You know the moment when your bipolar episode takes over, but you don’t exactly notice it until a few seconds after it happened? Well, that happened to me yet again. I’m pretty sure I’m overthinking it, but simply put, I just say things I shouldn’t say. My mouth keeps going because my head won’t stop. I have dozens of thoughts all at once, and for me, I can see the connections. However, I know that what I’m saying doesn’t exactly make sense to others. This may be becoming one of those times, and if so, I apologize.
I openly discuss my bipolar disorder here, and with some of my family, generally with those that I feel or have shown to be understanding. Mental health is not an easy thing to understand, and I don’t want to put too much stress on anyone by telling them what’s happening, but I may have just done that. It will probably all be okay, but my mind has played out at least 30 different scenarios where I get in trouble. I wish I could stop this senseless thought wondering, but it’s part of who I am, and I just need to learn to deal with it a little better.
This is another reason why I find support groups so helpful. The friends that I’ve made at the support groups I’ve previously joined are there to help me through all sorts of events, even the ones that are only in my mind. I have become close with these individuals and I’m so grateful for that, especially with one individual. It’s a give and take relationship, but we empathize with and encourage each other. In my opinion, having someone who can empathize with me can make all the difference. Empathy is about being able to understand what someone is feeling because you have experienced it on your own, while sympathy is simply recognizing someone’s emotions and providing support. It makes me feel so much more comfortable knowing that I am not alone. That every thought and action, no matter how extreme, is also felt by others who love me.
This is not to negate the love and support from my family. Honestly, I prefer that they don’t completely understand my emotional state, I don’t wish that upon them at all. I’m grateful for the individuals that do not struggle with mental health issues. But for the individuals that can relate, it’s important to stick together. My husband keeps trying to get me to go to a new support group, and I put it off because I’m afraid. Yet now that I think about it, only good things can come from it as it has before.
3 thoughts on “The Importance of Those Who Understand”
I agree with your definitions of empathy and sympathy and I appreciate that you understand the world doesn’t always define or respond to things the way you do. Not everyone is able to do that. In my life, I find many people like to make their definitions and their expectations global and absolute. Thank you for the honesty and openness in your writing.
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I get a lot of sympathy for my mental illness from friends and loved ones. However, what I have grown to love about the community of bloggers here is I have begun to feel empathy, which is interesting since I originally started my blog to educate and break stereotypes. WordPress has become my support group because I can see that others have felt and are currently feeling what I am. Although, based on your glowing reviews of support groups, I have begun researching them in the city I am moving to.
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I have also found this blog to be a wonderful community with empathy towards my emotional state. I was blessed with a wonderful family and amazing friends who are always there for me. I am extremely grateful for them, I know that not everyone has the love and support that I do. Support groups provide support in a way that family and loved ones cannot. It may be difficult to go to a support group in the beginning, at least it was for me, but it was worth it to stick it out. My entire support group came together and threw me a bridal shower before I got married. I was in awe of how much they cared about me. The support group members have become very close friends. I hope you have a similar experience. Just remember, we go to support groups due to difficulties we are going through, and we may not all agree on everything, but we do support one another.
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