My Bipolar disorder mixed with a heap of anxiety and a few helpings of paranoia has served to destroy most of the relationships and friendships I have had through my 27 years.
I have always felt I was a bad person and for a long time my behaviour was what most people would construe as fairly awful though I’m sure there are worse things I could have been doing… I still have a hard time believing this doesn’t make me a terrible person but my therapist has been trying to convince me otherwise. She says that the behaviour I exhibited was in correlation to my illness and the desperation, as a child, to try to cope with the feelings I had no hope of understanding and a reaction to the ways in which I was treated on occasion by those around me as they tried, in vain, to understand why I was behaving in this way. I don’t know if I believe this but I do know that the way I feel about myself has had and continues to have a massive impact on my friendships and relationships culminating in what I term, the cut and run… My best friend and mental saviour is the only person that I have let in on the secret of the cut and run – which until around 2009 was a completely subconscious action; essentially the cut and run is the point in any relationship or friendship that I have had where I feel we are getting close, fear, paranoia and anxiety strikes, I panic that the other person is going to get tired of me, delude myself into believing that they secretly hate me and live in a constant fear that they will realise I’m not worth the trouble and leave and so to save myself from the pain of loss I cut and run – as a result of this I have lost many, many people and have never had a relationship or close friendship that lasts longer than 3 years, until my current friend.
The realisation of what I was doing only dawned on me when I left my husband, in 2009, after just under 3 years together; I was very unhappy with him, but I had no real reason to be as he was a generous and loving man (though a little immature but nobody is perfect). He was pushed to the edge after trying to cope with my illness for so long and he was at a loss as to how to help me – but that is understandable as after having my son I suffered a complete psychotic episode which lasted for around two of the almost three years I was with him and I will never know how he continued to pour so much love my way while I behaved in the way that I did.
After realising that I was running from all of my most important relationships I came back to the importance of honesty and so my current friend is privy to my failings in almost painful detail and she accepts each and every one of them with a grace that boggles the brain. We celebrated our 3 year ‘friendaversary’ at the end of last year in honour of my beating the cycle and maintaining a friendship longer than any other in my past and closer than all those before it; it is impossible to describe how wonderful it feels to have someone who understands exactly how much it means for me to have made it to that point. I honestly do not know what I would do without her. I know without a doubt that on the days plagued by paranoia and anxiety she will attempt pull me out of it and if I were ever to cut and run she would chase me down and force me to reconsider. This is the beauty of honesty and acceptance, friendship and compassion.