Friday, July 29, 2011

The One From A Good Friend

Someone who has been following my website for just about since it was born, and is bipolar himself, having faced many a personal trial and challenge, sent me a private message recently that was SO amazing that once I dried my eyes, I asked him for permission to share his message more widely, because I believe that many could benefit from it. He generously consented, and I will leave it up to him as to whether he wishes to identify himself in the comments.

"Hey Belinda--

Long time, no see. I've been following developments lately, and did read your blog. There are some things I absolutely need to say. I hope you understand.

I'm sorry for what Alex did... not because it's my fault, but because I know people with bipolar can act better than that. Alex is still responsible for what he does. The mental illness isn't an excuse... it's an obstacle that makes things harder; not impossible.

But I know what you're thinking. And so I'm going to say the second worse thing I've ever said to someone (the first is a story for another time):

Alex doesn't care enough about you to act better.

How he acts is still his choice... even if the voices and imbalance in his head is telling him to do something he shouldn't.

I'm sure he loves you; it's not that. It's just that he needs to care enough to think long and hard before he acts; and he didn't. Hasn't really.

But here's what I'm trying to get at. That's such a shame. A lot of bipolar people could use someone as caring and loving as you in their lives. It's not your fault for not doing enough; or not doing the right things. It's his fault for acting like a shit. His responsibility. And it's his fault that because HE can't control HIMSELF that he's losing the two best things he has in this life.

I'm trying to tell you that you did everything right, everything you can. And you should never question that. Because I know what's going through Alex's head; and I also know that he could stop anytime he really, really wanted to. You can be tempted to push an enter key on a keyboard all your mind likes... but you are the one who has to tell your finger to press it.

I'm bipolar.. My force of will is strong because of people like you who care/d for me. I stop and think before doing anything. The ME inside is in control... not the impulse or the emotional reaction. Because those things hurt people I love. And I don't want to be that kind of person.

Alex isn't going to get better until he decides he wants to. He doesn't have a choice about having faulty wiring, but he does have a choice about accepting the faulty wiring and using the proper electrician to get it fixed. It's just easier not to.

I never want you to think that you're a failure. You're not.

I see everyone telling you that living with mental illness is hell. That makes me sad. I hope that living with me is not like that for the people in my life. The decisions we make matter. The people we choose to be matters. Everyone deserves a chance. You gave more than a chance. Alex made his choices. They were the wrong ones.

That implies that he could have made the right choices. See what I mean?

I have nothing extra to give right now... both my parents are out of work, and I'm trying to help them get by until they can find jobs, or I'd send enough to make you cry. You were always so kind to me, and I wish I could repay that kindness. It made ME a better person. Unfortunately, I'm not your husband, so that effort was kind of wasted, eh?

Chin up. Watch where you're going. No running into stuff. And if there's anything else I can do, just ask.


  1. As yet another bipolar gal in the crowd, I too live these truths.

  2. Best. Person. EVER.

  3. Very well said. I can't say I've never hurt anyone because of my actions, but they were MY actions, even before I was diagnosed as bipolar. I'm still responsible, and I pay for my bad decisions.

  4. Good advice, coming from a child of two mentally ill parents (father diagnoised as paranoid schizophrenic after serving in Vietnam), mother diagnoised in early twenties with now called Schizo-affective disorder. I remember praying for some type of escape as a child as they seemed to be able to turn the craziness on and off depending on who was around. My prayers are out to you and I'm hoping to send a little something to you next Friday.
    Alycia in Virginia

  5. Wow.. what a man...what a friend. He's totally right, of course, painful as that may be. I hope and pray Alex figures this out and gets the help he needs, and makes a different decision.

  6. wow. not sure what else to say as i am blown away by the strength and trueness of his words. as someone who is now struggling with the guilt of possible leaving my long term spouse also has a mental illness these words really hit home w/ me. (as your struggle has also - i'm so glad you got out) you are indeed lucky to have such a friend. thank you for asking him to share and for him having the courage to do so. thanks to both of you and both take care.

  7. What a lovely comment--full of truth and genuine care. Not for a minute do I think that all people with a mental illness are evil, but choices still exist.
    Praying for you and stay strong!

  8. I can't thank you enough for sharing this!! I could stand to read this, over and over again. I carry guilt for not staying...but your friend is right. So very right. I could read this line over and over: "I'm trying to tell you that you did everything right, everything you can. And you should never question that. Because I know what's going through Alex's head; and I also know that he could stop anytime he really, really wanted to." This is unbelievably cathartic. Bravo to your friend!

  9. Excellent tough love from someone who knows. So glad you posted this, Belinda, and so glad your friend agreed to let you share. I think this truth is often lost, and it's so important that he reminded you -- hence, us -- of it.

    You and Bella are in my thoughts every minute of every day. You're on my shoulder, in my pocket and in my heart. I am radiating strength, courage and blessings to you with my whole being.

  10. Belinda, I sent you a tiny amount of money, and hoped I could find a box to write a message in, but didn't. I just wanted you to know that I used to come home at lunch and my elderly mother would want to know what had happened that morning at work...which wasn't much...but she was always so happy when I found your blog and had a "Bella" story...her cute quotes "I'm hyp-mo-tize"! and when she started school, etc.. Mother would just beam and love those stories. She passed away in 2006 but you really made her happy Belinda. Good luck to you and Bella.

  11. You made a right decision and it really inspire me..i will share this to my frends.

  12. I'd love to ID the pompous jackass who wrote this.

    Unfortunately, when I sign into Blogger, it still comes up as "Anonymous" for some reason. And keeps asking me to re-sign in.

    Oh well. Livestrong. Oh, wait. That's already taken.

    Chocolate. Candy Bars. Words to live by.