Parties and the Cost of Bipolar Depression
Today is the day I did not go to my friend’s bachelorette party. Today is the day I cried uncontrollably about not going to my friend’s bachelorette party.
Do you know what hell is to me? One version of hell is being at a party with a bunch of beautiful people that I don’t know having to make inane conversation and pretend to be thrilled to be there. Anhedonia isn’t thrilled to be anywhere.
Depression Hates Parties
I absolutely hate parties. I hate being with a bunch of people that are all having a great time. I hate being with a bunch of people that are all having a great time because I never am. I hate being with a bunch of people that are all having a great time because I have to act like I’m one of them. I am not one of them.
And today is the day I’m supposed to go to my friend’s bachelorette party – a party that will no doubt see many women having far too great a time. A party where everyone will drink their faces off and do stupid things and have stories to tell for years. A “you had to be there” sort-of-a thing.
But I really, really didn’t want to go. And as the date came closer, I didn’t want to go even more. My bipolar depression just begged to get me off the hook.
Now, understand, I wanted to go because of my friend. I love her, support her and support her marriage and I want her to be happy. It’s just that a much bigger part of me, the part of me that is overrun by the bipolar disorder was kicking and screaming not to be forced to go and “have fun.”
If You’re Bipolar, Why Not Go to Parties?
I’m not saying that everyone with bipolar is like this, I’m just saying that I am. I’m just saying that my bipolar depression symptoms include ones that preclude me from enjoying parties. I do fine one-on-one, but parties? My anxiety flares up; my depression flares up; it’s generally just all bad. (Now, on a rare occasion, when I’m doing well, this hasn’t been the case but usually these feelings are like clockwork.)
And if it had only been for a couple of hours, I probably could have dealt with it, but the thing started at 3:00 p.m. and I’m sure was going to last until the wee hours of the morning. That I just couldn’t deal with. I cannot pretend to be happy at a party for 12 hours at a time. I just can’t.
Going to Parties Makes My Depression Worse
And, you see, it’s not just merely the act of acting that’s the issue. I act all the time – it’s the way of things when you’re sick. No, it’s the act of being around other people that truly are having a good time. The juxtaposition is so acute that it makes me feel more depressed. I just leave these things crying and beating myself up for not being able to have fun like everyone else. It just makes me feel like more of an outcast freak.
Being Honest about Not Going to a Party
I had planned on going but I felt so bad about it that pretty much at the last second I told my friend I couldn’t go. I didn’t lie and tell her I had come down with a nasty stomach bug (because I’ve certainly done that in some social situations in the past) I just told her the truth. I told her I couldn’t come because I wasn’t up to it. I apologized and told her I loved her and wanted her to have the time of her life.
And I really hope she doesn’t hate me.
Ideally, she should only ever have one bachelorette party in her life and I have now missed it. How good a friend could I possibly be if I did that?
I really don’t think she’ll hate me but I have to think that somewhere inside of her she’s hurt and disappointed. I’m not the center of her universe, obviously, but I’m still thinking there are some lingering negative feelings about my absence. I wouldn’t blame her. She is completely within her rights to feel that way.
The Cost of Bipolar and Depression
This is just one of the costs of bipolar and depression. People don’t understand this. People don’t understand how costly it is to be chronically ill. But it is. It’s extremely expensive. It costs us relationships and experiences and a whole host of other intangible things that people don’t see but that hurt like a sonofabitch.
And, of course, not going has made me feel like crap too. It was really a no-win situation for me. The one bright spot is knowing that I didn’t have to fake all the happiness while feeling like crap. That, at least, is a bonus.
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.