We were sitting around her kitchen table. I got back from my psychiatrist and received my diagnosis. I got an answer, but it was an answer I never wanted to hear. My stepmother had Bipolar One and that is what I grew up knowing and she was abusive. I had no idea what it meant to have Bipolar Two. My friend then reminded me something I seemed to forget and that was that she had Bipolar Two as well. The power of the me-too friend set in.
I started having symptoms 5 years ago. I was over sleeping, and then not sleeping enough. Also, I was depressed 99 percent of the time. But every once in a while, I spiked, and I felt like I was on top of the world. I would obsessively clean my whole house and get a lot of other small stuff done. But in a few days, that high crashed and I fell deeper into a depression and I couldn’t manage my symptoms and I avoided getting help.
3 years later, I finally got the help I needed. But I was terrified going into that first appointment. I was talking to my mom and she asked me what the worst-case scenario would be. I told her that I was terrified that I was going to be diagnosed with Bipolar and that would be the worst thing to me and then I got the diagnosis.
My Me-Too Friend
We met with our friends not too long after I was diagnosed. I shared with my friend what the diagnosis was and how scared I was. How I didn’t know anything about it and that I didn’t know what the road ahead looked like. That is when she reminded me that she had it too. I felt this sigh of relief come over me. There was that me-too friend.
We talked a lot that evening about things. She encouraged me to look Bipolar Two up and educate myself. Because the more you know, the less scary it seems. She also told me that the road ahead was going to be hard. It was going to consist of trying a lot of different medications to find the right ones. It affects you mentally because you are constantly assessing your moods. A long road was ahead of me, but she assured me that everything was going to be okay.
Having that me-too friendship has been huge in my time of healing. Having someone I can go to when I have questions and talk about what is going on is healing in itself. My family and other friends want to help, and they do…and…there is power in a me-too friend.
In dealing with Bipolar Two, I have felt alone and scared. I felt the pressure of the world falling on my shoulders. I felt like I was the only one in the world experiencing what I was dealing with. When my friend came beside me and shared her experience and story, it helped me realize that I am not the only one. It helped changed my perspective.
How do I find a me-too friend?
This was a question I had for a long time. How do I find friends with shared experiences who get what I am going through? It took me a long time to realize what I did. Vulnerability. I talk a lot about this, but it is true; unless you share your experiences, story, diagnosis, situation, or whatever it may be, and be open about it there is no room for connection. A me-too friend is based on vulnerability. To know something about someone and to know how they are feeling or what they are going through and hold that space for them is not something just anyone can do.
There is usually more than one me-too friend because one person, more than likely, does not have all the same experiences as you. Opening up your heart and story is hard but having a me-too friend can really help you. Whether you are going through a hard time and that friend can come along side you, or even if that person is just someone you have shared interests with. You start feeling connection, heard and cared about. You are not the only one. There is power in a me-too friend.