“What are you doing this weekend?” Thoughts from a Bipolar Introvert…

Oh… nothing. It’ll be nice to relax for a change.

I respond awkwardly to this question, somehow thrown off guard despite the fact that I get asked this question a lot.

It’s asked in settings where people are generally expected to make small talk: the dentist office, the grocery store, my kids’ schools. Along with the How are you?

How am I?? I’m feeling resentful you even asked. Just say “hello” with a smile (if you are up to it).

It’s going to rain this weekend.

Oh? I’m oblivious to the weather unless I’m in it.

It’s beautiful weather today.

I’m grateful for this one, because when I step outside I will suddenly hear birds singing.

What are you doing this weekend? is not asked by people who are inquiring because they are hoping to spend time with me, no.

This is a sore topic that keeps popping into consciousness with greater frequency, as now have a ton of aquaintences but no IRL friends. I have tried. ::sigh:: I’ve got too much up my sleeve to really analyze why this is…

You know what – actually, let’s go there anyway. I know the answer: I just don’t do much of anything. How can I make friends sitting around the house?

I really need an extroverted friend or two, or three, who likes to do stuff and invites me to hang out with them and keeps asking me until I finally say yes. I’ve tried being that person with other people, but I’m out of my element and fail in it. It’s totally exhausting, and even though I understand that people have busy lives, I’ll inevitably feel hurt if someone I’m interested in being friends with never has time for me.

Even worse is when we make plans and they cancel at the last minute. Everyone always does. If we have discussed a specific time and place I expect you to be there. Sometimes people just don’t show up without any notification or excuse and I’ll get angry over this. I rarely get angry but when I do..

It doesn’t actually come from a place of inflexibility, however. I’m a person who, for the life of me, can’t seem to get a hang of this time management thing and so I force myself out of the hypocritical thoughts.

The anger comes from the lack of both thought and compassion for me. If they only knew the anticipation and nervousness I feel and how big of a deal it is to me. Perhaps this is why people don’t hang out with me. Maybe they sense it.

I hate this but, in situations that I rarely engage in, my social anxiety can become nearly unbearable to the point of dread. It will feel like a big event (most social interactions do, for me) and so, it’s a big deal for me to have made the effort. Even worse if I truly enjoy the person and I feel heartbroken that I perceive that they don’t enjoy me back.

I am quite sure that I’m an enjoyable and interesting person, so what the fuck is their problem? Ha ha. That’s only my psychological defense saying that.

Actually, my first assumption is that they are avoiding me because I’m too emotionally intense. Though, in situations where the person has not yet gotten to know me they have no clue the storm of emotions that is happening inside me. I’m rarely outwardly dramatic.

The objective truth is (probably) that most people are stressed out and want to distract themselves and not fully engage. And, if I’m being honest, I am aware I have a wall up of some sort that acts as a barrier to connection. Though, even though I’m emotionally intelligent and generally self-aware, I can’t tell exactly what that wall is. Let me ponder it some more.

Maybe it’s the knowlege of my vulnerability. I know that I am needy. However, is not appropriate to, nor would I ever dare, tell a person at the beginning of a relationship:

By the way, I have bipolar disorder, and I have just the last couple of years started to have “normal” periods of time where I can interact like a normal human being.

If you don’t hear from me in quite a while most likely I’m depressed and you should probably call me. Like a few times, so I can simply listen to your voice (on voicemail as I sure as hell won’t pick up). If I hear in your voice any hint at anger over my having disappeared you may not hear from me again (for a long time, anyway, as I’ll be too exhausted for conflict). You should probably just come over and check on me regardless of whether I want you to.

Hey, let me in! You know I don’t care if you and your house looks like shit. Let me help you clean it while I talk about my life.

Oh, how I’ll be mortified but I need it.

I’m going to make you your favorite food and then after you eat we are going for a walk and then I’ll let you sleep for 10 hours.

But for others to say these things sternly or with a buck-up attitude will make my depression worse. Suicidal-worse. It has to be done in a loving way. In a you-are-not-your-depression way, acknowleging that Quixe is inside there somewhere and that you desire to see her again.

So, yes, I am needy. Though I loathe this about myself.

Even worse is the hypomania. Though it rarely happens, it is the main reason I hold back. Most people are too busy to notice my depression, though they will surely notice my hypomamia. At first, I am playful.

Very Ne (Extraverted Intuition), a cognitive function in the MBTI world. Interacting with the world, stringing ideas together, witty and creative thoughts and words. I have developed and matured this function over the past few years, and it’s development has helped me become more psychologically healthy.

However, when hypomanic this will taken to the extreme and I will see patterns and connections in the world that are so mentally and emotionally delicious that I can’t sleep, nor barely sleep nor think of anything else.

I will have what I believe to be insights into things that no one else has ever thought of. I will be extraordinarily special. And if only I could make the world see how grand and important my thoughts are.

I will leave long, rambling voicemail messages, and write thousands of words with hardly any effort. I will declare my love for you and the world and share my obsessions, regardless of your desire to know these things or digest them.

It will start feeling as if I’m finally free, my shell has broken, and I can be me. It will start out bravely being my authentic self and then I’ll turn into a monster.

I will feel as if I’m out of control as the euphoria turns into horror. My brain will buzz, my thoughts will not stop and will torture me. The lights above hurt my eyes and the feel of clothes against my skin, and any minute sound will feel like a 1,000 papercuts. My irritability becomes extreme and I start to hate you and hate everyone else.

Hate you for the vulnerability I have shown. Hate you for my having openly expressed my innermost thoughts without compunction. Hate you because I feel hot shame, the ice pick of reality in my chest, and the dizziness of mental confusion as I fall from heaven and slam face-first into the ground.

Then I will feel guilt that I have failed to consider and respect you. Have forced you to endure me and my emotional vomitting. And I am suddenly unlovable. And the world would be better off without me and I’ll want to die.

Somehow I haven’t yet died despite many times of passive suicidality (perhaps because it has been passive and not active?)

These extreme emotions rarely plague me now. Finding the right meds and years of effective therapy. I was able to pull myself out of what was starting to become a depressive episode last week by means of ACT (Acceptance and Commitment) therapy and mindfulness practices.

When I start noticing an extreme compulsion to do or say something right now and it cannot wait I actually shout in my head Stop! and intentionally restrain or slow down. I can watch my thoughts and emotions now, as an observer. I don’t judge my thoughts and emotions as they are not me.

No one in my casual social sphere knows I have bipolar disorder and I doubt they’d ever guess. Unless I let them in closer. It is highly unlikely that anyone would want to love an emotionally intense person like me. If they do, I’m suspicious. Maybe they are seeing only what they want to see in me, maybe they have a nefarious agenda, who knows.

(Though this suspicion exists much less in my online interactions, interestingly enough).

So, maybe I actually do want to have weekend plans. Maybe not a party (oh god no, someone shoot me first), but maybe coffee with a friend or two? Or discussing shows we are watching? Maybe a play or art show? Ooh, Derby bout! Volunteering? Knitting? Swimming? Concert? (Not a large, super loud one, though! ::shudder::)

If only I were not so afraid of my mental illness seeping through! I am not willing to be vulnerable to exposure as rejection.

And I have decided (I think) to be a teetotaler, which makes socializing more difficult. Over the past year I have come to the conclusion that I have never, not once, had an drinking experience where I was not irritable and depressed afterwards.

People drink when they get home, and on the weekend, and I’m like Nooo, I cannot feed the monster inside me!

In everyday social interactions I have become friendly. Some of it is genuine craving for connection, most of it is for my job. Though I have now started to see social interactions as a game I must engage in.

I’m an imposter!

No, you are not, Quixie – you are genuinely refusing to accept the idea anymore that you are an outsider and you choose to believe you can have connection with anyone.

That does not come naturally.

I am surrounded by young beautiful people who play the game. I feel old and ugly but I remind myself I have a winning personality.

This is for another post, but I’m tired of being surrounded by young, attractive people. It reminds me that I spent most of my 20s and a good chunk of my 30s isolated due to fear and depression. I feel left behind, the world feels different and I don’t like it.

Anyway, back to my post…

What am I doing this weekend? Apparently spending time thinking about why I’m not doing anything on the weekends.

I’m so grateful to be having complete thoughts again this week. More posts to come soon (I hope).

So…what are you doing this weekend? Honestly, I don’t care about that. The real question I want to ask is:

What are you thinking about this weekend?

3 thoughts on ““What are you doing this weekend?” Thoughts from a Bipolar Introvert…

  1. What I was thinking about this weekend:

    First, my internet was out! I never realize how dependent I have become on it, until it’s not there. There were so many things I wanted to look up, or check on, and I couldn’t. ARRGH. Everything from what the lava in Hawaii was doing to how to reset our internet box. (Which didn’t fix it, and we had to wait for a service call to get everything back up.) So aggravation at being offline, and at myself for finding it difficult to be offline. I didn’t grow up with internet, why can’t I function without it now?

    AND

    My chorus just chose our new artistic director, and I was on the selection committee. We had it down to two candidates, one of whom is charismatic and musically brilliant, and the other of whom has amazing community connections, knows everybody, and is beloved by hundreds of local families. And they both REALLY wanted the job. After our final audition, we made our choice, and I’m still agonizing over whether we made the right call. I really liked both of these guys, and wanted to hire them both! Well, if we made the right choice and everybody is happy, we should not have to do that process again for a long time. But then, how often do you get to pick your “boss”?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No internet? The horror! No, really. It’s very difficult to be without it

      So, I have to know: which of the two candidates did you choose for the artistic director?

      Like

  2. As it turns out, kind of both! We picked the one who was brilliant on the podium as the Artistic Director. We asked the one with deep community connections to form a second community chorus under the umbrella of our organization, and he accepted. This was originally my idea, and the committee ran with it, and it’s happening Yay me!

    Liked by 1 person

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About Quixie

Hi! I go by "Quixie." Quixie is a shortened version of "quixotic," which means: "exceedingly idealistic; unrealistic and impractical." It's how I described my evangelical Christian faith when I started blogging 7 years ago. Now I'm an agnostic atheist who is trying to find a balance between idealism and reality. I write about my mental health journey with bipolar disorder, my loss of faith (deconversion), parenting teens, reading, exercise/health, work-life, and my marriage separation/divorce.