Bipolar and Emotional Disconnection
I once had a very nice girl tell me that I was hard to get to know. I was surprised at this. I feel like I’m an open and honest person and if you want to know something about me, you can just ask and I’ll generally answer.
I didn’t prod her for more details when she said it, although I probably should have. What I think she might have meant was that I was hard to get to know emotionally. I think what she was saying is that I wasn’t showing my emotions around her and that was the hard part to get to know. This girl, in particular, wore her emotions on her sleeve, so I can understand the disconnect. She was right. My emotions are hidden. But that’s because not even I want to know them and I can tell you right now, no one else really wants to know them either.
I say this from personal experience. I can point to a string of people who “knew” my emotions who left me, primarily, because of them. I’m too much. Too Much. TOO MUCH. And I know it. Just sitting here on a Friday afternoon writing this piece, I have so many emotions flowing through me it would flood and drown the average person. And people want to be involved in that? Without a lifejacket, I wouldn’t recommend it.
Emotional Disconnection and Bipolar Disorder
So I can’t be emotionally connected with people. I just can’t. They leave when I am. Either they find out who I am and don’t like me or they find out what I am and they don’t like that – either way, they’re out the door. And I’m oh-so-tired of people leaving.
But I admit, emotional disconnectedness can be hard on loved ones. If, indeed, a person really did want to get to know me, that crevasse between my emotions and he or she can feel very vast and isolating.
Working So Hard to Control Bipolar, I’m Disconnected from Reality
And another reason that disconnectedness exists is because I’m trying so hard to beat back the bipolar crazy. I know when I’m crazy. I know when my thoughts are crazy. I know when my physical reactions are crazy. And I have to work like a sonofabitch to keep all the bipolar under control. Trying to have a real conversation with me during these times would be like trying to have a deep and meaningful conversation with a hamster on a wheel – I’m just out of breath and focused on the next, painful step.
Deciding When to Be Emotionally Connected
I’d love to say that there are appropriate times to be emotionally connected to others, but in my experience, the safest place to do this is in a psychologist’s office – not in real life. I must be wrong about this. I know other people with bipolar have relationships and friendships and even marriages and these people must have found people with whom they can emotionally connect. Emotional disconnectedness must not be universal.
But it sure feels universal to me. Emotional disconnectedness sure feels like the only option to me. Connecting with others sure feels dangerous and pointless to me. It feels like that connection just puts the other person in a place to rip the still-beating heart from your chest – and they will. They will do it when they tell you that they can’t handle you. They will do it when they say they are afraid of your huge emotions. They will do it when they tell you that they’re too scared you will suicide. They’ll do it when they decide you’re not worth the bother.
I will say that I still wish I could connect with someone. I just fear that will only ever remain a wish.
About Natasha Tracy
Natasha Tracy is an award-winning writer, speaker and consultant from the Pacific Northwest. She has been living with bipolar disorder for 18 years and has written more than 1000 articles on the subject.