“I think about the meaning of pain. Pain is personal. It really belongs to the one feeling it. Probably the only thing that is your own. I like mine.”
― Henry Rollins
I’ve been pretty open in my admission that I am, in fact, insane. Bat shit. Loopy. Not right in the head.
I usually do this in a way that makes every person I know completely uncomfortable. Most of them try to argue with me (“No sweetheart, you’re just fine! Perfect the way you are!” While secretly rolling their eyes, or quietly questioning what exactly “crazy” really means).
Some people try to console me – Like somehow madness..insanity is something to be terribly ashamed of. The things that happen when I am unmedicated are another story…But the insanity itself? Some of the most amazing creations in the world are the product of madness.
Thus is just how I was made. I see no reason to shy away from the reality, or make any attempt to cover it up as if it’s some kind of dirty little secret. It’s not. It’s a disease. A disease I get to live with every day, and honestly, it’s one that makes other people way more uncomfortable than it makes me.
I didn’t choose to be this way. I came out of the box like this – Believe me. If I could have lived my life without a debilitating medical condition that is widely sensationalized and often completely misunderstood – I would have chosen to go that way. But I didn’t get that choice. I get to live my life with a condition that is biological, yet manifests itself as almost purely mental, that most people I’ve met truly don’t understand.
This goes for the Bi-Polar (I’ll write about the Aspbergers at a different time).
I get to live with the fact that I don’t work like other people. I also get to live with the fact that people say they understand this as fact, and when it comes down to it…clearly they not only don’t and never really can. Experiences are all about perspective, and until you have the experience of having a major episode where you spend something like 2k on things you really can’t even account for, or you stay up for 4 days straight and wind up in a van with a bunch of musicians on their way to Pittsburgh…you can’t understand on that level. You can observe. You have have your own experiences with it. You just can’t understand.
I don’t know how to communicate with people. I’m as blunt as a tack hammer, and underneath that, i’m deeply sensitive…or as a friend once told me, a “pushover”.
In terms of acceptance, the world at large has come a long way in terms of understanding and accommodating for mental illness and disability as a whole. When I was diagnosed in 2001, It was still in many ways something you just didn’t discuss. There were definitely certain people you didn’t tell. You might write about it in a book, but you were still taking a pretty big chance at getting judged.
A good amount of those walls have been demolished. But the media portrayal of people with Bi-polar, while it has increased, is still centered around sensationalizing things to a large degree, and doesn’t really deal with the day to day.
I’ve had exactly three major Bi-Polar episodes in my entire life. I’m 29.
This is treatable. Nothing will ever make it go away. I get to wrestle with this demon for the rest of my life, but they can do things which help (or hide, depending on the day and how much I’m missing the creative bursts that have come to define my mania.)
The only drug that works for me is Lithium. I’ve tried just about every other drug on that market for Bi-Polar, and none of it works as well as Lithium does. I take an anti-depressant and something for anxiety. I likely will have to for the rest of my life.
It seems so simple, A few milligrams of salt is what is standing between me and the edge of a cliff of complete madness…But when you live with it every day, the pills feel somewhere between a life line and a leash.
In most diseases, at some point, you feel pain.
Trust me…after the first time you destroy friendships, and relationships…break trust, spend money you don’t have and turn into someone people don’t recognize – and feel the judgement that comes with that – you understand pain.
When it happens again, you understand humiliation.
And if it happens a third time, you understand what it is to truly feel shame.
There are people in my life that I deeply hurt during my last episode. People who were my friends. People who were nothing but kind to me. These people are now, and have been waging a very public war against me. Granted, it’s in a video game universe, but when you play with people for over a year, a community forms. You for a bond. Friendships.
In the past few months, I’ve had my guild all but destroyed (and believe me…this will be re-built). I’ve been called a liar, a manipulator, and a whore. I’ve had rumors circulate about me ranging from things based in truth – to things stating openly that I am a prostitute. From people I, at one time, would have considered friends.
It has been a painful few months.
One lovely gentleman even decided to call a personal number and let one of my family members know that I was a whore, a liar, and a terrible human being.
I own my mistakes. I have worked to re-build the friendships that were salvageable. Some people, have just outright stopped talking to me. Like just being seen with me is somehow poison.
This damage all happened during a time that (for a medical reason) I was unable to take my pills.
If I had an illness that caused me deep and unending physical pain, they would treat that. I know, because I have been in that seat..still am. But because this is a biological disease, with almost entirely psychological and behavioral symptoms – in most peoples eyes…this is just who I am.
They aren’t wrong. I have had my moments being all of those things…But I am also a kind person. I am a good friend. I am a good person.
The pain I have experienced as a result of being Bat Shit insane will not cripple me. Neither will any of these people. There is a difference between doing mean things because you are a wounded animal acting out of pain and desperation and doing them because you are, well, just a mean person.
The sun is setting on the days where I will allow people to treat me this way too.
I’m Bi Polar. I make really terrible decisions sometimes. They hurt people. I’m human. I’m done hiding it. I’m done being ashamed of it. And I will never let anyone use that against me again.
It is my pain. It hurts more that anyone will ever know, because at the end of the day, I’m the one who has to live with it. But it is MINE. Truly mine. From this day forward, I feel terribly sorry for anyone who tries to hurt me with it.