AM .5 Ativan, 90 Cymbalta, 10 Viibryd, 50 Lamictal, 5 Zyprexa
afternoon 1 Ativan
PM 1 Ativan, 150 Seroquel XR, 50 Topamax
I have talked about pretending a lot. Like a lot a lot. If you are interested in reading any of those posts you can click on the pretending tag in the word cloud. I'm talking about it, again, because I have recently gained a different perspective on the concept and I thought I'd share it with you.
Pretending is such a huge part of bipolar disorder. At least it always has been for me. Not during manias, of course, but during times of depression. I never wanted to be the party pooper. I never wanted to be described to someone as:
"You know, the quiet girl with sad eyes."
My, are those beautifully sad eyes.
photo by Adrian Raymer
Even though being the quiet girl with sad eyes is a big part of who I am, sometimes, I never wanted to share that part of me with anyone. And especially not at a social function. So I would pretend. I would instead be described as:
"You know, the bubbly girl who talks a lot."
It was very unusual for anyone to ever ask me, "Are you okay?" I was that good at pretending. The real question is where's my Academy Award?
But pretending isn't easy. Let's go ahead and call it what it is - downright exhausting. I have never found the sentiment, "fake it til you make it" to be true. It must work for some people or I doubt I would have the unfortunate experience of people telling me to, "just give it a try," and me wanting to punch them in the face. But it does not work for me.
As soon as I would get into the car to go home from whatever social function I was attending and "faking it" without "making it," I would unravel. I would come completely undone. It was too much to put on such a show. No wonder there is a union for actors. Hey, where's my SAG card and trailer filled with crazy pills, Swedish fish, and Fiji water?
Geeze, I need a new bipolar agent...
But I didn't just pretend at parties. I even pretended at home with my husband, or out to lunch with my closest friends. I didn't want to be the depressed wife, even though I was. I didn't want to be the depressed friend, even though I was. Let me tell you, the amount of work it takes to perform those shows is ridiculous. But I was worried. I was afraid to be the depressed wife or the depressed friend.
Maybe I would be too much.
Maybe I would be too crazy to love.
by Chris Wayan
But not anymore, friends. I'm over it. It's too damn much. If I'm depressed, that's just who I am that day. Take me or leave me, I'm the quiet girl with sad eyes. I still have no desire to be the party pooper, so rather than going to a social function and pretending, I just stay home. I feel guilty about it at times, but all the nonsensical pretending was slowly killing me. I have learned for my mental health it is imperative I honor my feelings regardless if they are desirable or not.
Since I gave up my career in Bipolar Hollywood my marriage has become more challenging. Now that I've quit pretending at home, I'm a little more than the hubs bargained for when he said "in sickness and in health." The sick part is perhaps a bit (or a lot) sicker than either of us imagined. By unloading my burden of pretending I have given him the burden of dealing with my depressions. Is that fair? I'm not sure. But I knew I couldn't go on living the charade another moment. I was rapidly losing my mind trying to be the "perfect sane wife" I wasn't.
As far as my friendships go, something strange happened. When I started opening up and not pretending, it gave our friendships a change to deepen and strengthen. The bottom line is that we need support. We can't do all this alone. This being life. We can't be afraid to reach out and honor our true feelings with those who love us.
By trusting them with the tough stuff, and sharing the burden of how hard it can be, at times, to just survive, is giving them the chance to love you. You deserve a heck of a lot of love. Man, do you ever. So let others love you. The real you. Not the pretend you, but the real you: the-sometimes-quiet-with-sad-eyes-you, and the-sometimes-happy-with-a-heart-full-of-wonder-you.
You are not deserving of suffering alone.
You are not deserving of pretending to be fine when you're not.
You are deserving of being accepted of exactly who you are in a particular moment in time.
You are deserving of support and love.
Lots and lots of love.
So open that gorgeous heart of yours and let it all in...
What about you? Do you pretend?
Until next time...