Bipolar Disorder and the Shame of Apathy

When I was a little girl, my mother took me to her League of Women Voters and Another Mother for Peace meetings. She was what I later called a socialite activist, which entailed being a doctor’s wife and doing all the social niceties that encompassed as well as being someone who was grounded in reality. This was my example of what a woman was supposed to be. She had her downfalls, but in addition to trying to emulate her good traits, I was able to counteract some of the not so nice aspects of her personality. My mother also later became a Gray Panther as well as a very elegant and mature woman. She was quite the paradox, and 22 years later I still miss her terribly.

The apathy of depression is incredibly frustrating. I will often become an ostrich when it comes to world events and politics, thinking my own reality is bad enough. Depression is a very self-centered state of mind to be in, yet as far as I can tell I can’t always control that. I would love to emulate my mother, but when I’m depressed I can only focus on getting my feet on the ground after accomplishing the feat of sitting on the edge of the bed. I am amazed at the effect social networking has on the important issues of the world, yet these issues are the very same that make me want to pull the covers over my head.

I cannot be my mother, nor do I want to be her. But I would love to be able to (as those who don’t understand often say) focus on others instead of myself. Before I reclaimed my Jewish roots, I went to a church that my ex wanted me to attend. Their answer to depression was “lose yourself in service to others.” Yet how can I focus on others when I can’t focus on my own self-care?

These are the times that I hope for a manic episode, but unfortunately my mania is often agitated which doesn’t really accomplish any more than depression does. On the rare occasions that I have productive mania, I often do what I call productive/creative procrastination. I write, I draw, I reorganize my sock drawer. Meanwhile my floors are just screaming at me to be mopped.

After years of therapy, I’m still comparing myself to my mother rather than being proud of the strong woman I have become, and still being ashamed for what I have not accomplished instead of looking back over all the adversities I have overcome.

Welcome to my world.

2 thoughts on “Bipolar Disorder and the Shame of Apathy

  1. thank you for sharing that with “us”. Love/Hate, perfect/not perfect, expectations/inability to live up to epectations. Life is so contradictory, no wonder we get confused. Well done. Look forward to the next.


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