Six months ago I had a disappointing experience with another blogger who has bipolar disorder. I’m curious if any of you have ever experienced a similar situation. Although I no longer think often about what happened, it still comes up, which I’ll explain towards the end of this
The X File
By glancing at X’s cheerful Gravatar image, one would think this self-proclaimed bipolar advocate is positive and kind. And yes, X seemingly does possess these attributes through interactions with Twitter followers, but X has not been kind to me.
Everything I’m about to explain stems from one Twitter exchange.
I tweeted X. I asked her to please retweet my blog post link. X was retweeting tweets of every subject imaginable to our “tribe” so I didn’t think twice about asking her. I liked what she was doing and thought she was a kindred spirit.
I assumed that as a bipolar disorder advocate she’d want to help me. Other reputable people and organizations retweeted my link, so I wasn’t asking her to tweet something unethical like a nude line dancing website or anything like that.
She didn’t help me. When I messaged her about it, her reply was odd. I sensed something was off and I was upset about the exchange because I’m too sensitive.
Some of you may be thinking,
Dyane, it has been six months! Let this silly Twitter thing go – it’s not worth your time! And this is a boring post – c’mon, why don’t you write about a real drama queen-type of situation? Like nude line dancing! Jazz it up!
Well, my lovely readers, I was beginning to let the X-change go because hey – I’m busy. I facilitate a free support group, I’m running a Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) Chapter, and most importantly, I have two kids, a husband and Miss Lucy Collie to care for. I’m also completing my manuscript, doing laundry, cleaning, working out, and eating too much gelato.
In her own unique way, X was encouraging me to “let go”of her as X blocked me from her Twitter account! Her blocking threw me off — it bummed me out. For you fellow Twitteraddicts,it’s one thing to mute someone; it’s something totally different to block.
In my classic paranoid fashion, I started thinking that I did something wrong. I cringe while typing this, but here goes: I emailed X an apology for anything I wrote that may have offended her. I added that I’d gladly tweet her causes whenever she asked me for help. Sure, I did nothing wrong, but I apologized nevertheless. Ugh.
I didn’t receive a response.
Then things got strange.
After blocking me from her Twitter account, X started following my blog.
Then X started “liking” my blog posts.
I wondered if X was liking my posts in hopes of my followers spotting her Gravatar so they’d be attracted to her blog. Who knows?
Does it matter in the big picture of worldly events?
However, I couldn’t help but wonder if X is doing strange behavior to other well-meaning people.
What I describe between me and X is superficial, but it’s still disappointing. I’ve had nothing but positive experiences with WordPress and Twitter until this occurred.
As X continues to virtually network and earn the trust of strangers vulnerable with mood disorders, it disturbs me that she’s playing these passive/aggressive games.
Obviously X is not doing well. I can guess that she needs much more support than she’s getting. She’s fixating on helping others, yet she’s not dealing with her own bipolar disorder. I’ve seen this happen with others, namely a former close friend, and she wound up relapsing. Hopefully someone close to X is aware of how she’s doing and is getting her the help she needs.
All this stuff got me really freaked out for a while. I obsessed about it because I’ve always been insecure. I also think it’s a form of self-sabotage. I stop focusing upon and acting upon the REALLY important things in my life.
To use a cheesy phrase, I’m sweating the small stuff so badly that I start to drown in rivers of funky sweat. This reaction helps no one. Since I’m finally in a position to help others, i.e. my family, the support group, the book, I’m stopping this pattern. Now.
At this point, there’s nothing I can do with X except show compassion towards her. It wasn’t easy for me to do that when her Gravatar popped up on my post about my brother-in-law’s death, but whatever. I took a deep breath and went on with my day.
Even though this type of life lesson is NOT fun, I’ve learned from it. So here’s what I’m taking away from the X File incident apart from working on being compassionate:
I want to grow a thicker skin.
I need to not try so hard to make things okay when it’s apparent that the other person has problems I can’t fix. (I’m sure there’s more.)
I’m incredibly fortunate to have the support system of my family, my counselor/pdoc and YOU – the blogosphere!
Thanks for reading, my friends. I appreciate each one of you!
Dyane Leshin-Harwood’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Walker Karraa (author of the acclaimed Transformed by Postpartum Depression: Women’s Stories of Trauma and Growth) will be published by Post Hill Press next year.