When I was a kid I was a trouble maker. I would lash out against my family, especially my sister and my father, in uncontrolled and violent ways. This was a pretty common occurrence at the Comer household, and it almost always resulted in the same thing: me, sitting in my room, no access to TV or video games, being forced to think about what I did and what it meant to be punished for it.

I always seemed to come to the same conclusion: that my family was against me, that they refused to listen to my concerns or wants, and that I could not trust them.


From as early as I can remember I wanted a beard.

I wear one now and have pretty consistently for a couple years, pretty much since the day I got married. I’ve only been able to grow one for maybe two years before that, it took forever for my right cheek to fill in.

Before my beard I wore a goatee since I could start growing one, maybe even before I should’ve really worn one, between the ages of 15 and 16. People always thoughts it looked cool. I always felt cool with it, and now I refuse to be without it.

Bipolar Thoughts

One of the hardest things to grasp when you are living with a mental illness is exactly how normal you are.

Sometimes, you feel pretty normal. And your ability to hide it from most everyone you meet and know proves to you that you aren’t far off the mark. But then a doctor uses a word like “moderate” or “extreme” while talking to you and you flip out a little. Or you find a survey online and realize you are checking “yes” next to more boxes than you would like and you start to get scared.

You know you aren’t normal. It might have taken you decades to realize just that first fact: the things you do and feel aren’t the norm. But are you bat-shit crazy?

You come off your meds just to try it out and within a week you are staying up all night reading intricate detail about the history of turkey farming in the U.K. Maybe you are a little more messed up then you realized.

You want to be normal. I’m sure every bipolar mother has worried herself sick about taking her drugs while pregnant, or breastfeeding. I’m sure every bipolar father has worried about passing on “the bad gene” to his child. You want to be normal for your kids, but you aren’t.

You want to be normal. I’m sure every bipolar person laments being a little puzzle for a shrink to figure out. I’m sure they all regret cutting themselves or taking those pills or attempting just that once as they recount their history to a new doctor. You want to be normal in front of your doctors, but you aren’t.

You want to be normal. I’m sure every bipolar person has questioned whether or not they can make it work. Can they make a life out of what has been given to them? Will they not just survive but thrive? Will they even survive? You want to be normal for your future, but you aren’t.

You want to be normal. I’m sure every bipolar person has had déjà vu or heard a stray thought eek by and wonder if their psychosis is back. I’m sure every bipolar person is scared they haven’t yet seen their darkest day. You want to be normal for yourself, but you aren’t.

Some people refer to the mentally ill as mentally imaginative. I like that idea. Maybe what we lack in “normalcy” we make up for in other ways.

Maybe we aren’t normal and never will be, but maybe that isn’t just okay, maybe it is great.