I’ve had depression for around five years and it was only in 2016 that I was diagnosed with bipolar II. I’ve received treatment ever since then and I’m currently in partial remission. I’m still trying to learn how to handle my thoughts but changing one’s view of the world is not something that can be done in a single night for people with mental illness–it is something you have to work at constantly and patiently for years. For me, being a medical student also adds to the problem.
The past year of medical school has been stressful for me. I was ready to give up and fail the rotation. I felt empty and I didn’t know what to do. I had lost the idea of who I was, figuring that depression had bereaved me of it. So I revisited an old TV show I used to love when I was in high school, Doctor Who. I thought maybe it’ll help me remember who I am.
I think it’s been almost a month since I stopped getting what I call “psychosomatic attacks.” Basically, my body likes to act up whenever there’s a psychological stress. Suddenly I’d have diarrhea, headache, nausea, and vomiting, for example. I started taking Cipralex (Escitalopram) last month to help me with this phenomenon (I used to take Zoloft) and it helped a lot. The psychosomatic symptoms didn’t appear until… just now.
I know why it happened. I had a quarrel with some close friends because they were being stubborn and didn’t respect me without having a single clue about it. I drove 2 hours to our meeting place and they were late for half an hour, they didn’t have any excuse for being lage, they didn’t even bother to contact me when they arrived and they outright refused my suggestions. I had been patient with them for a long time but this time I’d had enough and explained that what they did absolutely disappointed me and I quit from our chat group. One of them didn’t even bother to apologize, which made me feel more certain about leaving them.
Okay, so what they did was intolerable for me, I was angry, and I decided to leave. It seems rational. But why does this cause me anxiety?
They were probably my closest friends in medical school and I didn’t like them. It’s not like I won’t talk to them or anything, but I’m just gonna stop hanging out with them. I feel better without them right now, but there’s a thing that keeps bugging me: what if I can’t find friends afterwards? I have horrible people skills and the trigger of my first depression episode 7 years ago was caused by loneliness. I didn’t have any friend and it scares me to think that I would experience that loneliness once more. It scares me to the point of causing psychosomatic symptoms.
And I don’t know what it is I should do. I don’t know how I’m supposed to act in such situations. I used to have no friends and now I’m angry at people who are my close friends because I don’t think they deserve me. My mom tells me that I should befriend people who have good social skills because obviously my previously good friends didn’t. But I’m not good at talking, especially to those kind of people. I’m thoroughly uninteresting and I usually just don’t know what to say. Then my mom suggested I get a boyfriend, which is even more impossible.
Gosh, it’s only been a month and I already need to see my psychiatrist.
If you feel like you want to respond/have some ideas about having a good social life and avoid loneliness, please do comment!
Waking up to who you are requires letting go of who you imagine yourself to be.
I feel it difficult to let go of the image of the person you wish to be. Ever since I recovered from my years of depression I’ve learned something new about myself every day, and the realizations are many times quite surprising. I have a theory about it that involves Erikson’s theory about the stages of personality development. I lost the moments when I should’ve known myself because my black dog began to appear during my teenage years. It pretty much shielded me from the outside world, making me focus on loathing myself.
So, the self-loathing thing happened yesterday. I don’t know what caused it (I try to analyze myself but sometimes it’s just difficult), but I suspect it has something to do with my inconsistency.
I’m rather jealous of my friends who are a constant, predictable human being. Sometimes I think I know myself but then my moods surprise me and tell me, nope, you’re not exactly who you think you are. I tried to get some control on myself but my mood insisted that I follow it first instead. I don’t know if this has something to do with being bipolar (it probably has), but it sure does frustrate the hell out of me.
My opinions and spirit on a single thing changes depending on my mood as well. Sometimes I feel like I’m so fired up I want to do a lot of things, other times I don’t care about the world. My sister has learned not to trust my words because of it. I learned not to trust myself with every passing desire. It would pass and a new thing will arrive and thus my mind keeps changing. The truth is that I am made of inconsistency.