The Placeholder Problem…


Just to clarify…I am not angry with any of my friends or family, I am not going to leave anyone high and dry and cut them out of my life. This is my issue, I got myself into it and I will get myself out of it. You might be wondering how exactly I got myself into this…to tell the truth I have been wondering the exact same thing. It started off very innocently. I was a TRAINWRECK after my hospitlization. I simply could not function, at all, and that meant I could not work. A manic person not able to be busy is like a racehorse that is only allowed to trot. We are going to kick, stamp, even try to throw you, end up lame and need to be shot.

I never got to the point where I could work successfully outside of home (I tried). I was (at one point) taking over 2000 milligrams daily of “head-meds” and anti-psychotics and for those of you that have had to take them you know well the brain fog and tremors that go with them…not to mention that zombie zone where you know you are awake but for all points and purposes you might as well not be. The eyes are open but no one is home and all you can muster is a grunt that is reminiscent of tequila talk….fun times!

All of that seems to diminish with time but you never, ever, ever get to a point where you feel normal (which is kinda funny because you technically never knew normal to begin with). I am just going to say…that…you become more functional. Functional, for me, meant I was fine as long as I didn’t engage in activities that induced a manic episode which turned out to be almost everything. I evidently have a switch that once activated doesn’t switch back off…it malfunctions. Corporate America, of course, if they have a employee that can do the work of five people sees that as an opportunity to be taken advantage of (they did) and it became evident I was not going to get better maintaining that viscious cycle. So, I left….

I no longer had a viable identity. I was not a productive member of society. I had no purpose. I made “me” my new purpose, and truthfully that is great until you head out into the world and someone asks the inevitable question: “What do you do for a living?” Somehow the reply of “I am a former mental patient working to achieve mental health stability and overcome the stigma of Bipolar Disorder in order to live a happy and fulfilling life,”  really doesn’t go over very well. People either laugh, nervously, hoping that you have an odd sense of humour or they trip over themselves trying to run away.


as I started to function a bit better (yet not well enough to resume an actual job) I started to “help” friends and family. They, after all, had helped me and as an INTJ personality type I lack the warm fuzzy display of affection that most people give naturally. Me stepping in to help them in an area that is important yet gets put aside because of their own busy careers became my love language of sorts. This placed me in the odd role of nurturer. I am, by nature, not a nurturer but somehow it has become who people think I am. I am endlessly perplexed by this and brings me to the problem of being a placeholder. People not only start to forget that you have your own passions that you would like to pursue but that your passions and their’s match exclusively.


Photo: Taken in Rajasthan by Pamela, untitled



2 Comments Add yours

  1. Louise says:

    This is the post. sorry about typos on kast one, on my rubbish phone. i stopped taking my pills because I could not function. Somedays I would take the pill and wait for the dead weight to fall silently on top of me, pinning me to the bed. it was a struggles to drag nyself to the bathroom to pee. i remember thinking ‘This isn’t the way’ this can never help me. So I stopped them and I flew to Mexico City with terror in my heart and I rode the ADO buses from Mex City to Oaxaca and back again and all over Chiapas and the Yucatan for 5 weeks. Then I returned to England got a job, cried in the toilet every day then had a melt down at a nasty pos co worker and walked out. So flew to Goa and a yoga retreat and I rode one bus to Palolem and bever wanted to leave but I had to because who can live from the fresh air? BUT it made it clear to me. My illness, imbalance, depression whatever name a yone wants to give it , crazy as f, whatever – everytime I go away and I travel the pain lessens, my mind still leaps around like a tireless toddler , I still have erratic nind changing episodes that keave me exhausted and I still cry at least three hours a day BUT the dull never ending throbbing pain deep in my heart hurts LESS. So I know for me, my medicine. Can’t wait to get on the next plane, just need to work.out a way to never come back. But for sure the drugs don’t work.


    1. Pamela says:

      I hope that you find what you are looking for in life and that you can travel as long as you can since it gives you some peace. God Speed.

      Also…lol…the phone typos….omg I can so relate. I have issues with auto-correct and auto-fill All The Time.


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