Wait, Don’t Shut Up

My last post (which I have now deleted because I didn’t like the tone) was, well, an angry post. You see, I’ve been on the part of my own mental health roller coaster when I start to feel, quite tangibly, crazy. This comes after a prolonged period of feeling “on a high,” or hypomanic in bi-polar II parlance. I know the crash is coming, but I can’t stop it. I even know the behavior that leads up to it. But I can’t stop it. This might be the most frustrating thing of all: to watch your own self-destruction without being able to stop the self part of the equation. Or the destruction part.

So here I am. I’m angry. I’m not angry at anyone or anything other than everyone and everything. That’s all. If the entire world would just leave me alone, I’d be much nicer to everyone. If the breeze would be a little stronger when I’m hot or if the person in front of me would drive 64 instead of 62, maybe I wouldn’t want to Google “how to build a hand grenade” (okay, lots of hand grenades). I hate feeling this angry as much as you hate feeling constipated with only a 9-year-old port-a-potty available to crap in. But alas, it’s how I have felt for much of the past few weeks, and I pity the people who have experienced my over-reactions.

So in an effort to balance the karmic effect of my words, I’d like to offer the counter-post to my previous post…I’d like to say thank you to the people who stick by me, who stick by “us”, as we navigate our impossible ups and downs while we battle our brains to the death.

So thank you to our families who DON’T understand but who try their best to learn how to understand. Thank you for asking questions, for gently telling us to calm down, for giving us space to kick and scream like toddlers, for going with us to the doctor or hospital, for defending us to the extended family who thinks what we need is to be kicked out of the house, for forgiving us…AGAIN. Thank you for going to therapy with us, for going to therapy without us while you try to stay sane because of us, for reminding us to take our meds, and for answering the phone after you’ve already gone to bed because you know we really need to hear your voice. Thank you for modeling what love really is: an action, not a feeling.

And thank you to our friends who don’t run away when the friendship quits being as fun as it used to be. Thank you for talking things through when we hurt your feelings, again. Or when we get our feelings hurt, again. Thank you for seeing our worst and still not unfriending us on Facebook, or in real life. Thank you for letting us rehash the same struggles over and over and over and over. It’s perfectly fine if you’re thinking about where you should vacation next summer…thanks for smiling and nodding because sometimes we just need to feel heard or we just need to hash it all out again, trying to solve the unsolvable puzzle that is mental illness.

And thank you to our kids who are too young to understand but still try to grasp the concept of “Daddy’s brain hurting” without flipping out. Thank you for forgiving us for the thousandth time when we speak to you a bit more harshly than your behavior deserved. Thank you for still wanting to hang out with us (assuming you’re not teenagers) even though we don’t have nearly enough emotional energy for your non-stop needs and wants. We want to hang out with you, too, I promise. It’s just that the head-demons make it a little more trying than we might like it to be. But we love you more than anything. Absolutely ANYTHING.

I’m not going to whine, but being mentally ill is really hard. The more friends I make with mental illnesses, the more I realize that we all struggle so similarly, even with different diagnoses. Basically, we’re at war with our own operating system. The very thing that’s telling us how we should react is keeping us from reacting that way. We see it, we feel it, and we can’t change it no matter how hard we try. But friends, family, all of you: We are trying. We adore you for putting up with us. We promise to keep trying. Please keep sticking with us. We love you more than we know how to say.
 
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