Sunday, April 29, 2007

No good deed goes unpunished

Damn terminal insomnia. It's about 3 a.m. and I can't sleep.

I got some good, if rather painful, feedback from Joan, the classmate I've been supporting through her depression. I had told her about my disorder, and discussed some of my history, and let her know that currently I was struggling a little with activation as well as depression.

Well, over the past two weeks she's been watching me, and she noticed that I've seemed quite agitated in class -- this past week when discussing the turbulence at my internship, and the prior week when we discussed the Virginia Tech tragedy. She sees me fiddling with my hair, jiggling my knee, speaking rapidly and getting emotional. And she wanted to be sure I knew she was noticing.

This is valuable feedback. People aren't always 100% aware of how their behavior appears to others, and people with bipolar are in especial need of this kind of outside monitoring so we can mitigate the effects of the illness on our actions. It's easier to tone down hypomania than climb out of a depression.

I wasn't thrilled to hear it. I knew she meant well, and I knew I needed to hear it, but I kind of resented hearing it. Also a typical reaction from someone who's hypomanic. But bottom line was I needed to hear how I was appearing from someone who knows about my diagnosis, and she stepped up.

I joked with myself that now she was functioning better and able to provide that feedback, so my support of her was coming back to bite me. But I was glad she spoke up.
Copyright (c) 2007 "Ayelet Survivor"

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