A reader writes:
Been reading your blog, sociopaths have a pretty interesting take on life. I noticed you did interviews with empaths and some people with mental disorders. I used the search function and couldn't find your take on manic depressives/bipolar people. I myself am manic depressive and although it seems completely counter intuitive it feels like there are some similarities with things sociopaths go through (or at least I think there are similarities, I could be way off base). For example, at certain times I have the ability to completely shut off and my emotions and either feel nothing or next to nothing. My husband finds this troubling when after an argument and he's bawling his eyes out and I just stare at him blankly. This also occurs when I'm severely depressed, but when I reach those stages I don't feel pain anymore, it's just being completely numb, lacking energy or any motivation. Nothing seems worth the effort and it's not because I feel sorry for myself, there's no rationalizing it, complete and utter apathy. This usually occurs in a cycle, like a sin curve (my emotional states that is).
Then comes the idea of masks, I think you may have touched on it but my memory is spotty. When I am manic I can play any role, playing with people, mind games and the such is incredibly appealing. When I am near depression but not all the way there as I've mentioned below I've developed the ability to completely hide myself from others. I can be out getting ice cream with my daughter while we're sitting across from each other at a picnic table look straight into her eyes and smile while wishing for a hot bath with razor blades. I suppose in my eyes (again I could be wrong) it's that we're achieving the same ends in this case, although our motivations are completely different, or maybe not.
Of course when I'm near 0 on a sin curve, I'll call that "normal" I function more or less like your average person should. (cont.)