I have always been annoyed by people who talk a lot about their feelings on the internet, basically deriding them as whiny. And I think a lot of that is just me being an asshole. I’ve decided recently that it’s actually really selfish of me to keep all my negative feelings to myself. I spent the majority of the last 10 years feeling miserable and pretending I felt great. If you read my post from last year, you know I’ve dealt with an eating disorder. I’m also bipolar and that’s really affected me for half my life. I’ve been great at pretending to be happy in public and going home as soon as I couldn’t keep it up anymore and then lying alone in my room wanting to die and thinking about how confusing it would be for everyone if I killed myself that night after how incredibly pleasant I’d been that day. Thank God you can’t die from lying on the ground and willing your heart to stop or I’d be dead a thousand times over. Thank God I can’t really rip myself open and fly into the sky in a million pieces because being in my body is so incredibly painful. Because you know, I’d be dead and stuff.
I think you can expect to hear some crap from me from now on about having a heart or whatever bullshit. I have been told not to tell people I’m bipolar, or else it will become my defining characteristic in their minds. But I know being bipolar is so isolating and confusing and if you’re going through it too, I can’t let you think you’re alone. I have a responsibility to you and I care about you. So I’ll start with a few of my Very Important thoughts about mental illness.
1) Mental illness isn’t cool (this is a shoutout to all my hataz!). I’m not saying I’m bipolar so that you guys think I’m sooo interesting and deep (although of course I am). I’m saying it because it’s real for me and it’s real for a lot of people. People aren’t pretending to have mental illnesses because it’s the new hip thang. If you don’t understand depressed people because you’ve never felt that way, that’s fucking great and I’m happy for you. But just because you can’t understand it doesn’t mean it isn’t real.
2) Mental illness isn’t beautiful (this is a shoutout to all my gurls! and my boyz!). You will be just as smart and talented if you get treatment for your depression. Life is not more beautiful and deep because you’re lying on your floor and crying dramatically. (I also do this. I’m just saying it’s not beautiful.)
3) Suicide is not beautiful. I have a really big REALLY BIG problem with the glamorization of suicide. There’s a weird fetishization of death sometimes in our culture and you have pretty girls looking beautiful and saying they want to kill themselves and it seems like a beautiful, dramatic thing that leaves a gorgeous corpse. Your mom walking in on your dead fucking body isn’t beautiful. There’s nothing beautiful about your brains on the wall or the fucked-up bloated corpse in a casket that they’ve put an inch of makeup on to try to make look lifelike. You don’t look like you’re sleeping, you look like you’re fucking dead. I’ll never unsee my 14-year-old friend lying dead in his casket. There is nothing beautiful about it. It’s not glamorous. It’s horrible.
4) You are not your mental illness. I will write more about this another time, but one of the hardest things for me is that every time I enter a depressive episode I feel that the real me has come back. That happy me is just pretend, and I can’t escape who I really am. She’ll always get me. But I am not depression. I’m not. I was born a person capable of love and passion and excitement and that’s who I really am. I still haven’t exactly figured out my relationship to being bipolar - what is me and what is the disease - and it’s incredibly complicated, but I do know that I am not depression. Depression is just a thing that happens to me.
I don’t have all the answers. My bipolar is very well managed by regular visits with my psychiatrist and 250 milligrams of Lamictal a day. But that won’t last forever - pretty much nobody finds a medication that just works for them for the rest of their life. And if I’m prepared for shit getting fucked up again, I’ll do better when it happens. But I do know
You are not alone.
You can get better.
Getting better is worthwhile.
You are important and needed. My life is worse without Lucius. It’s worse without Dr. Estabrook. It’s worse without my stepmom Angie. It’s worse without Nathan. You’re important. I need you.