Things to say and not to say to a Manic Depressive

For starters I am aware that in this modern age of fluffy names and cute medical words to soften the blow to fragile egos the condition is called Bi-Polar, back in the day when it had its rightful name they were at least blunt about it! And ask anyone who has been on the receiving end of Bi-Polar, first or third hand experience and see which name they think better fits the ‘condition’ as it’s called.

I like to think of it as a ‘Personality Glitch’ along with OCD, anxiety, paranoia, anti-social tendencies and my favourite of these glitches, plain old bat shit crazy. I can see it in your faces… that look… How can he belittle such heavy mental health issues? Did he just use the words Bat Shit Crazy? Why am I still reading this?!

To the first two questions my answer is simple; I live/have lived with each of those personality glitches and claim to own at least a couple for myself, let’s just say rope stores and cliffs are not on my travel itinerary and I’m writing on a blog, not speaking to a person. The answer to the third question involves you going to your GP and asking ‘Am I crazy?’

Anyway, back on subject class, stop throwing paper aeroplanes at the back and unless you want me to read that note you’re passing I recommend you stop. Now, things to say and not to say to a Manic Depressive:

  1. ‘How are you?’ the clue is in Manic and Depressive by the way, I doubt your ability to deal with such a person if this subtle hint is beyond you!
  2. ‘How are you feeling?’ If you didn’t get it with the previous entry, give up all hope
  3. ‘You look sad’ Please have noticed the pattern by now

These obligatory questions are like throwing lighter fluid into a fire place, its burning regardless so please don’t add to the flames, depending on the level of anti-social tendencies the person you’re asking has developed over the years of idiots asking ‘How are you?’ you will get one of three responses. The first will entail a well practiced version of the classic ‘I’m fine, how are you?’ which is code for the inner thought ‘I’m not telling you I feel like shit so I’ll let you rabbit on about your perfect life whilst I feel worse’ which given this person is not even giving up their name without torture should hint they are not the sharing type, unless you are in fact an amateur torturer practicing their art!

The second response involves a delivery, dryer than the desert at midday, for the words ‘I’m going to hang myself out back after I’ve stacked these shelves’… Shock may be your first reaction but I advise you merely check for evidence of a rope, a packet of razor blades or a 500 page piece of paperwork (the most painful form of suicide I can think of!), the absence of these should lead to a witty line about not letting the boss see you’re slacking off.

The third response is too rude to put to page, be warned the person saying it is should be avoided to say the least!

Now I realise the reality of my words paints a very bleak picture of suicide watches and pity but to this I must say no, if you’re depressed it is merely a sign that you’re… surprise… you’re depressed (I know, shocking) and that it’s nothing new. Pity is useless, sympathy is a mere plaster on a mortal wound and feeling sorry for someone achieves as much as the aforementioned plaster!

They say humour is a great healer and to that I agree, when the piano is hovering above your head there’s no point pussy footing around it, to make a joke about it however lightens it and having someone play along with the dark humour that sufferers of the personality glitch that is depression, acts as a nice way of subtly venting those negative feelings in a fun fun way!.

In all seriousness I must also say that if you are genuinely worried about someone you should be blunt ‘You look more depressed than normal, if you want to talk there’s a free coffee in it’ or in extremes ‘Seriously I’m worried about you, you look like you’re about to take a short walk off a tall cliff, say it ain’t so’ but never, ever, for the sake of god, the devil and all that’s in-between use the words ‘How are you?’.


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