When people with bipolar disorder disappear or “fall off the map”

hide in the cornerI’m not sure if I can do justice to this topic right now, but I’m posting about it anyway to explain why I haven’t been around much.

Starting around April of this year, my blog posting slowed up significantly. I confess that my habit of reading other peoples’ blog posts slowed up even more. I don’t even remember where my head was then. That seems like ages ago, but I can say that I was readying myself for a big vacation in Portugal with my husband. It was my 20th wedding anniversary vacation that my husband and I had been thinking about for years. I believe I was getting stressed. My brain was not functioning as quickly and efficiently as it had been before.

Stress turned into anxiety, then morphed into a bit of mania over the course of my vacation with my husband. I feel so horrible that my illness made the trip less than ideal for him. I love him so much and it was supposed to be so special. When we returned home I was starting to recover from the experience. Sometimes when mania is suddenly curbed, it’s like the life goes out of you suddenly, other times it is a slow deflation. I was glad to be home but feeling guilty. Over a period, I slowly crawled into my corner and was quiet.

I started a serious weight loss effort before my vacation. I lost quite a bit in three weeks because of super motivation, which was probably the beginning hints of soon to come mood elevation. I had wanted to at least eat sensibly during my vacation, but I did just the opposite. When I returned home, I did manage to lose much of what I gained, but the momentum stopped with that. Since then, now 11 weeks later, I’ve gained and lost, and gained. I’m further behind than I was at week 3 of my diet. I did promise to post my Friday Fitness and Weight Loss updates, and have managed to continue, sometimes reluctantly, but that’s about it. I’ve posted almost nothing about anything else. Because of that, many of my old followers have likely thought I left or changed into someone else.

Other than my husband, I’ve seen almost no one since April other than my psychiatrist and therapist. I have dwelled in a closed off world. I even struggle sometimes to play with my pet parrot. I do sometimes post on a couple of online support forums, but I feel disconnected to many of the people there. I’m there, but not there.

I think it’s fairly common for people in bipolar episodes to “fall off the map”, so to speak. Either depression or anxiety becomes isolating and muting, in a sense. Or, mania takes us away literally or figuratively in our own worlds. People speak to me, but I don’t always hear because the thoughts in my mind take over. Or even if I am literally chatting with others at 100 mph, the people that I talk “at” are just figures in my adventure or elevated journey.

Lately I’ve been experiencing anhedonia. That means that nothing I used to enjoy seems enjoyable anymore. I feel flat and empty. It’s difficult to be creative. It’s kind of hard to even be me. I neglect so many things, including my own wellness. Managing to do even the basics is difficult. I try my best to be at least slightly productive, but even when I am, the reward is minimal in my mind. When I do feel, I feel so hypersensitive. Sometimes that surge is extreme but ends as quickly as it comes.

Though not going through my head right now, in the past I have wanted to run away, literally, and just be alone where I could do nothing. Or sometimes the desire to run away was in hopes to create a “jolt” that would snap me out of my struggle or feelings of nothingness. Years ago, I even went so far as to book a ticket clear across the country for this type of effort, but luckily, I backed out of it.

Running away is definitely not just an effort to escape responsibility during depression. Actually, it’s often more commonly done when people are manic. The adventure spurs impulsivity. Irrational thinking sends some manic people on wild adventures. Life as it is can seem restricting or boring during those times, making one feel like a trapped animal eager for escape. Running away can also almost be an expression of anger or challenge.

Peeking throughWell, I am happy to be home and have no plans to go anywhere. I am a very lucky lady to have a wonderful husband I love dearly. He is so giving, patient, tolerant and compassionate with me. I do have other people in my support network that know me well and remind me that this tough period will pass, like others have passed before. Who knows, maybe tomorrow I will wake up feeling like the old me again; vibrant and excited, but hopefully level in mood. Actually, I’m already feeling a bit better today than I felt yesterday. I’m still a bit in my hiding, but through this post I’m peeking out the window and letting you know I’m still here.

I look forward to interacting more with all of you soon! Please excuse if any of this post seems disjointed in nature. It’s sometimes hard to squeeze out anything, so when it comes it is good to just let it flow as it may.

17 thoughts on “When people with bipolar disorder disappear or “fall off the map”

    • updownflight July 19, 2018 / 8:50 pm

      Thanks for sharing that, Dave. I hope you are doing well now or will soon be.


  1. celtics345 July 19, 2018 / 8:48 pm

    Hey birdflight I relate to your post in many areas I am very hypersensitive its been a problem for me. I have written so much but I need to give myself a break. I worked hard. My weight has been up and down I have had trouble eating healthy through the whole week. I eat out sometimes. I still go on walks to help. My diabetes is not that bad 159 sugar average. My friend Will is isolating a lot too he has depression. I finally got out to buy some books to read. I got romance poems. I hope the tide turns birdflight stay strong and keep the faith.

    Liked by 1 person

    • updownflight July 19, 2018 / 8:53 pm

      Thank you, curleymania!

      I think romance poems sound like a lovely read. I’m glad you’re exercising. I definitely need more of that. Even if I got outside in nature it would be less isolation.

      Liked by 1 person

      • celtics345 July 19, 2018 / 9:00 pm

        yea i am lucky i have a park next to my house i just go outside in the good weather and relax sit on the bench yea the poems are great one book is centered on giving poems that will destress you

        Liked by 1 person

      • updownflight July 19, 2018 / 9:03 pm

        That’s nice you have the park nearby. Are you reading the poems in the park?

        Liked by 1 person

      • celtics345 July 19, 2018 / 9:28 pm

        not yet i usually just get some air my sister comes with me and we talk about things to help each other

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Joshua Shea July 19, 2018 / 8:55 pm

    I have never heard of anhedonia as a word, but boy have I been there. As long as you know that this, too, will pass, all you can really do is strap in and ride it out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • updownflight July 19, 2018 / 9:00 pm

      I absolutely know you’re right, Joshua. I’m hoping for a turning this weekend. It’s been a rough couple of months, with a few exceptions.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Revenge of Eve July 20, 2018 / 2:27 am

    I can so relate. I too have fallen off of the map here recently. My stats greatly reflect it but I don’t care which means something but I don’t care right now, meaning nothing will come of caring if I did. lol, make sense?

    Liked by 1 person

    • updownflight July 20, 2018 / 1:21 pm

      Hi Revenge of Eve. It definitely makes sense. And my stats are significantly reduced, too. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that we do our best to take care of ourselves. We’ll “be back” fully eventually.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. updownflight July 23, 2018 / 6:42 pm

    I look forward to checking it out, Jumbled Rambles. I’m glad you let the thoughts flow during a time that challenges them.


  5. Ambyr Carolus September 26, 2018 / 2:55 pm

    That was a good read! My mother has bipolar and is now missing for over a month now, and left with out a trace. She left everything behind her medicine, and we have done many searches looking for her. She has not touched any of her money in her accounts and left id, debit card, money, keys to the car, the vehicle, and her cell phone. There is not one trace of her and we cant be sure if she just disappeared because of her bipolar. She was showing signs of sadness and crying a lot the day before she left. She is easily confused and I was just trying to see if anyone else has gone through this. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. amongthedevils November 5, 2018 / 2:07 am

    I lost my love to his “running away.” I am so glad you have, when it comes down to it, stayed. Good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

    • updownflight November 5, 2018 / 10:21 pm

      I’m sorry to hear that, amongthedevils! It’s a shame this “running away” is so common in people with bipolar disorder. Thank you for your kind words.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Lizanne April 24, 2022 / 11:23 pm

    Hello, I came across this post as I search for answers about why my boyfriend disappeared 3 weeks ago. He suffers from bipolar, and has a history of substance abuse. He was in a rehab facility, doing well as far as I could tell with limited contact. I believe he was only there to get stabilized on his pych meds, not aware of any relapse, but who knows. We had been separated in this way for months, but always in contact, and looking forward to being able to see each other soon. That’s mostly what we talked about the last few times, being eager to see each other and making plans to do so. Two days before our planned ‘date’, he called saying he was about to leave and could I get together later that day. I said I’d love to, just needed more info, like did he have a place to go? He said he was working on it, would call when he got there, said he loved me, then I never heard from him. Couldn’t get through. After a few days I became really worried, started making phone calls. Two places called my ph# looking for him. If he wanted to ghost me, I don’t think he would have listed me as a contact. Got in touch with a family member, who also couldn’t reach him, worried. After filing a police report and exhausting all avenues I could on my own, I am struggling to accept the uncertainty of this situation. I have always believed his illness is the root cause of the other issues he’s had in his life. Thank you for shedding some light on this illness and the accompanying behaviors. I hope he returns and reaches out to those of us to who care, so he gets well, and can hopefully get to a point where he can manage it and have a fulfilling life, as you do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • updownflight April 25, 2022 / 3:19 am

      Lizanne, I’m sorry your boyfriend is missing. Of course everyone should be worried. As he was fresh from an inpatient/rehab stay it’s certainly possible he was released prematurely. Too many are. I had been more than a few times.

      Let’s hope that he is reasonably safe or doesn’t find himself in any major trouble. What goes up does eventually go down, in terms of mania. He will make his way home in time. As for any addiction, that’s a hard challenge for sure, especially when combined with a mood disorder. I hope as his mood stabilizes, the addiction challenges will ease.


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