One of the biggest obstacles I struggle with is reclusiveness. I experience extreme anxiety, even just at the thought of leaving the house, or even having guests come to the house. There is a small circle of friends and family I can be with without experiencing this anxiety, but the more unwell I am the smaller this group becomes. This is one of the reasons why living so ‘isolated‘ in Chinchilla actually works for me, I’m not saying it’s good for me, but my bipolar self prefers it. This reclusiveness even extends to answering the phone or calling someone, I would really rather not but luckily (and probably obviously) I find the online environment and written communication suits me the best. It allows me to think about what I am going to say and what the other person has said before I respond and this eases my anxiety. Plus no one can see me, because currently there is nothing more terrifying than being on show.
So this morning I got up and asked my husband to go to the shops for me. He agreed to go but insisted I had to go too. In a loving way, he gently pushed me to go outside (figuratively and actually) my comfort zone. He is always on the lookout for opportunities to help me fight this disease and he is always right there, encouraging me and holding my hand as I make the effort to do so. I will admit I had a temper tantrum and was very upset at him for about 20 minutes, the bipolar in me wanted him to succumb and just do as I asked. But after I calmed down I could see that he was pushing me because he loves me and he knows I need it.
We left the house. He drove, as the gentleman he is. First we went to the chemist, he waited in the car. I needed to get pain killers for the migraines I am currently experiencing almost daily from stress. I felt as though all eyes were on me as I entered the chemist. I should point out that my hair is dyed rainbow colours so I should probably expect this but all I feel is that people can somehow see or sense that I am mentally unstable and are judging me for it and/or are uncomfortable just to be near me. The worse thing is, I don’t blame them. The chemist questioned me extensively about the medication I was buying and I felt like the fact that she knew I have bipolar and have recently undergone electro-convulsive therapy were tainting her judgement of me and making her question whether I’m a drug addict, whether this is true or not I’ll never know but it certainly felt like it.
Next we went grocery shopping. Again with the stares. Daniel loudly chastised me for buying fatty food when I always complain about being overweight. I was so embarrassed and then humiliated when I looked up and a man standing nearby was looking at me and nodding agreement with Daniel. Daniels intentions were good, he was trying to help me avoid gaining any more weight because he knows how much it upsets me but nevertheless my head was down for the rest of the shopping. When we got to the register the lady avoided eye contact with me and looked at Daniel and asked how he was today. What could she tell just by being in close proximity to me? I was so glad to get back in the car and go home to my safe zone.
When we got home Daniel stated “See, that wasn’t so bad was it?” I couldn’t even find words to answer him. Granted I survived it but I feel like hiding forevermore.
I am thankful for my dearest friends whose support and comfort are precious to me. I am thankful that they stick by me through this illness and that they care enough to include me in their lives. I only hope that my reciprocal friendship is half as cherished by them as their friendship is by me. I appreciate all the times they make me laugh and all the times they stop me crying. It is a miracle that we maintain these friendships from such a great distance, I now believe in miracles.
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