Should I Have Intervened?

My first year of college I was taking a math class. I noticed a boy who sat in my front of me had friends he would laugh and talk with. And one day I got a glance, it just caught my eye, of some cuts on his wrist. He found ways to hide them, but every now and again I’d see a glimmer of them.

And I wondered for weeks if I should say something.

I considered going up to him, pulling my sleeve up and say, “I do it too.”

I thought about how I wouldn’t want anyone to call me out on it if they saw my own.

I thought about how hard he tried to hide it and so I should respect that.

I thought about whether intervening was something I should do for his safety.

But I was in the middle of my own battle with self injury.

And I never did anything.

And I can never get it out of mind…

I never did or say anything to him.

Should I have?



I wrote the last post a while back but only just posted.  Since then, I’ve gone through a period of feeling relatively well.  My meds were working.  I was writing again and getting a lot done.

Now I’m back in a low period.  My mood has sunk.  My book again is on the back burner.  There’s a lot going on in my life.  My wife is taking the bar exam, so I am picking up the slack around the house.  That has taken a toll, especially since I am simultaneously busy at work.  It all adds up.

I can’t wait for some time on my own.

On the bright side, I picked up an old volume of Chekhov’s stories.  I haven’t read Chekhov in years, perhaps more than a decade.  It’s like returning to an old friend.  It’s good to enjoy something again, no matter how minor.

As Joel and others have pointed out here and elsewhere, our medications do not erase our personalities.  They allow to take control of our lives and develop ourselves and our personalities.  They are in that way empowering.

But for several years, now, I have felt on and off the meds that I have lost part of my personality.  I used to read and love it (though it has always and remains an excruciating and slow process for me).  I used to love art.  There was a time when I was involved in activism.  And I loved talking about all of these things.

Now, my life is dominated by preoccupations, both external and internal.  In my head, the mindless, futile, obsessive thoughts are an ever-present part of my inner life.  At times they overwhelm everything else, until I feel little else.

And I seek mindless activities to fall into and obliterate myself.  YouTube videos.  Silly films.  Television.  I seldom read.  I seldom watch challenging films.  My writing is on the back burner.

My malady is probably not the result of my meds.  As noted, it started before I entered upon a course of bipolar treatment medication.

Perhaps it started as a feeble shield against my illness.  Now, I fear, it is the fear of dealing with the world that keeps me from shedding my passivity and numbness.

Does this happen to others?  Is it a “primary gain” in the Freudian terminology (as an external motivator to rely on one’s illness to avoid responsibilities or as an excuse for one’s actions)?  I don’t know.

When I was on a roller coaster of emotions, I wanted the obliteration of avoiding my emotions and reality in general.  Part of this was avoiding thinking about and dealing with the consequences of my illness on my life (financially and otherwise).  It was painful.  But a part of me just couldn’t face it.

Life is a delicate balance.

Articles on dealing with people with mental illness-review

I never know whether or not to open links to articles on how to deal with someone like me. I have problems with it from the get go. I am an individual, not one size fits all. I feel like i am being talked about without my input.

I recently braved reading:

4 Ways to Find Out If Your Partner Is Using Their Depression as an Excuse for Controlling Behavior

She then lists four things controlling/manipulative people sometimes do. You don’t have to have depression to do any of these things:

Do They Make You Spend All of Your Time with Them?

Do They Threaten Suicide When You Have Disagreements?

Do They Make You Feel Responsible for Their Mental Health?

Do They Trivialize Your Problems in Comparison to Theirs?

Keeping you to themselves is common in abusive relationships

I had an ex-boyfriend with no diagnosis threaten to commit suicide if I didn’t get back together with him

Many co-dependent partners worry their partner won’t be okay if they leave.

I don’t think trivializing others problems is solely something done by the mentally ill

I really don’t like the title or premise of this article. It could just be signs you are in a controlling/abusive relationship.

I do think there are some topics in this article that could be good for family members.

We are taught to take all mentions of suicide seriously. But, what do you do if it seems manipulative? I don’t know and that would be more meaningful for me.

How do you leave someone with a mental illness (or other condition) when you worry about how they will be on their own?

I felt the author used a provocative title/subject to grab readers

Low-Grade Depression?

I have been trying to discern if I have been in a low grade depression or not. It can be tough to recognize these borderlands. The signs can be subtle. While I do not have negative thoughts coming at me and trying to carry me off on the backs of lemmings flooding over a cliff, I have found it harder to complete tasks and sleep less than 11 hours a day. If I am not in a depression, I am very near one, I think.

Two things in particular seem to be helping at this point. The first is my Vyvanse. The second is exercise. Vyvanse is known for raising people out of funks. Exercise is a remedy that I have used for a long time. But it only helps when I am gasping at the surface of that great ocean of drowning. So if I am down, it is not very far.

Review: Infinitely Polar Bear

I identified with the wife and mother. Partly because she was, like me, the wife of a man with bipolar disorder. But also because she was the kind of person I think of myself as being, a bright, competent woman who pulls things together to be the provider for her family. Any time I doubt my other wifely abilities, I can tell myself that, after all, I’ve done pretty well for us as the family breadwinner.

For the mother (played by Zoe Saldana) in Infinitely Polar Bear, though, providing for her family means trusting her chaotic, bipolar husband (“totally polar bear,” as his younger daughter describes him) can pull it together to care for their two daughters while she relocates from Boston to NYC to get the education she’ll need to provide a better life for her family.

As that bipolar husband, Mark Ruffalo shines, displaying an entirely believable mix of chaos, love, and hard work as a father pulled toward sanity by the need to keep it together (take the Lithium, put away the booze) for his two daughters. His enthusiasms and his battle with household clutter did remind me of my husband.

But this is a movie that focuses, not on the journey of the patient, but that of the whole family. You can see the wife, on her last reserve of patience as she gets her husband’s ecstatic 3am phone call announcing that he has completed a costume for his daughter, and realizes that he is manic again. And you can see her in warmer moments when she remembers why she loved him in the first place. And you can see his daughters’ loving but often embarrassed relationship with their father, as the film honors the way he pulls himself together to be the best father he possibly can without sugarcoating the experience of being the child who wonders, if I move away from dad, will he still take his Lithium?

On the whole, it’s an upbeat story, one in which love does triumph and dad does come through when he’s needed. And one I’d definitely recommend.


The Night of The Cut *Graphic Self Harm Trigger Warning*

******TRIGGER WARNING: Anorexia somewhat and EXTREMELY GRAPHIC SELF HARM******


You have been warned.

This is probably the single most important story in my life. It led to a cascade of events: hospitalization, my correct diagnosis of bipolar, getting kicked out of school, and finally getting the real help I needed.

It was 6am when I finally asked my ex-boyfriend for my knife back. We aren’t on speaking terms and we are clear that we can never be. We’re either together or not. And together is awful, dangerous, addicting, full of love, full of hate.

Today I see him to get it back, so I stress out about it of course. I overthink what I will wear. I felt the need to show him how much my appearance has changed, how much have changed. Both of which are major improvements.

Should I go laid back in my cute dorm-room college girl get up all from Victoria’s Secret? Or should I go with my traditional assemble which people describe as “edgy” because its boots and leather jackets and what not?
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