I had a conversation with my dad yesterday that kind of left me sad. Sad/disappointed kind of sad.
He had asked about my job, and I explained that I signed up for two positions in order to keep me busy during the day when the kids are gone, and in my down-time I would work on making rosaries. I explained that keeping busy helped keep all the bad thoughts away and helped me from feeling depressed.
“Well, why would you want to think about depressing things?” he asked.
“Well, I don’t, but sometimes the bipolar disorder does that.” I replied.
And then he quickly changed the subject to computer stuff.
I guess I talk more about the bipolar with my mom more than I do my dad. So, I can’t be mad that he doesn’t “get it”. To be honest, I don’t think my mom totally get’s it either, but she listens well, and she doesn’t feel uncomfortable talking about it. She tries to help sometimes by offering suggestions, but there are times when she just doesn’t understand, but she admits that she doesn’t. And I am ok with that.
I think for my dad, it is uncomfortable because he doesn’t know what to say to make it better. Maybe he doesn’t want to face the fact that I am “faulty”. Your parents aren’t supposed to have favorites, but my dad and I are pretty close. He imparted all his wisdom to me; teaching me how to fix cars so I don’t have to depend on a man, played catch with me and taught me how to play softball, taught me how to clean a gun, make bullets, and shoot a gun. All the kind of stuff that dad’s do with their son’s to bond. He did it all with me, not my sister. So I can imagine, being a parent myself, it must be a hard pill to swallow knowing that your child has a mental illness.
It was awkward when he changed the subject and I don’t know how to feel about that.
This, along with the survey that I took today kind of brought me to a point where I wondered, what exactly is it that I expect from others for them to be “supportive” of my mental health.
To be perfectly honest, I feel so much more comfortable talking to all of YOU… people I don’t know, never have met, and probably never will, about my mental health. Because YOU GET IT. You have some kind of grasp about what it is like to suffer on some level with the rollercoaster that I ride. Whether it is my highs, my lows, or the stupid shit in-between, you can relate.
I think that is what I, personally, need at this time in my life, is for people to be able to RELATE on some level. And if you can’t, you at least have some compassionate or empathetic words for me. Which, by the way, I appreciate so very much.
But what do I expect from the people in my life? Understanding? How can they understand if they haven’t lived it. Sympathy? I certainly don’t want pity. I guess that leaves compassion. I just want the people in my life to understand that someday’s I just can’t deal with life, and that is just how it is. Please, continue to love me, but also understand that this will pass sooner or later. Someday’s I’m just sad, and there is no reason behind it, but I certainly don’t want the thoughts to stay there, and I try to make them go away to the best of my ability. Sometimes I am really happy, and that isn’t always a good thing, though at the time it might seem GREAT and like I am in a good place.
But maybe most of all I have to make sure I understand myself before I can expect others to understand me.