A letter about Depression: Shutting down and Disappearing

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To my family and friends:

I’m sorry I disappear. Sometimes I disappear physically; not bothering to keep in touch and sometimes emotionally; I shut down to cope with being unwell. I do this to an extent to protect myself. I don’t want to be judged or rejected for who I am.

Unpredictable tendencies have shrouded my adult life. If you have spent a considerable amount of time with me you may just have noticed. One week I can be full of energy and enthusiasm , ideas and creativity flow easily. I don’t want help from anyone because I feel that I can do anything and everything. I may talk incessantly and very quickly. I may make jokes and comments that are confusing and might only make sense to me.

At times I can become very depressed. I don’t mean that as if others describe it; as having a rough day, a down day, feeling fed up. It may last days or it may last for months, I can never tell. That only thing I know is that suddenly I can no longer function as I used to. All my energy and enthusiasm has gone. I will feel numb and become difficult to talk to. I don’t want to see anyone or go anywhere. I can feel overwhelmed with the idea of talking to people, to the point of crying uncontrollably.

When I’m low I shut down and my concentration wanders. I’m not being rude when I don’t respond to what you say, or take weeks to reply to a message. I simply can’t interact socially; I can barely get out of bed.

Sometimes you may feel you need to tread carefully with me. I can be overly sensitive, irritable or just aggressive. I know that this can be frustrating, it is for me. I have never liked the term ‘treading on eggshells.’ The idea that people I care about feel they can’t act naturally around me is upsetting. If you feel you can’t, then let me know; it might help us both feel more comfortable in each others company.

I have always found it difficult to keep in contact with friends and extended family. I don’t want to use it as an excuse but I think my illness is one of the main reasons for this.  If I have lost contact I wasn’t trying to be rude or standoffish I was merely trying to feel healthy again, to be on a level kilter for a change.

I will never apologise for being honest about having Bipolar. It needs to be talked about and I can’t be around people that are uncomfortable or disagree with this notion. I may lose friends, but I’m ok with that. People are too often happy to live their lives in denial, pretending everything is as perfect as their Facebook page. I will never be like that.

I hope we can stay in touch, and that my openness about my illness has helped you understand why I sometimes act the way I do.

5 Comments

  1. Wendy August 1, 2017 / 2:56 pm

    Well said. A good letter about being bipolar.

    • Katie Conibear August 4, 2017 / 12:18 pm

      Thank youfor reading x

    • Katie Conibear August 4, 2017 / 12:19 pm

      Thank you, I hope you’re doing ok x

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