Bipolar Disorder and Friendships


Hey guys. It’s Hannah. Thanks for tuning in. Okay, so we’re going to talk about friendship today. This is my best friend, Courtney, everyone. Hello. Hi. She’s amazing. She’s been my best friend since high school. After my senior year of high school, I moved to Boston and about two to three years later, I had a bipolar breakdown and was diagnosed with bipolar 2 and put into a mental hospital. Okay, but let’s back up. So in high school, we were best friends but when I left for college I completely disconnected. Hung up the phone. I didn’t respond to texts. Didn’t respond to AIM (or whatever we used to do before facebook) from my friends back home because I was trying to run away from those emotions and the emotional pain and the fact that I couldn’t keep up with that image that I was trying to portray back home. So I’m gonna be asking her questions I’ve never really asked her today about our friendship and what she must have thought when I was gone. So we’ve had quite a journey. So I am excited. Get ready (giggle) Okay. So we’re just having girl time. But when I left for college and left for Boston I disappeared from Courtney’s life. And one of the questions I’ve never really asked her, which has been selfish of me and I’m so sorry, is what must you have thought when I left, when I disappeared? She was in a whole new environment. Everything was completely new to her. So I just thought that at the end of the day that she was literally kind of doing her own thing and being happy there. I had a bipolar breakdown. So I was 19, almost 20 and I was put in a mental hospital and diagnosed bipolar 2 and I’ve been in Raleigh, North Carolina, our home, ever since. And then my good friend and I, Courtney, reconnected out of the blue; about I would say close to a year after I got out of the hospital. (Courtney: A year?”) Yeah, it was a year. I’m pretty sure it was a year. It was close to a year. Well I didn’t tell anybody about my diagnosis of bipolar 2. I would withdraw and be so distant from Courtney; not respond to texts. And you must have been like, I must be a crappy friend like you must have thought – you must have been a crappy friend or like she must be mad at me. Courtney: Yeah. Hannah – That sucks. Courtney: I just took it more personally in our relationship and honestly didn’t even really think about Hannah and why she wasn’t responding or anything. And I just kept asking myself, “What did I do wrong?” and “Did I do something horribly in our friendship?” I thought about the things running through my head and I couldn’t think of anything. And it was just kind of hard to deal with because when you have a friend you talk to pretty much 24/7 and then sometimes you don’t hear from them for say two weeks or a month, you start to think: “Well what did I do? Is she mad at me?” You know, things run through your head. Yeah. I know. Sorry about that. But then I came out and started to say to people, “Alright, I’m coming forward like about this thing I gotta tell you about. Remember that time that I was gone for quite some time? This is what happened. i was diagnosed with bipolar 2. I had a breakdown.” And I think it was like a lot thrown on someone at one point. And I don’t like – Wait! I like, for real, have never asked you… What did you even think when I told you I had bipolar? Were you surprised? (Courtney) I think, at first, you think when you hear the term bipolar or mental conditions, mental illness, yeah, illness or anything you think, to be honest you think: “Wow, this person is unstable. (Hannah) Right. Right. (Courtney) and they’re crazy. and they can lash out any minute and that’s more of the stigma and stuff. Exactly. It’s good that you’re saying that though because that’s such an honest answer. I had a best friend yet I had that stigma too or those thoughts. And then when she told me, you know of course it developed over time – we actually got more into the discussion of everything. But it kind of made sense as to why sometimes she withdrew or why I wouldn’t hear from her or why she reacted a certain way, you know, during a certain moment. I don’t know the word “shocked” is the right word to use. Just more so like caught off guard. Yeah like: “Wow! Literally, my best friend is bipolar.” (Hannah) Right. You hear of other people that you don’t associate with being bipolar through the media. Right, right. Like I am so glad that you brought that up because you are giving it such an honest answer that’s like such a huge problem. You see in the news, like these people that are like criminal, like ridiculous, and it’s like: “Oh, they’re bipolar.” And all the terminology. That’s you. So I could only imagine what Courtney was thinking at the time. That it’s like, “Oh! I’m bipolar.” It’s probably like: “Oh, my God! Should I invite her over to sleepover?” (Courtney) Right. I always knew Hannah was an interesting one, but in a good way. Now that it’s been a couple years that you have like it’s like a new awakening, you’ve been my best friend knowing I have bipolar. (Courtney) Right. (Hannah) What would you give as advice to people out there, to someone that has a best friend that struggles with a mental condition that’s going through something? Right. I think a lot of it is making sure that you do keep constant communication, whether it’s your friend or yourself. And because sometimes I feel like if I withdraw, then she might withdraw. So, I think sometimes you have to keep that constant communication. To kind of keep it going sometimes. And knowing that you’re here for them no matter what’s going on – if it’s good, if it’s bad. No matter what it is. Even confront them sometimes. Hannah and I know we haven’t talked… (Hannah) Like be open. (Courtney) Yeah, be open and say, “I hope everything’s okay with you. Let me know if you need anything.” Just kind of be there for support. So many people with a mental health condition think this way… that we’re helping people by not being honest. Because I wasn’t honest. I used to make up stuff. Like I would say, “Oh, I’ve got the flu”. Courtney probably thought I was sick 365 days a year. (Courtney) Or, for example, say we have plans and then, last minute, Hannah felt bad. Well really, it might be because something’s going on. (Hannah) But I would make up an excuse. (Courtney) Right. (Hannah) I thought I was helping by withdrawing instead like you said you thought you were – you didn’t know what was going on. You felt like… (Courtney) I thought it was all me. (Hannah) You thought it was all you. Geez. I mean I don’t blame you for that. We assume that they’re going to judge us because we struggle to understand what the hell’s going on inside of our head. So we assume that they’re gonna judge us and we keep it to ourselves and then were upset because you don’t understand. There were so many times I would be mad at Courtney, when she didn’t understand. Now that I’m older and I’ve opened up this conversation with her – I just never explained it and now that I’ve explained its change her perspective on mental health and she didn’t judge me. And now when I look back on it, I was the one judging her because I was saying, “You’re judgmental. You’re going to judge me.” And that’s not something that we do maliciously. It’s almost subconscious. It’s natural. You look on the TV and it’s like you said – “Is she unstable?”; when you first heard. That’s why it’s so important to talk about it. What I’ve learned about Courtney and my friendship is even if she doesn’t fully grasp it, she’s a support. Best friends, they support each other regardless of your opinion, your bias, your background. It doesn’t matter. There’s two sides to every story and it’s important that Courtney was honest today and gives her side of the story; how she was hurt by what happened. It wasn’t just all about me Leave your comments below. How many years or did you ever or have you ever told your close family, your best friend, when did you tell them? Please, please, please leave your comments below. Thank you, Courtney. She’s my best friend. I love her so much. (Courtney) Great to meet you guys. (Hannah) Yeah, they’re amazing. I love these people. Please subscribe now to my youtube channel and you’ll see my videos on that. (Courtney) Subscribe today. (Hannah) That’s right. That’s the best friend for you. Thank you so much for tuning in and I can’t wait to see you guys next time. Go out and give your best friend a hug. Awww.

49 thoughts on “Bipolar Disorder and Friendships

  1. I can relate. There is strength in knowing others have fought the battle and are awakening! Beautiful friendship the two of you have! Bless your hearts! Keep speaking Hannah! You have a gift of reaching people!

  2. Dear Hannah,

    Thank you for sharing your experience so far, you're really really brave. I totally agree, it's really selfish of you to not tell your friends about your mental illness for the reasons that you mentioned in the video.

    Keep up the good work Hannah, can't wait for the coming Monday. I hope that you cover your treatment: What are you doing to battle Bipolar 2? did you depend on medications only ? Did you take psychotherapy sessions? or was it a mix of both? Because battling mental illness is really an important subject to cover.

    Thanks again 🙂

  3. I enjoyed your story. I was diagnosed with bipolar 2 about 6 months ago. I don't really know too much about it. in take my medicine and see my therapist, I think I've been deliberately staying away from the subject. I suppose I may begin a journey trying to understand my illness, and possibly try to help my friends and family understand me. I haven't told many of them, and the few I have told, I hurry and change the subject.
    thanks again for sharing. you were my first video. ..my first research, checking out this thing I've been diagnosed with.

  4. I've only just begun treatment. I honestly still struggle with doubts on whether this is what I have since diagnosis is so strongly dependent on if BP meds work when depression/anxiety meds do not. Each video I watch, person with BP2 I talk to, & article I read about BP2 just confirms my diagnosis more.

    I just told my best friend over Thanksgiving. We have been best friends for over 8 years and while I haven't know about my BP2 that entire time, I have known something wasn't right & I have never fully come forth about the severity of my depressive episodes.

    After I told her about my diagnosis, she questioned it. She couldn't possibly see how I could be BP and I think that has a lot to do with a lack of general understanding of BP; like you mentioned, the most extreme cases are the ones people think of, and since I'm not on the news or generally incapable of functioning in society…it's difficult for someone to understand how I could have a BP dianosis.

    I did describe my depressive episodes a bit when I told her about my BP2, but I will continue to let her in and educate her on what it is and how it affects me. My goal is to be more open generally. I think it will really help keep me from feeling so alone with my struggles if I let more people in on the fact that I'm struggling.

    I loved the honesty in this post from both of you. Thank you so much for sharing.

  5. I told two females who I thought was my friend that I had Bipolar now they distance themselves from me. We are not friends anymore.

  6. Thank you so much for publishing this. It has been very helpful. One of my best friends is suffering from mental illness and has pushed me away and doesn't want to see me. It's been a difficult time and challenge and I've constantly wondered if she was upset with me or if I did something wrong. I've done my best to keep in touch by Internet. I pray for her and us.

  7. Courtney didn't really have a chance to give a word in…This is no hate. I do that too…all about me, me, me. It's probably the reason why I isolate myself from others. I find myself in the unique position of having best "guy" friends. I think I only have 3 female friends. One from university, my mom and a colleague my mom's age. How sad?!! LOL….But they are friends and sometimes it's the quality, not the quantity, that counts. People try to make friends with me and I do meet a lot of people but I'm so off-the-bat like "I don't like you", or "We're not on the same level". It's a struggle really.

    People love to talk about themselves and having bipolar doesn't exempt you from the rules. The fact that there ARE rules is more than I can even stomach so….Enough of me….and more about you… (who I think is beautiful and who I think I probably would be friends with ) xx

  8. Hi, I was wondering if I could get some advise. My best friend suffers from bipolar disorder. About 3 weeks ago I noticed her mood was changing. One night we hang out and made plans for the next day. As soon as I woke up the following day I had a message that pretty much said to not reach out through any means and that she would not be unavailable. That she would eventually reach out. A few days later I tried contacting her and it was a failed attempt.
    A couple days later I tried reaching out and I was unsucsessful once again. So I figured she must be going through a rough time. I decided to look for her, which she did not appreciate and called me a stalker.
    She has completely banned me from her life and I'm not sure what to do. Should I try and reach out and remind her I am here for her? I had never been in this situation and I'm not sure what to do. We had a great friendship and it makes me sad that overnight she vanished.
    I hope you guys can give me some advise on what I could do.
    Thank you.

  9. Hannah, I was wondering if you have a job? And how you cope with having bi polar 2 and if you tell people at work you have it? I have bi polar 2 and work is a struggle.

  10. Courtney was so patient . I'm glad she came back and understood when you came forward. My friend from high school did the same 10 yrs after I left our home town. You guys are awesome

  11. I'm bipolar 1 lost a good job and everything I owned before I was finally properly diagnosed at 40, I am on SSD and live in an apt with my mom and many of my friends from childhood think I'm a bum. I live in a different city than I grew up in and don't know people here. I am now 45 and I don't even want to go on social media anymore. I always make jokes on social media about everything including my condition and the fact that I dated a therapist at one time that turned out to be a horrible idea and landed me in the mental; ward for the 4th time since I was 16. I ended up getting many shock treatments. Anyway….I just can't get back on that horse…when I was manic and even ok….I was very productive.

  12. I tend to isolate a lot! I have a wonderful world of friends….but it just seems overwhelming on social media sites. I tend to keep away from them, then I'll give it a try, only to find out that I feel like I am in a crowded room of too many people….this disorder has it's creative beautiful sides & mournful depressive sides. It sure is a roller coaster! I have always isolated into tiny spaces to surround myself in.

  13. My bipolar friends have made it impossible to stay friends. They turn on me in cycles. Accuse me of stuff when I try hang in there and talk so much it makes me have a headache lol.

  14. My best friend (ever) was diagnosed with bipolar disorder back in 2015. We became best friends bc we found each other within our depression. The moment she found out, she told me. But I was completely lost in how the hell it worked. I'm trying to understand her more. I know she has her breakdowns and mood swings, but what I'm barely grasping is her withdrawal. I moved countries and I left her. Which she would tell me "hey, I'm in denial, to me you're still at your home right now". Which is super impressive bc you mentioned the reason why you felt that way when you left. So, yeah, she sometimes doesn't talk to me and it kind of makes me feel weird. Tho, I have a question: does bipolarity make you sometimes snap at your best friend out of the blue? Or without an actual reason?

  15. You talked about using the excuse that you were sick, as opposed to saying that you were dropped out laid out or I guess you could say down.  I'm bipolar I and sometimes I can't find my phone, because I don't really care about looking for it.  I tell new friends that I sometimes will drop out.  Make the phone and computer and social media subservient to your existence as a human.  I'm an artist that some times has no motivation to make art.  I'm an artist that utilizes and appreciates inspiration and ideas that come to me when I get into a creative mode or zone.  Strike the iron when it is hot.
     Sure, you could call it mania, but it seems so demeaning.  I believe that talent comes as a package deal.  Along with being gifted,  comes the propensity to be tortured by your emotions/mind.  It's a package deal.
     Finding a balance with meds is best.  Sertraline and Lamotrigine help keep things in hand.  Unfortunately one of those things is a
    flacid penis.  Fortunately generic viagra will be available Jan 2018.

  16. I get bugged when I see people hooking up or falling in love. I've been alone for over a decade by choice. It gets to me sometimes. But, I am more satisfied not being in the toxic relationships I used to be in.

  17. Thank you for such an incredible open and honest video. Its extremely hard to be friends who someone with Bipolar. Its even harder not to take it personal when their behavior has such a manipulative component part to it.

  18. I am having serious life struggles right now. I really need my friend who is bipolar. She abandoned me. She won't respond to texts, snaps, phone messages. I am just ignored. I had to google it and I heard that this can be normal for bipolar people. From the friends point of view it hurts & feels like a rejection. I am going through the hardest time of my life and I desperately need a friend. She won't even send me a one line text letting me know she is alive. Or she could tell me she can't talk because of her condition. To just ignore me at the worst time of my life is heartbreaking. Help me deal with this.

  19. Mental Illness is the most stigmatized, lonely and discriminated Illness. It's awful. Not everyone can endure it, but please he Ave compassion. It doesn't make you a bad person, but yet you are vilianized if you have depression, bp or don't fit into a box. If you know someone, just be kind. It doesn't mean you have to not have healthy boundaries, but be at least kind and not hateful towards people suffering. Just like you would have compassion towards someone with cancer…mental Illness is a true Illness and you are alone

  20. same here , im 45 now and my best freinds and most trusted friends are from school. when i was finally diagnosed cause i decided to finally go get help in 2005 my friends were finally able to understand . and now if i go thru a quiet time they understand when i come back to the world and i tell them , i also warn people i know that im having issues ( it helps me telling people ) . i fight it every dam day , some days are better and some worse . but its a constant battle

  21. Just like any friendship, communication and trust are good foundations. Thank you for encouraging people to be open with people who care about them. Practicing compassion in both directions really does help friends support each other emotionally too. So glad you shared this story together here.

  22. I've been friends with my friend off and on for over 25 years she's had very traumatic events happen the past 6 years her 2 brothers past away tragically. I've been on again with our friendship for the last 2 years consistent I even was the one to tell her about her brothers death 6 months ago. I feel like more often than not she will conjure up or stir up a conflict, lashes out, just extremely combative. I try being supportive but sometimes it gets to a point where I can't take being targeted & a punching bag and being constantly questioned about my intentions of our friendship. She is bipolar manic depressed. I keep constant communication to see how she's doing but the negativity is just too much to bare at times. She thinks I am talking behind her back or secretly have a hidden agenda. It's tough dealing with and understanding. And the constant crying over every little thing

  23. I think the psychiatric community is too easy to label young adults nowadays just by seeing your video I see no signs of bipolar all though it’ll take a lot more than a video

  24. My brother have a bipolar and all here breakdown was on me , and we have been 2 years not talk , and i really miss him , i watch this video to find out away to back to him

  25. Best friend is a male and we dated for about 6 or 7 months. He broke up with me because one of his family members were joking around with him and telling him that I was seeing someone else, when I wasn't. When I was with my best friend and I was dating him I never was told about any of his mental illnesses I didn't know he even had any because I didn't see it I didn't encounter any of it and then shortly after he moved into his own place I saw different size of him and I put them to the hospital because I was scared and I wasn't sure what to do. he wasn't acting himself. There would be times he doesn't talk to me doesn't answer my calls text messages I would have to try to get ahold of his family. And so now that we're even closer as best friends I have not seen him in 3 weeks and I have not heard from him and I keep thinking to myself that I did something or said something wrong, but no one wants to tell me. He said he wants some space from me and I haven't seen him in almost a month I haven't heard from him in over a week he has bipolar schizophrenia. I've been told that he's having a bipolar episode or moment and just give him some space right now

  26. I told my mom and friend as soon as my therapist told me it was a possibility. It was mixed. My mom still swears I don't have but she told me to seek a psychiatrist because of my episodes. My friends have been supportive.

  27. My 3 best friends about me being bipolar. Not sure what they thought probably i was bat shi* crazy but i know now with 10 plus years each they all understand look up what they dont know. Thank you for this video very informative. Have a great day!

  28. I told my parents, my oldest sisters, my boyfriend and my best friend just a few months ago. I still fear being judged.

  29. heres my story on bi ploar im not by polar for one. but my very close friend is shes mad at me right now to the point where shes not my friend anymore which hurts me but the story is I went mia on her 5 months ago and 5 months later jan 4th i told her why i did i told her that i felt she didnt care and so i shut off my phone and all my contacts and so i did it to see what she would say anything or react.. I understand her being mad but not for 2 months straight shes had a lot of negativity on her life shes always thinking people are trying to screw her over so she has to be very careful whos shes around plus we've been friends past 10 months but we have done a lot i mean a lot together talked and hung out everyday so i want to think that her bi ploar has to contribute to it a lot but not the reason does that make any sense and what would u do since ur bi ploar if that happened id like to know

  30. This explains so much for me, my bf has bipolar and withdrawals from me. He does the same things to me. It's confusing dating him sometimes bc Im not sure if it's a "gaslighting tatic" or him trying to compose himself. I know he'll never hurt me and I always try to support him, like going back to school. It just gets confusing sometimes in dating him bc he's not communicating with me. He's very inconsistent, but I don't know if that's bc of that bipolar, or just him. I know he tries, he is capable of keeping a job for a very long time. Not to mention that he is very persistent in his academic goals, even though he says to me that "he has no goals"?? I'm trying really hard to be patient with him, and understand him, but I'm not sure if I'm being too nice to him, or I'm finding reasons to justify his actions???

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