Chapter 2: Pink Hair & Luxury Bags | Kelly’s Story


此采访为中文采访,中英文参访字幕在文末。

In March 2021, CandleX director Xiaojie interviewed Kelly Yang on her experience with bipolar disorder. A year later, CandleX decided to present this interview in five chapters to commemorate World Bipolar Day. This is Chapter 2 of the interview. Check out Chapter 1 if you haven’t already!


In Chapter 2, Kelly talks about how her depression turned into bipolar disorder, a common situation for people who have bipolar I disorder. Kelly describes the feelings she encountered during different phases of bipolar disorder – she experienced the highest highs and lowest lows, which is a signature feature of bipolar disorder. Finally, they wrap up the discussion with Xiaojie asking Kelly for advice on how others can help people with bipolar disorder. In Chapter 3, they will cover more on Kelly’s hospitalization experience.

Interviewer: Xiaojie | Director of CandleX

Interviewee: Kelly

Time of interview: 2021


TRANSCRIPT

Kelly: It's just this constant draining of energy. I wouldn’t sleep or eat. My father described me as someone with infinite strength. At that time, all I thought about was how much I didn't want to live, and I thought there was nothing to live for. So, I tried to do things like jumping off a building, and during those times I had so much strength that my parents and brother combined couldn't even pull me back. My father said he was stunned at the amount of strength I had to pull free. It was like I wanted to use up all the power in my body. Previously, I mentioned the time when I didn't sleep for five whole days, and that time, I suddenly used up all my energy and fainted. When I woke up a few hours later, I felt like my entire body collapsed.

Xiaojie: Like you used up all your battery?

Kelly: Yes. I finally felt exhausted, and I didn't know what I was doing before. That was the process for me.

Xiaojie: What I find curious is that, for many people, they become more innovative during manic phases. They think they're at life's peak, the world's amazing, and they can do anything (like going five days with no sleep). However, in your case, you have high energy but negative emotions. Is my interpretation correct?

Kelly: Actually, before I was hospitalized, my emotions were... How should I put it? They were negative and sort of insane emotions. So I would act a bit mad and look "not normal." But after I was hospitalized, I received treatment and was on medications. That was when I felt the feeling of others during bipolar states. I did some things I would never have tried before, like dying my whole head a vivid shade of pink that really stood out. And when I went shopping, I would buy bags worth 30-40K(RMB). At the time, it was like that and I was so happy. I thought, "I'm completely healed and normal now." However, every time I went back to the hospital with my pink hair and new bags, my doctor would increase my medicine dosage. I couldn't understand the reason for that because I felt so fine and so happy. My father told me later on that, at the time, the doctor told him I was in an abnormal state that was part of the manic episode, and my mood was unusually high it needed to be lowered. It makes sense now because I was insanely happy in that period of time. I had the habit of writing in my diary every day, and before I would write about how much I wished to die. Then, after I was hospitalized, I wrote about where I went every day and how extremely happy I felt using multiple exclamation marks. During the time, I was gleeful every day. Afterwards, I realized that that period was indeed when I felt the upside of bipolar disorder.

Xiaojie: Right. At the hospital, were you diagnosed with bipolar I or II disorder? There are actually 4 types of bipolar disorder. Did the doctors tell you?

Kelly: I think it was bipolar I.

Xiaojie: I thought so, too, because we have mental health support groups at CandleX, and quite a few people with bipolar disorder come in with stories similar to yours. That's how I could tell. OK, let's summarize again. The first episode was in your last year of undergrad?

Kelly: Yes.

Xiaojie: Throughout the years, I feel like you went from depression to bipolar, since the first two times were depressive episodes, then you slowly turned bipolar. This is quite a common situation, to my knowledge. How long was the entire journey? From the first episode to the bipolar episode, which was also the last episode, right?

Kelly: Yes. It was around 4 years, from 2014 to 2018.

Xiaojie: Okay, I have a few more questions regarding events we advocate at CandleX. We really want to help the family and friends of those with bipolar disorder to know what they should do to help that person with bipolar disorder.

Kelly: When I was depressed or bipolar, what I wished to hear least from others was how I just needed to get over it and stop overthinking because I was fine. They are denying your current state, which makes you feel even more dispirited and feel like your actions are useless and wrong. It will make you sink deeper into negativity. So, I think it's important to not deny their current state. I was really grateful for my boyfriend at the time for staying by my side. Even though he knew he couldn't do anything to really help me, he was there for me. I think approaching people with depression or bipolar disorder as the role of a listener will make them feel more warmth.

Xiaojie: I really like the two points you mention. One is that we need to first validate all of their emotions, and then be there for them. If they want to say anything, no matter how embarrassed or guilty they may feel, they can tell you. So, more of the time, they wish for family and friends to act as this supporting body like a boat, instead of helping them to solve any problems. You are there, and they know that they can step aboard if they need it.

Kelly: Yes, that's what I mean.

文字稿

诗诗:其实就是一直在消耗你的精力,我不睡觉、不吃饭,当时我父亲描述就是我力大无穷,因为那个时候脑子里全部都是那种我不想活了,我觉得活着没有意思这种想法,所以那个时候有很不正确的尝试,就是去尝试跳楼,那个时候我甚至有的时候,劲儿大的时候冲出去,我父亲、我母亲包括我哥哥拉我都快要拉不住的那种,他们三个人拉我都拉不住的,我父亲描述就是都不知道你哪来的那么大劲儿,就是要往外冲,感觉就是要把我身上所有的劲儿都消耗光,我记得有一次,就是那次五天五夜不睡觉,我好像是突然一下子把劲儿都消耗光了,我就晕过去了,晕过去之后再醒来,几个小时以后再醒来,就觉得全身上下就像散架了一样。

记者:到零了?

诗诗:那个时候才感觉到是真的累了,会觉得自己之前好像不知道是在干些什么,大概是会有这样的一个过程。

记者:虽然我觉得比较有一丝一点的,是很多人他在躁狂期的时候,他的那个情绪是给他很多创造力,他可能觉得我现在是在世界的颠峰,世界特别的美好,我是什么事情都可以做,五天五夜不睡觉,你的情况虽然你的这种能量是非常高的,但是你整个情绪反而是负面的,是这样的我的理解?

诗诗:其实是这样的,我在住院之前,我的这个情绪怎么说呢?一是有点负面,二是有点那种疯癫,会导致我的行为有一些疯癫,看起来就是不太正常,但是我住院之后其实是有经过一些治疗,包括有一些用药什么的,那个时候反而我真的有感受到他们说的那种感觉,我那个时候也做了一些,我从来没有想过的尝试,那个时候染了整个一头的粉头发,非常的粉,很出挑的一个颜色,那个时候去购物,就是那种一买买三四万块钱的包,觉得是这样,就会觉得好开心,怎么这么开心,我一点事儿都没有,我现在完全好了。

诗诗:每当我这样子顶着粉头发,拎着包回到医院的时候,我的医生都会再给我加药,因为那个时候我不理解,我说我这么好,这么开心,为什么还要给我加药,后来我父亲才跟我说,医生当时就跟他说,她这个阶段是不正常的,这个阶段是在躁狂期,情绪是有一点异常的嗨,所以就要把它给降下来,因为我那个时候真的是觉得我的天啊太开心了,因为我那个时候其实每天都有写日记的习惯,前面总是写我好想死,我怎么还不死,就是类似这种,等到我真的,我后来有看那一段时间住院那段时间,每一天都是今天去了哪,好开心,就是几个感叹号,好开心,每一天都特别特别的开心。

记者:好。

诗诗:那一段是我后来有体会,我觉得确实是让我体会到双向嗨的时候是另外一种什么样的感觉。

记者:对,所以你在医院的时候,诊断是双向一还是二,其实双向目前大概有四个类别的区别,你有跟医生聊过吗?

诗诗:好像是双向一。

记者:我听见也像是双向一,因为我们(英文)也有这个互助小组,其实来到我们这儿双向的人还不少,也听过很多类似的一些故事,听起来就是双向一的情况。OK,那我们再总结一下,你其实首发应该是在大四?

诗诗:对。

记者:一直走了多年,其实给我的感觉是抑郁转双向,因为前两次其实是抑郁状,然后慢慢的转到双向,这个也是很多时候比较常见的,我这边了解到的比较常见的一个状态,这一段历程大概有多少年的时间,从首发一直到上一次双向的一个首发,也是最后一次对吧?

诗诗:对,大概是2014年到2018年吧,四年的时间。

记者:好的,这一块我想再来问几个问题,就是我们的这些倡导的活动,特别想帮助他们有双向情感障碍,抑郁人身边的这些亲朋好友知道我在当下应该怎么样去帮我身边这个人。

诗诗:我在抑郁或者是双向的时候,最不喜欢或者最不喜欢别人听到的一句话就是,大家常说的你看开点就好了,你想开点就好了,你想那么多干嘛啊,你根本就没事儿,就是想太多,他是在否定你现在的这个状态,会让你觉得更加的沮丧,就会让你觉得我这样果然是没有意义的,我做什么是有意义的,就会陷入更加深的一个漩涡当中。

诗诗:我觉得跟说千万不要去否定他们现在的这个状态,我当时是很感谢我那个时候的男朋友,他非常坚持的一直陪在我身边,虽然他知道没有办法做一些什么来帮助到我,真正帮助到我,但是他有做到一个最基本的陪伴,我觉得就是以这样的一种倾听者的姿态去靠近抑郁症患者,或者是双向情感障碍患者的时候,其实他们会更加觉得温暖的。

记者:对,我觉得这两点你提的特别好,一个就是我们首先要去肯定这个人当下所有的情绪,当我们肯定了之后我们的陪伴更多的是我在这里对吧,如果你有任何话的话,不管你觉得多么的不好意思,羞愧,但是你都可以跟我讲,所以其实更多的时候是希望我们的亲朋好友能够不是帮我们去解决掉任何的问题,更多的是作为一个承载体,像是一艘船一样,你就在那里,我如果需要上船的时候,我知道我可以往上踏一步。

诗诗:对,就是这个意思。