“Everybody lies.” – Dr. Gregory House
I recently read an article on myths about bipolar disorder. Number one on the list was bipolar people are liars. This is a myth because lying is not a symptom of bipolar disorder. Sometimes, however, bipolar people do indeed lie. For example, I lied. A lot. Intricately, with a great level of complexity, and I was good at it. I lied to cover my hypomania. I had to come up with reasons why I was out all night, doing drugs, and spending every cent we had. I often dragged my friends’ names into it in order to make the stories believable. I got away with it for a long time until finally the money ran out and there were no lies I could conjure up to save my own ass. This led to an abrupt, ugly, devastating end. These lies, for all their complex deception, were not a symptom of bipolar disorder, I was just trying not to get caught. It didn’t work out particularly well. Really.
I still lie fairly regularly, but not at the same level or for any devious reasons. Instead, they are white lies that prevent me from getting involved discussing my mood swings. Ask me how I am in the midst of depression and the answer is “Fine”. You’ll get the same answer when my mind is racing and I’m bouncing off the walls with hypomania. Ask me what’s bothering me, “Nothing”. It’s terse and simple. I dislike having to explain my moods, that I can’t just get over them, like people tend to suggest, and be like everyone else, so I lie. That’s the truth.
Another reason I tell these white lies is because not only do I not want to explain my moods, people don’t want to hear it. Who, aside from my therapist, wants to hear about how worthless or self-aggrandizing I feel, depending on my mood? I’m not going to discuss my thoughts of suicide or self-medicating, or any of the other nasty little secrets my brain likes to run through and torture me with. It follows then, that I lie in social settings. I hate crowds and I strongly dislike people. Well, most people, specifically strangers. I can be, however, a particularly social person when necessary. I know how to play nice. I put up this facade to avoid any preconceived notions about what others may consider bipolar behavior. I can indeed carry on an intelligent conversation when I have to. Honestly.
There are some people I am completely honest with, people in whom I place complete trust. It’s a very small group consisting of a couple of friends and my therapist. Even then, with the exception of my therapist, no one believes me all the time. I have torn my credibility and reputation to shreds by lying for so long. Many people will no longer believe most of what I say, or they will assume I am lying all the time. Trust is nearly impossible to regain, and I understand why I’m in that position.
Obviously, there are things in past I’ve lied about that I haven’t mentioned here. I limited it to events relating to being bipolar and, of course, this is just my side of what happened and why. I’m sure those to whom I lied will have different versions of what happened, although I have tried to be as truthful as possible. As a final reminder, just because I’ve lied doesn’t mean all bipolar people lie. It’s not a symptom, it’s just how I’ve tried to cover up my symptoms.
I wouldn’t lie to you.