Maybe you’re like me and you listen to loads of murder podcasts. And maybe you’re like me and listen to one of the most popular podcasts, “My Favorite Murder.” If you don’t, you may not know that fans of the show call themselves “murderinos.” And maybe you don’t know that there is a very niche Facebook subgroup called “Bipolarinos” that is for people with bipolar disorder (and other mood disorders; we aren’t a picky group). According to National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five Americans deal with mental illness in any given year. That’s a lot of people, so you’re bound to fit in with someone.
I was a little nervous joining a group of people I didn’t know on the internet. I mean, they’re all strangers, and I like to pretend I am really closed-off from other people. But this was a pretty specific group that I fit pretty well into: I love talking about horrific crimes and I’m bipolar. It’s a done deal, y’all. I joined the group.
For a few months, I sat on the sidelines. I’d comment on a few posts, offer my support to people who needed it, but I didn’t post anything about my own needs. Not because I didn’t need help, but because I didn’t want any. I was admittedly a little worried that maybe my problems weren’t as needing of support, that maybe they’d judge me for asking for help.
Over Christmas break, I ran out of my antidepressants. It was right over Christmas, and Curry Pharmacy was definitely closed. My psychiatrist was out of the office for her own Christmas vacation. And I was scared. Going off antidepressants with no weaning is a pretty horrible idea and can lead to extensive side effects that are all pretty damn uncomfortable. For people with bipolar disorder, it’d be really easy to slip into a major depressive episode and experience suicidal ideation. It’s not a fun time.
I needed help dealing with the possible side effects and tips on how to get through it all for the next week. So, I turned to my fellow Bipolarinos.
Almost immediately, words of support started pouring in for me. People offered advice on finding a new pharmacy, people to call to ask for a week’s worth of my Zoloft. They told me about things I could do for self-care and support systems I could use during my time of need.
One person even offered to overnight me their leftover Zoloft from Canada. Illegal? Yes. Extremely nice and probably the coolest thing anyone has offered to do for me? Also yes. (For the record, they didn’t mail me any medication.)
The pharmacist from Curry gave me a call a couple days after I ran out of meds and filled my prescription. But I had made it through those couple days without my medication with the support of my new friends and their advice. I knew they believed in me, and I knew I’d be okay because they validated me.
I was never one for group therapy. In psychiatric facilities, they were required, and I tried a few when I was released. Talking to a group of strangers about my problems wasn’t something I found to be beneficial. And finding a niche Facebook group that knows, at least to some extent, my experience isn’t going to solve my problems or cure my depression. But it will give me a chance to talk about murder.