It’s a small world after all

Tonight I feel like my social encounter was typical of what I normally run across these days.

Let me elaborate.

Around 8 I made my way to a friend’s birthday party. Given her previous parties I hadn’t had much luck finding anything in common with her current friends so I was a little nervous to go. Nervous enough to stop at a hospital on the way to her apartment to use the restroom, not so nervous to try to stay home and shy away from the party completely. In any case, I was certain that once I arrived and had one alcoholic beverage the nerves would dissipate and I would be able to slide my way into a social crack, because that is my forte.

When I arrived it was still early (by Seattle “going out” standards anyway) so I quickly joked with the only other guest available at the time.

This guest then latched on to me, sensing a similar set of values (humorous foodies with an obscure sense of fashion and social situations). We quickly bonded and I began to admire said guest, wondering where my initial nerves spawned from in the first place.

Three hours in on the way to a bar downtown the conversation led me in a direction I don’t normally go in casual social conversation. I said to her (and I believe the topic revolved initially around birth control) that I am bipolar.

What happened next I should have guessed. The lovely humorous blond woman standing next to me initiated a bond that would seal our fates; she told me that she is also bipolar.

Now, this has happened to me in another situation too recently for me to objectively discern how often this could happen to the average joe. I just reach a point where I am feeling comfortable with someone, comfortable enough to tell them my “little dark secret” and it turns out that they too have hesitantly found themselves answering me with the same words.

I live in Seattle, a city of some 563,000 people… and at this time my two best female friends have both been diagnosed at one point in their lives with bipolar disorder. One of them I knew this when I met her, another I didn’t find out until five years after I met her. Tonight I met another young woman who I connected to rapidly, only to find out that she has also been diagnosed with this disorder. Not only has she been diagnosed, but she had been planning on going to the support group this Monday night that I normally go to (and sometimes help run). Small world? Yes.

My question for tonight is this: do people with a certain mental process attract others that seem to function with a similar process? In other words, will my bipolar mind be constantly drawn to other bipolar minds? The concept doesn’t surprise me, it only makes sense that two minds that function similarly would get along. At the same time it feels bizarre to me that with 563,000 people in this city I will unintentionally gravitate toward those with bipolar disorder 9 times out of 10.

Is this evolution? It feels like it has begun to happen too often now to be coincidence.

4 responses to “It’s a small world after all

  1. I almost think it’s something different that makes you gravitate toward each other – perhaps the fact that you both have understanding personalities due to all you have been through (this is mere speculation, as this is only the second of your posts which I have read).

  2. Are people with certain brain chemistries almost magnetically attracted to one another? Absolutely. I have proof, however antecdotal.

    My brother has moderate Autism. I say moderate, because he’s moderately functional. He is verbal, but has limited conversational skill. But, my brother can pick out someone with ASD, in a crowd, a mile away. He will approach these people and attempt to start conversation and make friends.

    Now, if my brother, who is actually impaired enough to be considered totally disabled by a pervasive disorder, can pick similar people out, then it stands to reason that we can too. (Hence the reason I’m not 100% convinced my son has ASD. My brother doesn’t seem to think so.)

    I’ll make a confession, though. I don’t typically attrached just people with BP. I attract a variety of people with disorders. People with ASD are particularly fond of me, and that’s a high compliment! My most disasterous relationship was with a man who had teen diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder. My husband was diagnosed with panic disorder a little over two years before we were involved. (Although he’s rarely symptomatic anymore. Strange. Another story for another time.)

    So, I’m absolutely convinced this is truth rather than speculation. Perhaps, it’s because of a certain personality compatibility. Remember INFJ? Most of us fell into that category! Coincidence? I think not!

  3. I think it is true, but I’m a little jealous. I’ve yet to find a fellow bipolar in the real world…

  4. I’m curious to know what your thoughts on this are now. I do sometimes think bipolarism and bonding with other people with mental illnesses are a type of evolution. Bipolar’s symptom of being overly aware of our surroundings is definitely a form of evolution, debilitating as it may be.

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