I am aware that more often than not my tone on this blog comes off as whiny and woe-is-me like. I suppose that is what happens when you try to relate every aspect you can think of, of a disease that is mostly a negative part of your life.
I have mentioned before how I have been blessed to have had such willing and loving family to help me through my parent’s divorce, and support me through high school and college. And I really don’t think I can ever really express the level of gratitude I have for those people and things they did.
It is an interesting question to ask yourself about whatever ailment you might have, whether it be something major like diabetes or something on a smaller scale like being a slow reader, to find out if you would really rather not have that thing.
I think that we like to be affected by things like this, I really do.
I think that it does two things simultaneously: it makes you special, and it makes you part of a niche community. And I think those things are important to people.
Just look at how often we put ourselves into those settings. We get into cooking or sports or running or whatever it is. We enjoy standing out in our circle, but also fitting into a more exclusive one.
A lot of it has to do with how we define ourselves. I am the things I like, or I am the things I have, or I am the things I can do, or I am the things I think, or I am the things that strengthen me, or I am the things that weaken me.
No one ever says “I like to run”, they say “I am a runner”. Follow me?
Now, it might be going a little far to directly compare a fun activity to a decimating disease, well, more than a little far. But similar principals are still there. The reason support groups and conventions and events take place is to give the people suffering a sense of community. And it works, those things are incredibly successful.
No, I don’t want cancer. But if I had it and beat it, I would have plenty of clothing with some kind of acknowledgment of my situation plastered all over it, probably a tattoo of some kind, and maybe my own website where I drone on about how terrible my life was five times a week (oh… wait). Do you see what I am getting at? I would want to celebrate the fact that I was different, and I would also want to find others that had gone through similar things and hear their stories.
I don’t enjoy the fact that I have been hospitalized following multiple suicide attempts, or that I have to stay in bed for days with depression. But at the same time I know that it gives me a unique perspective on life, that it puts me in a position to be interesting on some level. And I spend far too much time scouring the internet for confessionals of other people like me. I watch dozens of youtube videos that are video diaries of bipolars or depressed people. I find it fascinating. And I find it exciting that I fit in with these people I am seeking out.
I would never say that I am thankful that I am bipolar. But since I happen to be bipolar, I think I should get all I can out of it.