When I am around other people lately I often find myself seeing things differently than they might be. Not in the delusional kind of sense but more in the everyday misunderstanding kind of way. This has cost me friends – it’s not a small problem.

Essentially bipolar disorder has skewed my ability to perceive things, from body language to intonation; my brain has its own version of what truth is. For a long time my internal lens focused on how I believed my role in things played out and why things were the way they were, with a solid focus on being the victim of my circumstances. I still hadn’t internalized the reality of my diagnosis and accepted the impact it would have on my life.

Eventually I moved past the “poor me” stage and managed to reach a solid sense of place in the world around me. Unfortunately over time that too has changed, being replaced with an all-too-frequent sense of being unaware, unfamiliar, and disconnected. See, mental illness can and will change the way you see the world. It realigns your perspective and effectively provides a new worldview. In my case I no longer intuitively know things as much as I used to. Like the “right” thing to say (or not say) or whether someone is angry or irritated or just being brief or curt due to circumstance.

As it is I don’t pick up on context any longer. The one area that it really hurts is with my social life. I still try but frankly it’s just damn awkward most of the time. Instead I stay somewhere for an hour or two, rather than the 4-6 hours I might have before. I no longer try to keep track of a conversation but rather enjoy listening to others from the sidelines. I used to be much more social and outgoing but as hard as it’s gotten, I do a lot of staying home and maintaining balance.

However, despite my sorrow over losing some parts of my personality over time I also realize that the person I am becoming is perfectly fine. Not hanging on to some outdated version of myself but instead loving who I am, where I am. My mind works just fine, maybe not the way it used to, but this new version is not too bad. All in all right now, is not such a bad place to be.

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