channelised to higher planes of concious thought which brings beauty,peace ,bliss love,divine love,spiritual love total surrender to God which is Love-the sound current ,the shabd,logos,the Tao-the kalma,kun etc-and the opposite mind reactions -ALL THE NEGATIVES IN CREATION are caused by mental -ly ill humans 6 billion of US-secreting negativity every second of our lives -just to name a few of the mental illnesses-ie
anger,greed,pride,lust,egotism,racism,sexism,ageism,divorce,bestiality,promiscuity,homosexual heterosexual debauchery,ape,genital mutilation , atomic wars ,drug dealind,drug addiction,sex addiction,,pornography,prostitution,gang related criminality,polital economic corruption wars ,apartheid ,slavery,colonialismwars,drugdealing,murders,wars

Now whiach do we prefer serenity or the negative machinations of the mind ?

I have been struggling along the path of surat shabd yoga since 1982-no drugs,booze,being lactovegetarian-struggling to daily meditation-and lead a moral life-
I feel much better w meds regular sleep good friends,a good relationship w my wife,10 yrs we had a break-now we are reworking the relationship -she is getting help for her issues=i am with mine-it is a struggle.But we all will get through.
My teacher Baba Ji( RSSB.org) said last year at Beas Punjab t a group of 500 foreigners at Hostel No 6 October 6th 2008 -at 6.35pm -in the new translaton hall “There is always a way out.” of our self induced problems.We created that thought-we can extricate it.The glass is half full.An attitudinal adjustment-a way forward-we can do anything-do it well.All of us are masters in our own right-when -not if-we realise it.In other words we are all mentally ill if we attached to this creation of illusion -When we attach ourselves to that middle path soundcurrent-which brings immediate relief from pain-because our higher self-our soul is One with serenity and Love-it is our minds which are in pain.
Therefore only way forward is UP.A higher conciusness leads to bliss-which is above if you will the senses, the lower nature-
Peac is Love -Love is God-The word the sound current -extant in all creation.The sustaining life force of all things that were made.
Every cell is alive because of this force-which Lao Tze called Tao.
Christ named it holy ghost-Guru Nanak called it Shabd mohmmed -named it Kalma-Socrates -logos or music of the spheres.
In Maori -wairua-many paths many philosophies many races–the same truth the one truth is -God- the path of light and sound etc is the cure for all ills-Love is the cure for bipolar-the resonant harmony of a balanced mind.-with a little help from our friends
Living Teacher, a path, a goal, -balanced life adherring to the principles of our chosen path-and this will bring a healthier mind to cope with the tsunami of bi polar destiny.
It has worke d for me-I still get the DSM V classic symptoms-but am able to cope better.
My friends I try to educate about my probs-this news letter helps
anyway thats my experience-dont give up is key-believe in your self and sleep eat well take meds be normal-express your self without hurting you or others.Find a non violent way to be angry-
to be loving-ut KNOW We are all RESPONSIBLE bipolar disorder or not for OUR ACTIONS. God -Atheist Agnostic Bless.

July 17, 2009 at 6:59 am
(8) Imnxtc4 says:

How dare you compare homesexuality to a mental illness shame on you, take your meds

February 26, 2010 at 5:05 am
(9) Demi says:

I have BP disorder and am, unfortunately, currently in the process of loosing many friends of my own… What you must realize is that people are selfish, but I don’t mean this in a bitter/anger sort of way, I mean that most people care more about what THEY are going through and how THEY feel.
I’m dealing with some medical issues, so recently I had to abruptly stop the medication I was taking for BP disorder. The withdrawal symptoms are epic. Nowhere near what I expected. I am going through utter hell. I literally wouldn’t wish this sort of pain on even my worst enemy…
About a week ago a friend left me a message saying, “our friendship is over,” (I know. Juvenile.) and God was I *MAD*. I’ve stopped going to school. Stopped seeing my friends. Stopped doing what I love. I hit rock bottom. We’ve been friends for a long time, but I can honestly say there is not 1 bone in my body that cares about her.
So, always keep in mind that what’s going on in our heads can be very different from what’s going on in yours.
The fact that my friend was aware of my condition and still did that!!! I literally thought she was trying to murder me. I could believe THAT was my friend. 1 bad friend= all of my friends are bad=I have no friends=FAIL=failure in school= I fail at life.
I constantly feel like everyone deserves better than me. I get mad that they like me. I get mad that they know me. I get mad that I’ve kept them in my life for so long.
Try not to take it personally. For me, I push *everything away. “I am not good enough.” “I am a failure.” “I just want to be left alone.”
The most annoying thing is, when I’m dealing with issues of destructive, fluctuating, intensive, hypersensitive thoughts and emotions, is when a “friend” just does not care and talks on and on about themselves. It just gives me more to hate. I think of ALL the bad in them and what they’ve done to me (during these times, maybe it’ll help to remind the person with BP about the good things).
Although they want to be alone, they cannot be.
Keep talking to them. Thoughts sometimes run haywire, and sometimes it’s nice to have someone sort it out and show that everything’s a total over-reaction. Be the optimistic one, even if it’s fake…
Oh, and, in my opinion, if the friendship IS truly important to you, no matter how hard it may be, just keep communicating. Do nice, random things to show that you DO care. It’ll leave some hope for them to second guess their feelings. There world is dark, try to discretely shine some light in.
I really hope this helped a little…

September 2, 2011 at 3:43 am
(10) Irkle says:

You are the one who is selfish.Your friends are not being selfish to pull away from your abuse.The things you have said about them really apply to you.You are the one who is selfish and juvenile and cannot see the effect you seem to have on other people.Perhaps you should feel hatred for yourself for being so selfish,not them.Perhaps if you take your meds on a regular basis,you may be able to see reality.

June 15, 2011 at 7:07 am
(11) louise says:

i was diagnosed with bipolar in 2008, at a bad point in my life, i gradually got used to it- the numbness that the medication gives you, i came off the medication and dropped my physcologist, thinking i was not a weak person and i could do this, as time has progressed i have gone worse and now i am at a low point, and reading some of these comments explains exactly how i feel, i have gone back to my doctor, i just hope i can find a way out of this dark feeling :(

June 15, 2011 at 7:09 am
(12) leweatan54@yahoo.com says:

i was diagnosed with bd in 2008, i came off the meds in the end and now im struggling, i thought i would be numb forever and reading these comments made me realise i am not alone and other people feel like i do, i hope for my daughters sake i can get out of this dark path

December 18, 2011 at 3:40 pm
(13) shan says:

My daughter has bipolar and she pushes me away so much and then returns days later! She tells me she loves me when I tell her. Before I knew what was happening to her I would say things to test her like a push and pull situation. When I did that the first time she was sooo angry! She hated me and puklled away even more. Now she is on shut down. She won’t talk to me and tells me that she doesn’t need a mother. I am beginning to understand and not take it personal.
It helps that there are others that share their stories to assist me because before I would cry and hurt deeply now I am free and just wait for her to return and try to be as understanding as possible.

December 26, 2011 at 10:40 am
(14) Lisa Beck says:

My 18 year old daughter also has BD, although she won’t accept it. After years of taking the brunt of her incredible mood swings, I did research and got counseling myself because she was so incredibly hurtful, especially to me. It seemed so extreme and confusing. I can relate to other parents who are having difficulty continuing to try and help their children who utterly scream and cause so much pain. I realize my daughter is in pain but there is only so much bitterness, yelling, angry texting, hurtful voicemails that a parent can take, especially when they love the child so fervently and have tried for years to get them help. All we can do is continue to pray and wait for the day to come when she realizes that there could be a better life for her with knowledge of her disease and medication. We’ve lost so much time together already. thank you for all who are helping each other on this site.

March 27, 2012 at 1:36 pm
(15) kelly says:

i had a very close best friend with bipolar who has completely shut me out of her life i am not copeing very well at all and i have spiralled into depression since she shut me out i spend most of my day worrying about her and i feel like a part of me is missing i send her emails occasionally but never get replies until the other day she emailed me to say please stop emailing me it hurts too much i want my friend back and miss her but dont know what to do i want to email her and tell her how much i miss her but i feel i have to respect her wishes i wonder if an old fashioned letter would be received any better

will she ever just contact me and say hi ?or is this it is our friendship really over ???

April 4, 2012 at 9:21 pm

Having been a Christian most of my life, it was devastating that I had to take meds to function. I was diagnosed in 1973 and have had many struggles but rarely have been unable to function (but occasionally I have, due to an overdose of one kind or another orescribed by a well meaning Psychiatrist). I use the argument that Jesus healed the blind man by picking up dirt and spitting on it and applying it to the blind man’s eye. The “dirt” is the Doctor and the “spit” is the medicine. God has given us people who have discovered meds that help us. Why would He refuse us the right to use these discoveries? I’m an entertainer…doing “Minnie Pearl” gigs and am a soprano soloist, still driving my car and proud of 4 wonderful, successful children — thankful to still be going strong and witnessing re my BP experiences often.

May 31, 2012 at 4:27 pm
(17) Blue2010 says:

I have a friend who is bipolar and lately i feel like we have been drifing apart. My freshman year we became close good friends. She has helped me with alot and has been there for me alot. I feel like I wasn’t there for her enough. During my sophomore year she told me she was bipolar. I’m glad she was honest with me about it. About a month or so after she had gotten more agitated with me. She told me she felt used after we had made up a couple months later. She is now getting annoyed with me again and i feel like she wants to stop being friends with me. I texted her asking if i could stop by and say hi before the year is over but she told me to stop texting her and deleted me off facebook. I hope eventually she will contact me again. Alot of people just need time and space.

September 3, 2012 at 7:46 pm
(18) jeannie says:

i have a friend that is bi-polar i’ve know him for 8 yrs now he just moved out today to live with his mom. i’m just trying to understand why a 48 year old man, would make a mess out of are frinedship and just walk away like he did. I really don’t know him anymore he just act like it dose’nt bother him, and his mom tol me not to get upset with it. Is that the right thing to do just to forgett him now?

October 18, 2012 at 9:55 pm
(19) lostfriend says:

I have a friend that told me he is bipolar. At first he came off as very grumpy. (we worked together) We now work at different places and I still I’ll try to keep in touch with him. Sometimes he won’t text he back (sometimes for days) or pushes off hanging out. I don’t know if he doesn’t want to be friends anymore or if he’s just going through a bp cycle? It makes me sad and it also reminds me how my own depression affects those around me. I wish he’d just tell me if he’s going through it. We used to be so close. Am I wasting my time?

December 19, 2012 at 6:05 pm
(20) B says:

Thanks to those that shared your feelings about what you go through when you push away. I have had the ultimate push very recently. I have read about the disorder but I know it will never come close to understanding what you guys go through. I am thankful for your sharing what my friend cannot.

January 25, 2013 at 3:21 am
(21) elle says:

Recently I was push away by a bipolar friend who had said a number of times that we were “best” friends. We had a pretty intense and supportive friendship. He went through days where he would isolate, then be all happy to be with me again. We were just good friends, but when he decided one day that we could no longer be friends, it was devastating for me. I too have a spiralling depression from this and feel as if I’ ‘ll never get over it. I feel as if he has somehow damaged me and I have walked away with part of his disease. I need to move on but desperately wish we could be friends again. It is like a void right now and I’ ‘ll never meet anyone like this again. If he had been my lover rather than my best friend, this would be so much easier to understand. I am just waiting to heal.

February 8, 2013 at 7:28 am
(22) bill says:

All the comments r ringin true to me. My closest friend came off of her meds wen she became pregnant and I’ve not known her to be this avoidant of me. She is fine to everyone else but me. From a selfish point of view I fear that, even tho I was the first person she told she was pregnant, I’m never going to meet her son wen he’s born and that kills me. But, more important than that I’m worried about her and her high risk of post partum depression or psychosis. How do I talk to her about it wen she literally ignores any attempt I make to talk to her (or sumtimes she can b nasty). Also, she always insists its my fault we don’t talk anymore. Please help if you can.

February 17, 2013 at 1:31 pm
(23) Mike says:

Wow am i glad to see all these comments..I just finally figured out that a friend of mine was bi polar..It has answered so many questions..the total regection stuff like deleting me off facebook,not replying to text’s..then suddenly wanting to talk,hang out and even have sex..then suddenly be so cold and frigid towards me.I’ve learned a lot about myself and the test of true friendship..I hope now that I know she is bi polar I will even be able to be a bigger support for her..If she ever talks to me again..You just don’t know :s

July 20, 2013 at 12:26 am
(24) P says:

My female friend at work has pushed me away and has not spoken to me or seen me for over two months. I tried communicating with her over email but she ignored me. She is also ignoring my coworker friends too. She has cut us all off it seems. I know she has issues, and after reading the posts here, I now think she is bipolar. I am very upset about not seeing her and talking with her. We clicked very well and were fairly close work-friends. I am afraid to send any more emails as I think it is clear that she doesn’t want to talk with me at this time (or maybe ever). She might even feel I was bothering her, and I wouldn’t want to do that.

Do people with BD who have pushed people away, ever reach out to the people they have pushed away? I would like to be there to support her, even if she has BD. I’d like to help her. I miss her so much. I feel depressed about this and have a difficult time sleeping. It’s hard for me to understand how things went from her being very friendly and kind to me, to cutting me out of her life with no communication. I feel like I’ve lost a good friend and it hurts so much. If only I could talk to her and see her.

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