When A Member of Our Tribe Disappoints Us

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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 vent post.

 

The X File

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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?

NOPE!

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!

Xo,

Dyane

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.  

 

Tired

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This blurry picture was taken with my ancient cell phone minutes before The Stinging occurred this afternoon

 

I’m tired.

Being around grief is draining. My husband’s only brother has been gone for less than two weeks, so his death is still very recent and shocking. I’m profoundly thankful that I’m not the one in deep grief, but it’s still challenging being around it. It’s not just tough on me; it’s hard on our two young girls, but the cliche “children are resilient” seems to ring true with them. They’ve been through far worse during the many times I was incapacitated with bipolar depression and when I was away in the hospital seven times for bipolar disorder. They’re keeping busy with school, ballet, The SpongeBob Lama and lest we forget, My Little Pony. (They’ll deny watching that, but they can’t resist watching those freaky, perky ponies prance about.)

Apart from the sadness, the fall is my absolute favorite time of year. I love autumn, and I love Halloween! (It’s my favorite holiday.) October is a powerful, weird, symbolic time as I was married in October of 2001 and I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in October, 2007. I just read on Therese Borchard’s blog Beyond Blue that fall can create excessive anxiety for people and that made me pause…it seems to be a very activating time in many kinds of ways, both good and yuck.

Speaking of anxiety, I experienced some of it this afternoon while relaxing on the deck with Lucy. This wacky collie (who has the one of the thickest coats you can imagine – it’s layer-upon-layer of softness) loves sitting in the sun whether it’s a mild 65 degrees or last week’s heat wave of 101+!  

I saw a bee flying around her and I gently waved it away, thinking nothing of it. We don’t have that many bees around here and I thought the bee flew off on its merry way. I proceeded to pet Lucy’s fluffy side and BOOYA!

Unbeknownst to me, the bee returned to burrow in Lucy’s honey-colored coat and it stung the side of my right hand. I thought I had a fairly high toleration for pain, but damn, it hurt! This was one big bee. I hadn’t been stung since I was a kid. Luckily I’m not allergic to bee stings or else it could have been a very scary situation. One of the first books I ever read was about a child who dies from a bee sting – talk about giving one a bee phobia, which is technically called melissophobia. I put ice on the swollen spot, which helped a lot, and then I followed up with calamine lotion. 

That was my excitement for the day!

Unfortunately this post isn’t too exciting, but I like to check in once a week on Thursdays or Fridays. I feel really off if I don’t post 1X/week. I even get a bit paranoid that if I start skipping my habit I’ll get lax about blogging and give it up. Ye olde black and white thinking! Perish that thought!

It’s okay if posts aren’t always Fresh Pressed-caliber, right? 😉 (By the way, I’m losing respect for F.P. – I can write about that another time, but for now let me just state for there record that I was shocked and disappointed that WordPress editors didn’t publish anything about World Suicide Prevention Day/suicide-related! Like we really need another post about paleo nutrition instead. Shameful!)

On a separate note, I want to apologize to some of you who commented on my last post about skipping my brother-in-law’s memorial and feeling hugely guilty about that. I wasn’t able to reply to everyone, and I took down the post to honor Craig’s wishes – he never read it because he never reads this blog, but a few nights ago he asked me if I wrote about his brother’s death. Before he could even finish his sentence I blurted out “I did write about it and I’ll take it down.” I didn’t want to make him uncomfortable, and I could tell he wanted me to refrain from posting lots of Don-related stuff. I had absolutely no problem taking it down, but I didn’t get a chance to reply to Just Plain ‘Ol Vic, Kitt O’Malley, Blahpolar and Socialworker Angela

Thanks again for your wonderful comments – they really, really helped me because, as you know, I felt like shit about the whole thing. It was a wonderful case of the blogosphere coming to me at my time of need. I only had that post up for less than a day and I got immediate, high-quality support. That, my friends, is what I love about blogging. To have bloggers who take the time to share their insights and encouragement makes me want to stay connected with the blogosphere forever. 

I’m going to go drag my sorry butt to my elliptical machine because it really does help keep my evil bipolar depression at bay. I still have the Seroquel spider belly, but as soon as I stop inhaling a pint of gelato every day and drink more water, it’ll start to shrink.  I’ll keep you posted on that. 🙂

I wish you a wonderful week ahead!

XOXOXO

Dyane

Dyane’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.