Reflection from June 24th, 2012 @ Age 31
RE: LEARNING HOW TO UNTANGLE PSYCHOLOGICAL THOUGHT WEBS CREATED BY OTHERS—WHICH, AS IT HAPPENS, CURES SERIOUS MENTAL ILLNESS.
Sometimes it seems I am the only one in this entire universe who has any type of difficulty dealing with the past. I’m not sure whether this has anything to do with my hypersensitivity or not, but I suspect that perhaps, it’s not entirely unrelated.
For as long as I can remember, I have had, what seems, an abnormal amount of trouble forming and maintaining relationships with other human beings. Again, not sure if it has much to do with an ever oscillating mind, an ever exaggerated mood, but I’d be willing to bet there is at least some fraction of a correlation. But I can’t tell for sure. I think that is perhaps, the most horrific circumstance of all though; sensing something is the matter, knowing at the very least that something is wrong, but then also realizing that whatever it is, it is invisible.
Whatever this beast is, it cannot be felt or held, it can’t be touched; it cannot be measured, it can’t be proved, it can’t be seen or shown or heard. Not scientifically in any case, and it seems most often, that’s the part that truly matters. It’s what matters to most anyone else, who would be willing to believe that it’s not “just me.” That it’s not just me, that there is something fundamentally wrong with.
I am bipolar—sometimes I wear my label a badge of honor. Most times I hide it, a shield from pain. And ridicule. I must hide my struggles, because it is the only way I will not be crucified it seems. For in this society, the mere mention of my affliction is sufficient justification to cast one away into the band of “troublesome.” I cannot tell you what this feels like—I cannot describe to you how it makes me feel, to receive no honor, no badge to wear proudly, that I have struggled and overcome—to show I am a survivor.
I was asked, in one form or another, to write down my journey from diagnosis to recovery—but I do not believe this goal can be accomplished fully, with the full credit and respect with which my illness deserves, in one little article. But in any case, it is a start—an opportunity for which I am nevertheless, most grateful. For I have been given, perhaps too found—but in any case, happened upon—a forum into which I may give voice to this myriad of struggle, this heralding fight I wage, all the while knowing that this is a fight that can never fully be won. This is a fight that is never going away.
I am a victim of mental illness, and that is a fact that I cannot separate myself from. It is cruel and it is unfair, but mostly—it just is what it is. I must live with it, the instability of my own mind, for my only release from it will come from death—surely something those without, will never truly have the capacity to understand. I will expand here though, in the short time I have left in this article, as it seems this is where many writers often trail off. They describe a darkness, this storm cloud’s arrival and overthrow, but too many times, very much little more. Finding a beginning point seems such an unbearable task at times, but as I’ve stumbled upon this opportunity, I suppose most anywhere will suffice.
For as long as I can remember, I have feared the bottom dropping out. I suppose this means, for the most part, that when all circumstance violently surrounds me, swirling in fits of madness, the only stability I have left will too also escape me.
Now I’ve accomplished some pretty heralding challenges in my life—getting accepted and graduating from college, same thing for law school, working to pass the Ohio bar exam. Managing through the death of a peer, a relationship spoiled long before in youthful madness, a first love never to be had again. But nothing, I can tell you for sure, that nothing has ever even come close, to the disgusting challenge life placed upon me to live birth to death—with the almost indescribable struggle of an oscillating mind.
I don’t know if there’s anything much worse than learning to cope with a debilitating illness that is both ignored and at the same time ridiculed—denied the respect with which it deserves. So too, is any recognition for my efforts—though without effort to overcome, I will fall victim to its prey.
Now I understand this may sound overdramatic, so I will give you one short instance from which you might begin to draw some opinion of your own:
I have a husband, to whom I am married, who not long ago threatened to leave me if I did not get my illness under control. This illness, mind you, is one he hardly seems to recognize; I think most times, he acknowledges the struggle only when it affects him. Changes to medications, life circumstances that throw me off, whatever the reason though—it does affect him as well. I am beginning to realize though, that it has affected all of my relationships with people—which is perhaps the reason why I loathe them as a generality. Cruel, unforgiving people who refuse to recognize—but instead, only judge and ridicule.
I don’t know that my efforts, to which I have no choice but succumb, will ever be treated with the respect that they deserve. All I know is that I must trudge on through anything, always fearing the bottom dropping out once more.