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Friday, February 08, 2008

Bipolar Happens

I have been getting a lot of mail (e-newsletter) lately from Julie Fast. She is the author of Bipolar Happens and other books on Bipolar Disorder.

Bipolar Disorder. Ever heard of it?

I didn't until about 6 years ago when I first had internet access and chat with someone in ICQ. He was from Canada and he found me in ICQ. He was a great guy and very intelligent. We talked about a lot of things and issues. At the start of our talk he would frequently talk about his new girlfriend. Even in the middle of our discussion he would mention her and I was amused. I was never into girl-boy stuff and hearing someone talk (excitedly) about relationship was different and it was interesting. But there was something strange about him. There were times that he acted very different… like I was talking with an entirely different person! Sometimes I would wonder if there was an impostor on the other end of the monitor. Still I get excited every time I see him online until one day he was acting so strange and I felt so uneasy reading the things on the screen that I shut him off. Just like that I told him I didn't want to talk and I did it when he seemed so low. I felt bad, of course but I got so scared! Then one day I found a paper where I wrote his ICQ number, name and birthday. His birthday was just a few days away and I missed him and our talks. I decided to send a greeting and an apology. And we started talking again and we got to be close friends.

He didn’t admit to me immediately that he was Bipolar (and I had no idea what that is!) but after a while he talked about it and I searched about it including Julie Fast’s website and I got to understand him better. It also explained the questions I had before.

Over the years we were talking I had seen him through different relationships (even got to greet some of them and had short talks), I was around when he didn’t want to be with anybody. I have also seen him depressed and hopeless. I like hanging out with him that even if he doesn’t show up would send him short notes and encouragement until he feels better. I have also seen his manic state. I felt that I could identify when he was hypomanic even on screen and I would ask him about it. There were times when I could see his hypomanic episode ahead of him. I’ve also seen him in a big manic episode when he undertook a big project and got so many people involved (including me, but I also liked researching for the project since it was very interesting but he wanted to put me in payroll and was discussing compensation… the last had me worried but I continued helping out). Then after a while I could feel that he was slowly slipping away… and BAMM, a great depression. I felt his pain and I hang around. That depression took a long time and I hang around until I thought he was pulling through. Slowly we were having “small” happy talks again. Then one Christmas day he emailed me that he doesn’t want to talk anymore. We had a nice talk the day before so I was shocked!

I still did not want to let go thinking he was just in his depression but I had to respect his wishes, right? I did try and we got to talk again and he told me he had an operation and was in a new relationship, then out of a relationship. We would talk nicely and then he would tell me to quit talking. He was harsh. I wasn't really mad but it finally dawned on me that I wasn’t really helping out hanging around and was probably making it harder for him. I guess sometimes you don’t really help by being around.

It has been a long time. I still wonder how he is from time to time. I wondered if I should write him again and ask how he is but I realize that doing so would only be for my own satisfaction of knowing how he is since I wouldn’t really be able to do anything anyway…

Reading about Julie’s mails and seeing her interview in her blog made me wonder once again how my friend and his family is. I know how hard it had been for his parents as well since his mom and I also wrote each other occasionally. When someone has Bipolar or any sickness (even vices and problems for that matter) most times the family is also affected. I believe all would want the best for their families and friends but sometimes you can’t really do so much, no matter how much you want to. I guess each has a life to live and you don’t really know how you are going to be woven into it. You try to give the best you can give but sometimes the best you can give the person is your fervent prayer.


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