As I explained in part 1, bipolar has a tendency to skew, distort, and magnify one’s perceptions so that anything can become completely negative or completely positive. It’s possible for some people or things to be considered awful, while separate ones to be sublime simultaneously, whether you’re manic or depressed. It’s also possible for “bi-polarized perceptions” to flip flop about any given person or thing from positive to negative or negative to positive. It’s very frustrating. I’ll post about some experiences I’ve had with negative perceptions here.
Perhaps the best example of my perceptions being distorted were my perceptions about my mom. She’s a loving, sweet, wonderful mother in reality, but my bipolar blinded me from that in the past. Whenever I thought about her, something referenced her, or reminded me of her, I’d immediately feel overwhelming anger, disgust, anxiety, and sometimes hatred for her. All I could think about was something she said that morning that came off wrong to me, and all of the mistakes she made in the past. The positive things she did, said, and the love I felt didn’t even surface for a long time.
It was an overwhelming storm that clouded my mind’s eye. Yet in the big picture, that cloud was pretty small compared to all the good things I now remember, love, and appreciate about my mom. Yeah she’s not perfect, but no one is.
I also remember being overly cynical about things that became hurtful to people. For instance, my dad is an excellent cook, he has a passion for food, and he wants to share the joy of good food with our family by cooking good food for us. I now enjoy and participate in his excellent cooking, but it wasn’t always like that. When my bipolar was in control of me, I would make snide comments about how there wasn’t any point in spending so much time for something that’s gone in half an hour. I never complimented him on his cooking. Sometimes I would make hurtful comments about it.
All of this surrounded my skewed, distorted perceptions that food is meaningless and only good for making me gain weight. I saw it as gluttonous to enjoy food, and practicality’s sake called for spending the least amount of effort possible to consume food. After all, you just need the bare necessities of good nutrition.
I now have healthy, balanced perceptions about my mom, and I give my dad the genuine praise he deserves for his excellent cooking. I love food, and eat in moderation. Food can bring joy and vitality to me. Bare nutrition is really the bare minimum one needs, and who likes the bare minimum all the time?
In the next part, I plan to talk about how things can rapidly shift from negative to positive or vice versa, especially while in a manic, depressed, or mixed state.
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