Sunday, August 4


I'm not sure where it comes from. Maybe it's because I struggle to read underlying emotional currents. Maybe it's because I've convinced myself that everything that can go wrong, will. Maybe it's a lesser part of being bipolar.

Whatever causes it, it's still sort of funny... or ironic... to watch how quickly and intensely my emotions change. I'm in tears one moment, feeling like life really can't go on and have meaning, and an hour later, when someone asks me if I'm doing ok, I don't even realize why they are asking.

I think that maybe the shift in emotions - from intense pain to joy, confusion to faith - allow me to have greater perspective on life. And maybe those disparate emotional states are the key for understanding the disparity in the types of decisions I make throughout life.


But mostly, right now, I think it's ironic. And maybe a bit frustrating. Because when I'm going through something intense, looking back at it through rational eyes I look horribly melodramatic. Taking things out of context, blowing things out of proportion... the usual. And yet in the moment I have those same thoughts, and actively try to measure my feelings and reactions... and feel completely resolved in doing what I do. Then later I laugh at the circumstance, but feel a bit embarrassed for acting like (at least it seems in my mind) a 5-year old.

I wish I could figure out what is going wrong in those situations... or if there really is anything going wrong. Going through intense emotional upheaval is actually a really good experience for me, as it helps me find stability and focus in life. I don't know that I really want to change it. But I have people involved in my life now... and regardless of how useful melodrama may be for me, I feel sorry for the people on the outside, who... I'm not sure if they really know what to do or expect.

Example: the first copy of the Book of Mormon I gave away on my mission was to an old woman we found while knocking doors. We went back a few times, but on the third or fourth visit she told us she didn't want to see us anymore. And she gave back the Book of Mormon. I had thought she might stop meeting with us, but I had hoped that she would keep the book so it would have a chance of influencing her or a loved one someday. I literally cried there on the spot, and looking back, it made the situation somewhat awkward. But I was totally devastated and didn't know what to do. She started crying too, because I was so distraught, and my companion quickly got us out the door. We didn't stop to process what had happened, just walked to the next complex where we had left off knocking doors. By the time we arrived, I was ok. That's what shook him up - my sudden shift from devastated to bright - and he brought it up to me later. In my mind it made perfect sense. I'm going to be devastated in the first situation, and I need to be happy in the second. But I don't think it works that way for everyone.

I know that it wreaks havoc on my relationships. People aren't sure what to do when my emotions are jumping from one place to another. Am I depressed? Am I ok? Am I having an amazing day, or really having an awful one, just with a short breath of fresh air?

Since I'm back in a deeply rational state, I find myself wanting to explain, or apologize, or whatever, the things I do when I'm emotional. The reality, though, is that I'm both. Wholly and completely both. And even though I may have 20/20 backwards vision and cognitive reasoning that usually wins out, it doesn't change the reality of my emotions when they come on strong. I don't have any idea of how to be less melodramatic when it hits, or any less rational when it doesn't.



  1. I feel the same way at times. I am optimistic but when something hurts I go down. Soonj after however I feel good again. I am glad you were up by the next door. Seeingg missionaries that are sad might not make for a good impression. Same goes for almost any meetings . imo

  2. I think you struggle with the fact that there are very diverse aspects of the person that you are. Spending some time in solitude doing whatever your heart desires will likely help. It doesn't matter what that thing is, as long as you don't do anything illegal lol. And just forget the world and clear your head find the part of you that makes sense. Be blessed.

  3. I had an epiphany reading your Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close post but realized it could apply to this one, too. I’ve found myself responding to your autism and bipolar struggles (and consequential social frustrations), written about periodically on your blog, with “Why doesn’t he just snap out of it! He’s sabotaging himself!”

    Then I realized how incredibly hypocritical that is. I’m same-sex attracted. I can’t just “snap out of” that.

    Then the thought occurred to me: Is the way I flippantly judged your autism (and bipolarity) the way a lot of straight people judge same-sex attraction? Do they think we’re being unconsciously (or consciously?) “rebellious against nature” or “resistant” to nature in some way?

    I had tried rationalizing that something in your character could be blamed for your social awkwardness and failed “friendships” resulting from autism and bipolarity, that you might just be too “lazy” or “rebellious” to make significant improvements (when in reality it was my judgment of your situation that was lazy); or that your “disability” was actually an *ability* you unconsciously avoided, that maybe you were subconsciously finding a way to be rebellious behind a facade of wanting to appear “good” and obedient (to win others’ approval?), that you might have a streak of “passive-aggressiveness” in you. *Is (Gay)MormonGuy *dissing* people who try to be his friend because he’s subconsciously angry at people in general for some reason. . .perhaps because of some childhood trauma?* I thought.

    Sounds like a mirror of the nature vs. nurture argument regarding homosexuality: Did childhood trauma make one gay, or did being gay create traumatic social consequences? Did childhood trauma make one “autistic” or did autism create traumatic social consequences?

    I shouldn’t be so naïve about autism (knowing darn well that it’s grounded in neurology) but I found myself trying to weave myself out of a more complex (or less complex?) answer until I finally felt myself listening more closely in these posts and seeing an earnest attempt to explain your reality in a very straight forward, matter-of-fact way. My eyes are opening. I’m sorry I so mindlessly judged you, and am awfully sad that others might be as flippant or naive about same-sex attraction as I was about your autism and bipolar emotional swings.

    In the end, I can’t know what’s going on inside of you any more than a straight person can know what’s going on inside of me. We can only *believe* people when they say, “I don’t choose to feel this way, and I can’t just ‘snap out of it.’”

    We can only believe them. And try to feel empathy for them. And not judge them for what they say they have no direct control over.

    If we insist on being right all the time, what’s the point of friendship anyway?

  4. May I make a remark from the funny side?! When I read how you described the swift in your mood I thought: that's just like a woman having PMS!! If you get married you will be much more prepaired to understand your wife than most men do. I think most men, secretly at least, are sure women could snap out of it if they wanted to. It's not that easy, as you know.
    To help my family survive my hormonal moods I have tought them that it has nothing to do with them and to just ignore it. And I try to stay away ad much as possible at those times.
    Let the persons near you know how you function and tell them not to take it too seriously. If some can't handle it then there isn't much you can do, this is the way it is and you can only do your best, try to find that enough, even if it's hard.
    You are amazing just the way you are, try to see that. Hugs!


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