I was reading another blog from a young girl with Bipolar and an alcohol addiction recently, (bipolardrunkchick.com) and she said something rather profound that I would like to share and expand upon.
She said “I struggle and there isn’t always a rainbow at the end and I want to share that with my audience”
There are two things here that I want to talk about. The first, which is the point of her post, is that while there is a lot of great information out there on Bipolar, it is still a widely misinterpreted disease. Many people have asked me, and I’m sure many more have not, why I wanted to do this blog, why I wanted to say the things I’ve said, and why I would want to open up so publicly. I simply wanted there to be more information out there. I wanted to provide a commentary track on the life of someone with Bipolar.
The sad part is that I have caught a lot of flack; although I’ve caught more support. I have caught a lot of guff from the way I talk about my relationships. And while it hasn’t been pretty always, and often ill-conceived, and usually unnecessarily hurtful and regretful, it was always how I honestly thought and felt not only in that moment of writing it, but also when I put it through revisions and when I posted it. The truth is, those thoughts are my own. And my disease, my sensibilities, my vantage point, all play into those thoughts. That is why I write them, because it helps me to expose corners of my life, and maybe help others, and myself, understand how I work.
The second thing is the bit about the rainbows. Her life, my life, your life, will not always turn up rainbows. That’s life. And I think that people with mental illness, myself most assuredly included, often get caught up in the idea that their life is unnecessarily difficult.
And that is not the case.
The problem is that there are a million people telling you that you are really suffering so you start to believe it. Your doctor lists off a dozen diseases you have and need to be medicated for. Your therapist tells you that you need to constantly work on the myriad of things wrong with your life. You sit in group therapy where everyone focuses on everyone else’s sob story. You have friends and family that commiserate with you and tell you what an awful thing it is that you are going through. You have online entities and advertising campaigns trying to improve recognition of the disease by comparing it to really terrible diseases. Every place you go to in your life to get support for the disease makes you feel like you survived D-Day because you managed not to hang yourself today.
Frankly, I find it all kind of silly. Yes, it is a dangerous and misunderstood disease; mostly because it is a factor in a lot of suicides. Yes, I think it is very important that people are more aware of the disease and that the stigma goes away so more people who are suffering from it will get the help they need. Yes, I think that some of the darkest days are extremely difficult to get through, and that they are harder than most people understand. But none of that makes you a hero for living with this disease.
Trying to stay in perspective is an extremely difficult thing. It is something that only occurs to me rarely. And when the disease is in full force, it is nearly impossible. But it is extremely important. Not only for a reality check, but because it will probably make you feel better. No, your life is not always going to have a rainbow at the end, but no one’s does. We are not the only people who suffer. In fact, we are not the only people who suffer with being down or being up.
We do not have a monopoly on suffering.
That is probably not a conclusion I could’ve come to when I started this blog. So all the tongue lashing and negative vibes got me somewhere I guess.