One thing that I think most of us with bipolar are painfully aware of is just how differently our brains are wired. And, of course, how this causes offense to people who are used to thinking that everyone should respond in a certain societally acceptable way. In that regard, getting my diagnosis was like coming home; I finally understood that there was a reason for how I felt and responded to things. While I certainly don’t feel that I owe society anything in regards to my natural responses to things and events, it gives me comfort to know that I’m not ‘being precious’ or demanding special rules — this is how I am, and it needs to be respected. By the same token, I’ve always done my best to respect the behaviors and patterns of others, as long as they were genuine. There’s always a sense of REE REE danger when people are behaving otherwise to me, and while my instincts could certainly be wrong, they are generally pretty nose-on.
I’ve been thinking about this wiring ‘issue’ for most of the week, which I am sure some of y’all have picked up on. I’ve had several well-meaning friends suggest to me that I alter my behavior to avoid distress, not understanding that it isn’t that possible. I’ve been fortunate that everyone I’ve had this minor run-in with has been very polite, receptive, and respectful. I could tell quite easily that in one or two cases, they didn’t understand or perhaps agree with my assertions, but they at least were mature enough to accept that I felt my feelings and responses were valid. I’ve had lots of cases where the responses have been a lot worse; this has ranged from people trying to give me tough love, to out-and-out hostility. Most of those negative feels were pre-diagnosis, to be fair; because I couldn’t explain what was wrong due to anxiety and not ‘officially’ knowing, me and my levels of self-control left such interpretations to be the natural ones. And as I’ve said before, tough love isn’t needed externally; the me in my head is tied to the rack getting flogged on the regular.
Unsurprisingly, the above ties to my usual conclusion — that we should be excellent to each other. We are not the same, and while I understand it is considered normal and right to insist people conform in familiar and easy-to-class ways, people are still individual people. I won’t berate anyone for falling into the stereotyping trap though — we are all guilty of having expectations of people based on how we class them in our minds. I still think we can all do better for ourselves and each other though, and that it certainly doesn’t hurt us to try to approach the world with a judiciously applied dollop of compassion.