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I'm not really sure what to make of myself

  1. May 30, 2010 #1
    I noticed this forum seems to have a lot of good users, so I thought I might see what people have to say...

    Before we start... I'm 17 (18 in august), and male. I have (most likely) bipolar disorder, and when this whole ordeal started, somewhere early march, I was just on antidepressants as my idiot doctor had forgotten to write to a psychiatrist regarding my problems. I have very characteristic mood swings which go from a state of near-morbid depression to a state of excessive happiness. I've just started a lithium treatment which will hopefully help. Regardless, as this ordeal started, I was also starting to spiral down in more extreme expressions of depression and, let's call it mania.

    I've never had a relationship with anyone, but I've never made a serious attempt before this, and it doesn't bother me that much. I am a very different person in more ways than one, and not really particularily attractive, and of course I also always had rather geeky interests. But as I said, it doesn't bother me, as I have seldomly met anyone worthwile.

    I go to a rather small section of my school, with maybe fifty student, where we all have individual study plans. There was a girl around there I'd seen around but never really talked to, she was mostly by herself, though apparently social. There's a regular "group" of maybe ten people which I'm part of which usually talk, eat, etc. Somehow, she ends up being drawn into this group, and she catches my interest. She appears very intelligent, honest and is stunningly beautiful. I talk a bit to her, and she seems to appreciate my presence.

    So after a few days of interacting with her, I can't really stop thinking of her. I realize that I've been smitten with love. Well, nothing to do about it. So after realizing it, first thing I meet her I simply tell her I want to talk to her, and we sit down in a room and I explain the situation. She's flattered and doesn't really know what to say (the best thing she can think of about me is that I'm "like a dictionar". 'Thanks, that's exactly the kind of thing I want to hear.'). Joking aside, I told her to give it some time and she doesn't seem entirely uninterested. We go out about a week later, and discuss various things. She knows I have some mental issues, and she apparently has had some similar concerns, so we're pretty open about that.

    Proceeding, nothing in particular happens... I suggest we go to a very large rennaisance expo that was being held, and she agrees. I text her a few days later, asking what she thinks of me, and well, I get the wonderful "I don't really know, I think of you as a friend" reply. Sadly, I was kind of at a low at that time, so I kind of got a bit whiny at that point, she accuses me of "taking more energy than one gives" or whatnot, but eh. I call her a few days later; (this was a weekend and there was a break after) and asks her if she still wants to go to the expo, and she's glad to. A few days later we end up going there and have a pretty good time. We don't really touch the sensitive subjects.

    Time passes by, nothing in particular happens, except that I get worse in my depression and such, which is really really obvious to everyone around me. She is quite concerned with me, which makes me feel a bit awkward since it's almost as if she just went out with me out of pity... Regardless, I'm still quite, quite attached to her, in particular when I'm in my anxious states. She very frequently texts me at this time asking how I am, etc, so she's obviously concerned with my well-being. I suppose she might have identified with it.

    Some stuff happens, among other things I get a fun retinal detachment and have a surgery for that. A few weeks later there's a small party of maybe ten people where we both happen to be. Slightly less wise from a beer or two I end up asking her why she just sees me as a friend, and I get some horribly vague answer about how she wants a boyfriend who's "intelligent, engaged in matters and extroverted". But she also says that she feels that she really doesn't know me at all. And I discuss that I've been somewhat... Blunted by my mental state, etc.

    Well, this is where things get odd. The day after or so I start going into a lasting mania, where I suddenly get the idea that if I just do enough of a mental effort to seem normal, she might understand. Even worse, I inform her of my glorious idea. At first she's just positive that I seem better, but she kind of starts noting that I act rather strange (as do other people). Three-four days after it starts it kind of hits a peak while in school and I start runing up and down stairs, completely lacking in focus, and just feel completely disorinted. I realize that it's time to go on sick leave.

    Well, after this we have a text exchange where she for once is at least honest; She says that my mood swings are so annoying she just ends up ignoring me after a while, I say that "Yeah, I know, it's a problem of mine", etc, she goes into carefully explaining how she will absolutely never have any feelings of love for me, how I take energy and whatnot. I end up typing a very long message where I thouroughly apologize for being a burden, acting crazy, and you know what. I say that I'm going on sick leave and sort of "farewell" since she's going to a different school, etc. I don't get a reply, though a few days after she texts me and asks if I'm still OK, and I tell her that I'll survive. After this I haven't heard from her, but that doesn't really matter at this point.

    Now... After this I really just got worse and worse in my anxiety and all and at times I could think of nothing but her. I felt as if nothing would ever be better despite better knowledge. I felt destroyed.

    Luckily, it gets a bit better when my psychiatrist prescribes some sleeping pills for me, and I've also started my lithium treatment last week.

    So... I suddenly feel a lot clearer in my head. I realize that part of my, shall we call it, obsession with her was probably manic, in particular how I felt the first few weeks and last few days. Of course this makes me feel a bit uncomfortable. But just now recently, when looking in retrospect... I've also realized that I don't think that I would have gotten anything "mentally" out of a long-term relationship with her, but rather... This was all about how I could... Well, this will sound odd, but "help" her to think in a more free way. I've always been concerned with how very myopic and "simple" most teens are in their thoughts. She struck me as someone who could perhaps become a more free-thinking person and actually accomplish something, and I felt that I wanted to help her with that, with no real long-term gain for myself. And in realizing this, I also feel that I may be... arrogant and ironically bigoted in my own thinking. And I don't really know what to make of it all. As for the whole thing not working, I don't mind it anymore since it was all for her benefit, and if she doesn't want that it doesn't really bother me.

    Also, perhaps putting a bit more context in it, I'm also a bit socially isolated except for school; I live on a rather boring island with no real friends here, I get a special communal ride to school due to medical issues (Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a tissue disease which prevents me from walkign far) so I'm rather socially restricted with school being my only real way out. Plus, I'm also generally not very well liked by most people my age despite being rather social; My mood swings don't exactly make it better, and I'm not your typical high school kid either; I don't really try to "fit in", I'm very honest, and I tend to try and provoke thought and discussion rather than going around with the flow. In a way, I honestly feel that I'm a bit socially "above" many people my age, at least in groups. I always get much, without trying to be pretentious, better along with adult, older people. It's always been like that.

    She on the other hand, while perhaps a bit different, is the kind of person everyone likes, has a large circle of acquaintances, etc. Of course I would have to have been rather extraordinary in some way to have a chance. And I am, but perhaps not in a way that she appreciates; and that in itself is cause enough to disrupt things, I would not want to be in a relationship with someone who would rather see me "fit in" than appreciate my differences.

    Wow, this has been a very long post. I don't know if anyone has the energy to read it. But can anyone identify with my thoughts on this whole thing, or perhaps someone has some other comment?

    I appreciate it.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 30, 2010 #2


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    Wow, that's quite a story.

    Can I relate to it? Well not the mental illness part, but I'm astounded at how you handle it. Your self-analysis is exceptional, especially for such a young person.

    But the head-over-heels feeling - that, I recognize. It sounds like she's a nice girl, but not interested in a love relationship. Ouch, I feel for you :frown:. That first one, the first big love interest, it's a doozy. And it rarely ends well.

    This won't make you feel better, but as you get older and your peers catch up with you maturity-wise, you will find women who are not bubble headed teens. And they will be interested in you.

    Oh...and when you say you want to help her become a free thinker, I would advise you to not do that. It sounds a bit knight-on-a-white-steed-ish. If she's already a bit like you, she may not take well to being told you want to "help" her.
  4. May 30, 2010 #3

    Yeah, I know. When I realized it myself, I found it pretty bizarre, and I also realized that I couldn't build a relationship on that. Something I learned from many anxiety attacks over plain absurd things, is that feelings and logic have really terrible communications and rarely agree with eachother.
  5. May 30, 2010 #4
    Rule Number 1) Never tell a woman you LOVE her when you first meet her.. Relationships usually spring about through some unspoken communication rules (ie- i don't need to say to a date that I like her... it is obvious through her actions and mine, if we are mutually attracted...). It's pretty easy to pick up on after you've done it for a while. You will get better with time. Don't worry.

    I know it is probably going to be very hard for you, but you cannot go into a situation like this being completely "rational" with people and telling them all of your feelings etc. I am 17 too and have been dealing with these issues recently as I guess we are getting to that age. I feel for you, but you really need to understand that wearing your heart on your shoulder is never a good idea. Self-control my friend, although your situation I cannot really relate to. Best of luck.

    I read the whole thing, and I really do feel for you. Keep WORKING... it will work out in the end... trust me... keep pushing (in life and with woman, better yourself and you will become attractive).

    You probably did blow your chances with this girl, but think of it as a learning situation and try to find someone new...
  6. May 30, 2010 #5
    *Shrug* I don't really think there's a "right" or "wrong" way to deal with something. If someone is uninterested in you because you were being honest and straightforward, is that really someone you would want to have a relationship with... ? But I will consider what you said.
  7. May 30, 2010 #6
    I understand, but it's different.. you can't just walk up to somebody and tell them I love you... being honest works when you are IN a long term relationship, but there's a courting phase that goes on.... it takes time, trust needs to be built...

    Woman like to feel excited, they want a man who is INTERESTING and FUN... not some guy who goes up to them and tells them he loves them...

    Like I said, you don't need to become some dating hunk, but you really need to think of how to become attractive to woman... it happens for some men more naturally than others, but if a woman doesn't find you attractive, you have no chance... but saying I love you immediately certainly will do nothing but hurt..

    Woman (or men) aren't math problems... you can't think of relationships as being so... "I love you" and "I love you too"... it is all in emotions and the ride (which leads to an honest, trustworthy, long-term, and healthy relationship)..
  8. May 30, 2010 #7
    I see what you are saying, and I am certain that it applies to many situations. On the other hand, I think that if you're looking for a long-term relationship, you can't really think of girls as "chances". Of course it doesn't help to be tactical, but if I want something to work in the long-term, I can't really base the relationship on trying to make myself seem as interesting as possible. Yeah, I realize being yourself and honesty has rather poor values in high school, but I'm not really looking for mass consumption of the opposite sex in order to find someone that works. If you actually fit well together with someone in the long-term, I don't think that your exact presentation process will make a major difference.
  9. May 30, 2010 #8
    O contraire...

    You HAVE to be attractive to the opposite sex...

    The problem is you are taking the "nice guy" approach.. you figure being "nice" and having a fairy tale romance will actually work.. You will only ever "be friends" with woman this way....

    I am not saying you need to be a crazy punk average highschooler who is looking for all sorts of sex and stuff, but you need to realize at this age people aren't looking for their future life partners, and your best bet is learning how to be attractive to the opposite sex...

    Girls are chances... You have chances to meet woman at school, church, your hobbies, whatever. You can pass them by or give them a chance. Some you may not like, some may not like you, but the first woman you meet in school *almost* certainly is not a perfect life match for you as you see it. You need to go out and meet more woman (if possible- I know your situation is difficult).

    Honestly, I would first focus on expanding your social horizons irrespective of the opposite sex and focus on grounding yourself first. You are only setting yourself up to be an obsessive boyfriend who will be devastated by the whole thing.
  10. May 30, 2010 #9
    "If you actually fit well together with someone in the long-term, I don't think that your exact presentation process will make a major difference."

    Presentation is EVERYTHING in life... the sooner you know this, the better of you will be..

    (I am not saying be vein.. but you need to realize that appearance, image, and perception DOES matter to a very healthy majority of the population)

    "I'm not really looking for mass consumption of the opposite sex in order to find someone that works"

    This is what dating IS... trying people on for size, seeing how they are, what they do... people aren't "consumables," but you will not click with everyone...
  11. May 30, 2010 #10
    I'm aware, which is also why I'm not very interested in dating in general at this age.

    I realise that appearance is important to some degree, but I'm not going to deceive myself in order for others to like me more. If that is the price, then it is not worth it.
  12. May 30, 2010 #11
    better yourself... to benefit yourself... and good relationships will follow..

    You should ALWAYS be true to yourself.. this is attractive and will ultimately lead to the most success in both dating and life in general...

    If you don't want to date now than by all means don't... we have a lot of other things to worry about (I am not dating currently either)

    Just work on yourself.. always.. and never do anything to "please" someone or entice them to like you... (by cordial, nice, and a gentleman - there is a huge difference between this and being a "nice guy" who does "nice things" so he can be liked by others... its about being selfish (the nice guy) vs. true (the gentleman)

    Just work on relationships, work, and life in general.. never give up... and work your *** off, good things will follow...
  13. May 30, 2010 #12
    I know. This is the exact opposite of what I do. I don't care if people like me for what I do, the ones who don't aren't worth the effort.
  14. May 31, 2010 #13
    you sound like you have a good head on your shoulders.... best of luck to you... but since you (and I) are here and I know how hard the socializing/relationship thing can be coming from a more intellectual side... I would suggest really learning how to listen to something other than the frontal lobe of your head or you might become quite miserable ;)
    Last edited: May 31, 2010
  15. May 31, 2010 #14
    Even without a manic-depressive status women will drive men nuts. The road to sanity is in understanding that you can't control the situation. All you can do is always put your best foot forward, maintain your dignity, and maintain a high level of repect for her wishes. If or when it doesn't work out, try again with someone else. Understand going in that you will try to date several women before you get good at it and you will make mistakes. Don't allow your mental ups and downs to cloud the reality of it- some women will like you and some won't. Accept it as a facet of nature and move on. If you take this approach you will eventually meet someone who works out well with you and vice versa. Don't force it.
  16. May 31, 2010 #15
    I see what you mean. I try to find some comfort in that things that do not work are not things you would have wished for working with any less than changing the facts of reality, which is something we humans can't quite do.
  17. May 31, 2010 #16
    Your so young why throw it all away for one girl?
  18. May 31, 2010 #17
    I'm not going to throw anything away. I'm just a bit confused with myself.
  19. May 31, 2010 #18
    You claim that you want to "help her." Instead, that was a guise that you really want her to help you. Depression does do this to many people( I have several friends who have it). When you have problems, often you want to go or stay in a relationship that your partner will either:

    1) "Fix" your problems.
    2) Stay with you regardless of your problems.

    Because of this, you were needy, and she was able to pick up on it. Of course, no one ever goes into a relationship without being needy. However, most people do not want a needy partner. Being in a relationship with you would require too much energy and work than she is willing to invest.

    What I suggest:

    1) Appear to not have any problems. Be as extroverted as possible. Make sure no one can tell that you have no mental problems. If you do this, you may eventually have a higher self esteem for yourself.
    2) Do not put any girl on a pedestal. No one is worth giving up your happiness. I suggest that you start dating other girls, even if all your endeavors fail. Also, do activities that do not involve her.
  20. May 31, 2010 #19
    Sounds pretty reasonable, yes. I'm not going to attempt to HIDE the fact that I'm not entirely mentally healthy, though, that's just silly.

    I'll try to give a shot at dating again once I'm "back on track" (correct medication and all that), provided I can find someone who's worth the effort, which unfortunately isn't entirely easy at this age.

    As far as this "failed" attempt goes, the "failure" in itself doesn't really bother me that much, I don't think there's any way I could have made this work with the mental health I had at the time (and still do to some extent), although it's of course a pity that it had to end up this way. What bothers me is that I've found myself unable to discern between motivation, my "sane" emotions and my "slightly less sane" emotions. I find it a bit difficult to trust myself. But I suppose it will get better with time. And I'm sure that everything will be more straight once my lithium is properly dosaged (well, provided it works, knock on wood).
    Last edited by a moderator: May 31, 2010
  21. Jun 2, 2010 #20
    I think I can relate to your obsession with that girl. I'm slightly older than you, and I have in fact, been into your situation before (without the psychological issues). I was very obsessed with a girl and I thought she was perfect. Now, 3 years later, I realize it was silly and meaningless as I look back.

    You seem to be an intelligent individual, the way one types on the internet can actually reflect his or her intellectual level to some degree. This is a physics forum after all, I think most people here are very brilliant. You are one of them, I dare to say. Why not use your skills to help others?

    Maybe I'm wrong, maybe you're an average student, but you seem to be maturer than most people at your age. Help others, whether academically or socially. And I believe you will enjoy life better that way.
  22. Jun 2, 2010 #21
    Thank you. Yes, I've tried to appreciate the somewhat cloudy vision that emotions can give you. It's funny that no matter how much you think and how much sense you make, your feelings just won't listen. Even worse, your feelings can take over you and make you imagine that you make sense when you really don't.

    As far as my intellectual ability goes... I don't like talking about it, or comparing intellect in general. But I skipped fifth grade, was then suggested to skip eight grade (Of course, I didn't), and many who know me seem to think of me as some sort of genius. I have no way to relate to it myself, but I appear to have an ability of learning that is above average.

    Regardless, I aspire to study medicine, so whatever intellectual ability I may have will certainly be put to good use.
  23. Jun 2, 2010 #22


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    I think you'll find that common here, and believe me, if you don't get banned soon, you will most likely meet members that will change your opinion of how smart you are. :smile:
  24. Jun 3, 2010 #23
    Good. I've always liked perspective.
  25. Jun 4, 2010 #24
    I believe that when you determined that you really just wanted to open your friend up to new ideas, you were probably (possibly) trying to minimize any pain coming from the rejection of your decision to try to be more than "just friends" with someone. I could very easily be wrong but I am asking you to consider this idea as a possibility.

    When we repress emotions, such as pain, humans of every stripe (so called average & the rest of us) will only have to face them later on, so I am suggesting that, perhaps you allow for the pain, now. Let yourself feel it, and decide what to do if such should come up again...and it will, and then, and only then move on. I know that this is basically what you appear to be doing in this thread. Putting the whole thing "to bed" is not a bad thing to do.
    But feeling your emotions is way better than covering them up with our rational, because they will re-haunt us if we don't deal with them.

    The girl in this situation was probably a wonderful person (after all you were "falling for her") and the idea of losing (potentially knowing her very intimately) is not the greatest.
    Yet, since it seems you are not to be star-crossed lovers, well...best to grow from it, yeah?

    Genius is a good thing to have, being able to think in differnt styles about things others can't solve, has been the great boon of certain folks. Be happy that you have a certain way with original thinking as a bi-polar individual, I am sure many of Earths masterful genius's were absolutely manic! It has been somewhat documented, and while it may have been unrecognized as a medical diagnosis many times in the past people were called quirky, and the like, instead. Many of the people we consistantly learn from through history, have had "wild mood swings" and continued to add to the quality of life for countless others.

    Love is a mysterious thing, no one has it completely deciphered, we just work with the mind we have, limited or enhanced by much learning, and we all try to figure Love out, bit by bit. Don't be too confused over why this relationship did not grow in the ways you wanted it to. Who knows why she didn't feel the two of you meshed beyond what she told you. We all hide little things so as not to crush people who we love (care for) and we all save people feelings a little...at times. Maybe there is someone else she is crushing over, but she still wanted to get to spend time getting to know you better, and becoming tighter as friends. Maybe you can continue to be friends with her, with the cyber age we have now, there is no reason you should be utterly rejected to the point of dissolving the friendship, only you can decide if you wan't to discontinue knowing this person on a deeper level. Maybe she can open you up to certain things too!

    Life is a complex series of situations and circumstances that we are able to simplify with deep thought, and with heart and open-minded goal orientation. We choose to let things bring us up, or let us down...I used to be depressive because i would allow myself to get on a bi+chfest...and then id just add more reasons to be grouchy, until i would end up in tears. Talk about letting myself feel the pain, i lanquished in it, I may have been addicted to having a bad attitude. If you find that is true for you (even just a bit) please realize that the opposite tack may also be taken, we can get on a gratitude wave, and think of all the things that are right and good in life, and ride on that too.

    There is nothing wrong with sharing that you have a diagnosis, one day people will come to realize that a mental diagnosis IS a Physical diagnosis, the brain should not be considered not a part of our bodies, or somehow separate. I will say that perhaps allow folks to fall in love with you, (in many ways) and not just romantically, before letting them in on everything about you. Then when you tell them, they already know you to be upstanding, responsible, charming, kind, honest and the like, and would never think of rejecting you then, over something like a medical diagnosis.

    This is just my spur of the moment reaction to your posts in this thread...maybe after more thought on the subject, or your answer, I will have more to add.

    Oh, and about looking for another girl who interests you, it is up to you to decide if you want to look for a romantic thing, usually that just happens rather spontaneously. But if it should come up soon, I really admire you for asking about this situation, and getting your thoughts about it clear...hopefully you will be better prepared for the next romantic thing that comes up. Women (even young ones) are not objects to acquire, as I think you implied, we are humans with "heart" and deserve the respect that, that implies.

    Hope any of this was helpful to you, and BTW you are a good looking young fellow, I saw your recent pics. Don't think that you can see that, when you look through a certain personal lens of youth. I used to think myself incredibly plain or even ugly, when I was really quite pretty. It seems that something is skewed when you see yourself, sometimes for worse and sometimes for better, that bias cannot usualy be trusted entirely.
    Just understand that when you are older and look back you will see how beautiful you actually are, right here, right now, believe me!

    Too bad i am WAY to old for you, kid!
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2010
  26. Jun 4, 2010 #25
    Hahaha. Thank you very much.

    I don't think there's much use in looking back over it, I've tried, and I've come to realize that I have no way of discerning between anxiety (whether manic or depressive) and "genuine" (rational, reasonable, etc) feelings. I think that a lot of this ended up emotionally exaggerated due to my mental state. As soon as I started calming down (by putting school on a hold and such) I could deal with it in a more reasonable manner.

    I'm not intending to completely cut contact with her. She insists that she does appreciate me as a person and certainly has concern for my well-being. I'm going to contact her some time in the near future and just toss her a status update, once I'm a bit better stabilized by my medications (don't want to incite any potential emotional overreactions).

    Regarding bipolarity, it is indeed prevalent among gifted individuals. van Gogh is probably the most famous (some also speculate he was schizofrenic). To me it's a lot like an aching knee - Something that's there and really annoying. While mania does certainly sprout a lot of creativity, I've never been able to do anything sensible with it (mostly things like... running up and down stairs...)
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