Tuesday, August 27, 2013

How To Be Friends With A Mood-Cycler

You've probably seen all those lists of "how to date an introvert/extrovert/cross-fit- fanatic/cyclist/couch potato/etc." These seem to be pretty popular these days, so I thought, why not make a list of my own? Except that I'm not addressing dating because to be totally honest, that's not the focus of my blog and we all know I rarely talk about relationships/dating on here anyways. Instead, I thought I'd focus on relationships in the general term. As adults, the basis of almost any personal relationship should really be a solid friendship, and I figured if I used that as the starting point, people could easily apply it to other areas of their personal life as well.

Now I hate to label anyone by an activity, personality trait, condition, but in this specific example, it flows smoother than a "a person with a mood cycling or similar mental health condition", so please excuse that faux pas.  That out of the way, in no particular order.... How To Be Friends With A Mood-Cycler (using myself as an example).
  • I like black and white. Gray areas concern/confuse/stress me out. 'Maybe we'll get together on Saturday night but I won't really know until Sat afternoon, can I let you know?" doesn't tend to go over well with me.  My brain can give me enough "all over the place." I don't need my friends to. Besides... I don't really want to be your plan B. 
  • Be sensitive about mental health topics and the terminology used. Calling someone "crazy" or "mental" because they don't act like you think they should is not cool unless you are clearly joking with me and know I am ok with you doing so.  Hint: when in doubt, avoid it. 
  • Avoid being a "sometimes friend". Be a true, honest, good friend. I deal with enough inconsistency in my body systems. Chasing after friends who reply 30 percent of the time or who are constantly inviting others out and not including me is not worth my time. Really this is just common sense in any friendship, in my opinion. 
  • Ups and downs are a part of my life.  I know the down won't go away if I put on a happy face, and people making fun of my energy level when I'm feeling really happy kind of sucks. Because, you know, I'm happy, and trying to express it. 
  • Don't assume that every time I'm upset that it's my condition. It's often not. Maybe someone, or you, did something inconsiderate or hurtful. Having a condition doesn't mean I'm automatically the bad guy. I don't use it as a crutch. Neither should you. 
  • Don't get going when the going gets tough. It's that simple. 
  • Genuinely learn about my condition. The more accurately informed you are, the more you'll understand my thoughts and actions, and that works out best for everyone. 
  • Make no assumptions about me. If you're not sure about something, ask. Even if you think you're sure, unless you've heard it from my mouth, you're not. My brain doesn't always work like yours. So how would you know what I'm thinking, or my intentions, or my thought pattern? 
  • Allow me emotions that might not make sense to you. Once again, my system is wired differently. Not worse, or better. Differently. 
  • Be glad I have that emotion - it also makes me incredibly caring, loving, giving, and forgiving.
  • Listen to me. Not hear me, listen to me. Enough people stigmatize, generalize, and write off people because of their condition. I feel unimportant often enough. I need to be genuinely listened to, even if it's about something silly. 
  • Let me know I'm important to you. Remember, I see black and white, I don't like to have to assume because that's a gray area. This actually applies in life, in my opinion. People shouldn't have to ascertain that you care. They should know because you tell them AND show them. 
Of course I can't say that this list is true for everyone with a mood cycling condition across the board. But I've spoken with and know enough people who have mood-cycling that I feel confident that using myself as an example (hence written in the first person), I can create this list. If anyone has anything to add, as always, I'd love to hear them! 


  1. That was a very thoughtful, well laid out blog Maya. I appreciate these posts and even though I've been a little messed up the last 12 months myself I try to stay up to date with your posts on FB at least.

    I always wish you nothing but happiness and success in all you do.

    Thanks again!

    1. Thank you!! I am glad to know that you read and appreciate my posts, and I appreciate your comments and your FB shares.