Vote Charlie!

Mania de junio

Posted at age 28.

A month ago I wrote a sort of history of my years of friendship with someone suffering with manic bipolar disorder. I concluded “Mania de Mayo” with a comment on my tiredness and a hopefully sarcastic comment about the type of friend I am. Not much good has happened since then regarding my friend, it seems to me, and his new friends along with some old are now organizing for a possible impending psychotic episode.

I may expand this entry later with more details, but I don’t want to get in the habit of simply documenting odd behavior. I hoped in my last entry to both express my feelings and perhaps also to give some insight into my friend’s world in hopes it might help others.

For now, I’ll document a comment I sent to our Facebook group chat yesterday while some others work out the limits of their hospitality. As before, I’ve removed names I hope in such a way as to not needlessly confuse.

Granted my opinion may not count for much in light of our friend demanding I refrain from contacting him, but I now believe he is actually in need of and perhaps striving toward a huge breakdown. You may feel my thoughts are totally out of line, but still I would like to offer my humble perspective:

Reviewing text history from the periods in question, I have some doubt about our friend’s assessment of how being on and off medication over the past four years has affected him, but I don’t doubt he believes what he says. I therefore tacitly supported his recent endeavor to discontinue medication despite repercussions, so long as he had people who would care for him during the process, as he said he did, and given his promise he would be OK. I hoped he might control the mania, although he never claimed he wanted to suppress it. It now seems he is only proving he is not capable.

Still, I’ve thought about his statements he needs to have “another enlightenment” – quotes, not to disparage, but rather to point out it seems to me enlightenment is such an ultimate achievement it could only be had once! – or two before he would be OK. (Does that mean before resuming medication? Or before seeming normal again while remaining unmedicated? I don’t know.)

I’m happy he has made many new friends, and I thank you all for helping him; I also hesitate to share my further thoughts for fear they be mistaken as discounting the value of those friendships. Given our friend’s tendency to vacate in the face of rejection, I fear we’ve only provided him an endless supply of expendable friendships to fuel his habit. He always has someone to turn to to validate his worldview, which may be exactly why he has not yet experienced the enlightenment he so craves. I therefore no longer think it is wise to shield him from the results of his desires and actions (except to the extent he should be kept from physically harming himself or anyone if possible). I no longer think it’s wise to hold back our feelings for the sake of placation, prolonging the inevitable. By not being honest, we may be enabling him, and hurting him in the end. Perhaps, were he to finally hit a wall and realize the consequences of his actions, inactions and decisions, his current reality may shatter, thereby allowing him to finally take solace in his experience and find the courage to make changes for the better.

I’m not sure if, long term, our friend is best with or without medication. But perhaps he is right our calls to medicate at this time are hampering his enlightenment. Perhaps, if allowed to continue as he is but without our constant protection, his financial and social capital will eventually deplete and he will learn to value relationships with the people who care, not just the people who say yes. Perhaps, if he survives that process, he will realize medication could help him lead a fulfilling life. Or perhaps he will find another way to be OK without so severely burdening those people still remaining in his life. I can only hope he finds the answer soon.