It's been about 2 years or so since I was officially diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder.
In 2016, I had received my diagnosis from my psychiatrist at the time, and spent a lot of my time thinking like the dog from the flames meme where you're like "it's all fine". But obviously, it's not always fine and it's something two years of official diagnosis, and a prior year and a half of going through doctors to discover this has allowed me to develop a certain level of containment in dealing with it through professional help.
If you think you suffer from a mental health disorder, it is imperative you go out and get help. Professional help has helped a lot in my own mental health journey; understand my brain and why I'm like how I am, learning coping mechanisms that don't have negative impacts on my life or even just having someone to talk to, has helped me grow my understanding of my own mental health. So before we dive into the meaning behind this post, I just wanted to let you all know that piece of advice from someone who had left it so late to take it upon myself to find help.
Which is what brings us, to now.
For the past month, I have been regularly going to my psychiatrist, using counselling services and having to take a multitude of different medications to help maintain my mental health, something that has slipped the last few weeks but that will naturally happen in my case. But there was a worrying atmosphere last month with my psychiatrist. Something felt off, and for once it wasn't something I had told them, but something they had to tell me; total role reversal which gave me a minor panic. They walked in, as always with a calm demeanour and smiled, the complimentary "Hello, how are you?" & we sat down to talk. Then, it got so quiet, you could drop a pin and probably children over in Japan could hear it.
"I have some news for you - We've discovered that from clinical tests and through your more recent therapy sessions that we believe you're developing early stages of emotional detachment. We're not sure on whether or not this is down to specific on-set symptoms of your B.D (Bipolar Disorder), or if it's started develop separately. But we're going to need to do some more tests, and you're going to need to attend specialist therapy"
I had fallen, and I wasn't going to get up - is the dramatic explanation for how I was emotionally feeling at this point. Now, for the longest time, and I've made it very obvious before that, I struggle emotionally connecting to people - I have a hard time understanding specific concepts of emotion from time to time, hence why my lack of a moral compass so to speak is just as bipolar as I am. But, this was a genuine shock. I had always thought my emotions, or more so lack of, was nothing more than a symptom - a development of my bipolar disorder that just genuinely happens. But, apparently that wasn't the case. I was in the early stages of developing emotional detachment disorder - a disorder that if I had to analogise it, would be similar to Damon Salvatore from Vampire Diaries has that little "Off" button inside it's head.
Essentially, Emotional Detachment Disorder is:
"an inability to connect with others on an emotional level, as well as a means of coping with anxiety by avoiding certain situations that trigger it; it is often described as "emotional numbing" or dissociation."
In my case, it is down to emotional numbing accordingly triggered due to my bipolar disorder as a neurotic coping mechanism due to intensive feelings and the erratic levels my depression and mania can cause me to undertake during times of stress or anxiety. This made more sense as my meeting with the psychiatrist went on. Deep down, I've always had a level of emotional disconnection to people; never having understood certain emotions in certain ways and always playing somewhat of a "straight face" (the homosexual irony there is astonishing) when it came to displaying emotions. Often in times I have felt emotionally and socially ostracised and as such, have negatively reacted and even felt jealous & angered about the level of emotional connections others would have - usually resulting in me cutting myself off from those people, or developing a level of self-hatred in myself.
It occurred to me that this was my reality. Emotional detachment is something people suffering from disorders such as bipolar or depersonalisation experience a lot, though it's very difficult for it to manifest in an extremity such as it has in me or even in others. I'm now left with a level of anxiety though, towards my own emotions - often times second guessing myself; feeling alone when I may not be, or feeling distanced by people when in often I'm not - or even, not feeling any emotions at all. I've found myself the last month laying awake at night thinking "What is the point of feeling sad, or alone?", as if a level of nihilism has infected me.
It's difficult to see what's ahead of me now, but I know through my struggle and my journey that I'm almost at that place I want to be mentally - no matter if there are roadworks ahead (I sure hope it does), or if I myself am my own obstacle. I know no matter what I do, I'm going to be left suffering with this new development, but it shouldn't stop me from enjoying life or having mental freedom of my own will or emotions, whether they're real or not.