The Need to Belong...and Being Me...

Posted by Katrina Roets at 1:21 PM

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

I've been struggling since Sunday night and while this wasn't what I had planned on writing about, I find myself needing to get this out of my head and out into the universe. You see, I'm not sure if my reaction to something is "normal". In fact, I'm fairly positive that it isn't and since a friend of mine has been trying to hard to understand what it's like to be me and live in my head, I thought maybe, just maybe this might be a good example for not only him, but for anyone who wonders what bipolar disorder can be like.

Some of you may know that for the past six months or so I've been absolutely blessed to be editor on a series of all ages comics. It's been so good for me. I've felt as if I have some value and perhaps more importantly, as if I'm a part of something. The group who works on these books is pretty set... the writer/letterer/owner, a cover artist and an interior artist. I thought that I was part of that group too, but now I'm pretty sure that I'm not. The writer was texting back and forth with me about upcoming deadlines and there wasn't one for me on the new book. To say I was crushed is putting it lightly. I cried myself to sleep and even now, two days later, I'm crying writing about it.

"It’s not very surprising that due to all these odd thoughts, due to all the extreme, obsessive and distracting thoughts that we overreact to situations. If your brain automatically goes to a catastrophe situation and then becomes obsessed with it, it’s really tough to have a moderate response – even when it’s a moderate situation."

I haven't spoken to him about it because I'm afraid that he'll tell me that he doesn't need me or want me working on this or any other project. It's been a long time since I've allowed myself to get so wrapped up in the anxiety. Still, I keep remembering how I was once told not to ask the question if you don't really want to know the answer.

"...people with bipolar disorder think in the extreme quite frequently. Everything feels like the end of the world (catastrophizing). We’re not upset, we’re depressed. We’re not suspicious, we’re paranoid. We’re not happy, we’re elated. And of course there are all the thoughts that go along with these things. If our boyfriend looks at another girl he must be cheating. If we have a disagreement with a friend they must hate use If we’re criticized at work we must be getting fired. It’s not that we don’t necessarily understand these things aren’t reasonable; it’s just that we can’t help the way our brain thinks, the way it leaps."

Part of me is 100% sure that I'm overreacting. Then there's the "dangerous" part that can list sign after sign that I've never been a valued part of things. It's so hard to have an ongoing battle within your own head and yet even harder to just put the fears into words to another person. I so badly want to be a part of this and I know that I've told him more than once how wonderful a thing it is for me to be allowed to work on the projects.

The reality is that I know that my work has value and has been valued. Still, I've allowed this insecurity to ride along with me since the very beginning. I respect the man in charge, but more than once, I've felt as if he lets me work on things as a favor to me and not because he truly wants me on a project.

"People with bipolar disorder are constantly trying to figure out what a “normal” and “reasonable” thought process and reaction would be in any given situation. We’re constantly trying to overcome how our bipolar brain naturally thinks in order to have healthy interactions and healthy relationships. We’re constantly trying to deal with the extremeness of our thoughts internally so we don’t thrust them on the external world."

I don't want to thrust my insecurities on him and so I sit here trying to decide what a reasonable reaction is...a reaction that won't chase him (because he is a dear friend) out of my world. I always worry about people leaving me. It's ridiculously hard for me to trust someone enough to let that guard down. Maybe I should just lay my "crazy" line of thinking out before him and run the risk of him getting upset with me. Maybe I should just stay quiet and convince myself somehow that I was never a part of things and that this amazing thing is now no longer a part of my life... or maybe somehow I could find a reasonable reaction..

"And this is beyond difficult. Trying to defeat the way a bipolar brain thinks is near-on impossible. Dealing with bipolar thoughts is a full-time gig and an exhausting one at that. But it is important. Because if we don’t moderate our own thoughts and deal with them appropriately, we can’t hope to have healthy relationships with others. And if that happens then all those pesky catastrophes we worried needlessly about will have come true."

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Quotes taken from: Bipolar Burble

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