This most recent bout of depression has been manifesting itself though several bouts of imaginary rejection. That isn’t to say this is something new, unfortunately this is something that comes and goes for me, especially when I am in a relationship.
Imaginary rejection (as I call it) is one part delusion, one part paranoia, one part anxiety, and maybe two parts depression. The situation occurs when one begins having some kind of expectation that friends, family, or anyone else doesn’t know about. By not meeting these potentially new, unspoken expectations, the one doing the expecting feels a sense of rejection, possibly to the point where one begins to feel everyone around them is somehow out to hurt them.
Complicated? A little. Let me give you an example.
Let’s say my boyfriend is going to the grocery store to pick up some things for our lunch. He gets ready to go, and as he turns to say goodbye I am suddenly extremely alarmed that he didn’t ask me to go with him.
Realistically, I know he never even thought about that. His goal was to get the groceries as fast as possible to please me.
Now, I know this is something people without bipolar disorder have to deal with too. It is all about communication and whatnot, letting the people around you know what you need.
The problem for me is that this only comes on when I am symptomatic and feeling at least slightly paranoid and when depression has leveled my social skills to virtually nada. The depression is whispering in my ear that nobody likes me, and I find myself suddenly (delusional) seeing evidence of this “rejection” in every aspect of my life.
This is one of depression’s dirty little tricks that I have been chasing around for years but not really pinned down until this week. I found myself in a battle of wits with myself, my mind telling me,
“see, your boyfriend really doesn’t love you.”
to which I replied,
“are you sure, because he did say three times I could come with him after all. Would he have said that if he didn’t mean it?”
Like so many other facets of bipolar disorder, I’m trapped in a situation where I am receiving information from several sources (my brain, what is happening around me, the people around me) that doesn’t match up. The problem truly comes in not knowing which source to believe.
When faced with the sensation of imaginary rejection it seems the best defense is remembering the fact that we are in a situation of uncertainty. Simply taking a moment to remind oneself that I don’t know what source to trust right now can take the wind out of depression’s sails. Just one moment of hesitation before believing when our minds tell us we’re unloved, or unwanted, or unworthy can be enough to step back before getting swept up in it all.