Relationships and Mental Illness Part II: Platonic Relationships

What can mental illness do at the nonromantic level? What might come up when a man talks to his mentally ill friend?

Perhaps you must see as we see, and hear as we hear.

Mental Illness can make small annoyances into large conundrums. Irritability can be both a symptom of the disease AND a side effect of the medications used.

Imagine you’re on a busy freeway. It’s very irritating, it’s easy to get frustrated. Now reconsider. What if when you got off a freeway you were still in traffic. What if traffic never seemed to end from the beginning of the excursion til the end? Irritability would probably rise to boiling levels in many people. Are we going to do something stupid in this condition? Probably. Is it still our fault? Yes, but it would be more than a little stupid to mess with someone showing signs of extreme irritability. The worst thing you can do is meet irritability with more irritability.

What you do when a person is in this state depends highly on the situation, and I hope that you can read body language. Perhaps the best thing to do is not to immediately ask what’s wrong and continue after one “I don’t know”. If you keep pushing A) you’ll get irritated and B) the person you’re asking will be embarrassed because the anger and irritability FAR outranks the cause of the state. That’s more or less what a propensity towards irritability is. That’s what mania and hypomania can be.

But consider the depressed individual aas well, don’t leave him out. He may find himself in a place where he does not want to talk. You may provoke a serious reaction if you ask him what’s wrong. Especially when you know very well that he’s depressed. If you KNOW the reason, perhaps it isn’t the best idea to ask.

Perhaps that’s the best advice I can give. Avoid conflict with a mentally ill friend over something that’s causing him pain. Certainly don’t tell him “Oh, it’s not so bad”. That is the WRONG idea. Of course the situation’s not so bad. There’s always a worse situation one can come up with. But that’s not the point.

Remember this above all else. Clinical depression is clinical for a reason. Ifit were an appropriate response to a situation then it IS NOT CLINICAL! That’s normal! Any doctor worth his salt makes sure that there is no overriding condition that makes actions rational. Now a rational person with a very bad situation may need counseling. They may even need meds to get through it. Like an antianxiety medication or something. Clinical depression is clinical, it is not reasonable, that’s the point. If your brain chemistry is compromised, reactions may very well not be rational in extent.

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