I came across an article about 7 types of loneliness by Gretchen Rubin the other day which led me to take the UCLA Loneliness Scale. I realize that loneliness is the root of many of my problems but only at certain times. It is so subjective and complex that I think even knowing when I am lonely is hard to do because I do not trust my moods very often. Even reading the questions on the UCLA Loneliness Scale caused me to realize that what I feel is loneliness. It is not a fleeting mood. It is genuine loneliness. I told my doc I scored a 55, and he was stunned. I am not at all – I taste, feel, dribble, smell, see and hear loneliness like it is all that exists. Being around people is not the antidote. Often, it makes it worse because I am so misunderstood, overlooked, overpowered, a perfectionist and so ashamed of myself.
My takeaway message from much of this self-discovery is that connection and bonding with others is really important for my happiness. My personality type and bipolar are both affecting my connections with others. My personality at its core is introspective, open-minded, inquisitive, quiet and laid-back until there is something that triggers a core ideal. I find it hard to trust, although that has improved a lot. I generally have difficulty finding friends that enjoy deep conversations, relationships that have the right amount of affection and depth and a balance of “me” time among my various obligations. These are the main reasons that I find building relationships with others painful.
Bipolar II exacerbates this. My moods right now are triggered easily. I do not believe I am too sensitive currently, but I find that I really need more respect in my life. The people closest to me are not respectful – from my family, to former workplaces to prospective workplaces to social contacts. I am let down often by others. However, I let others down often so it is almost a self-perpetuating cycle. I largely believe this is caused by my bipolar II as I’m reliable about 60% of the time and a flake the other 40% of the time due to my irritable-style depression and/or mixed episodes. I HATE it, and I’m still trying to get a grip. I used to think it was my personality and blame my flakiness on that. Now that I know it is an illness, I do not know where to attribute those less-than-desirable traits since I do not disclose my bipolar II to anyone except those closest to me. Those closest to me do not even get that is a chemical imbalance instead of a mood I am manipulating.