Sunday, October 6, 2013

What its like

I do not know why I wrote this. I do not know what the point of it is. I am not asking for sympathy or anything like that. Mostly this is an attempt to get some thoughts out of my head. If it helps you understand me a little, fine. If it helps you understand someone you know, great. But that is not what I wrote this for. It is a bit all over the place, a little bit ranty, and a little meandery. Any way, here is what I wrote.

You want to know what it is like? What it feels like to be me? To be mad? Think it is cool to be crazy? Somehow crazy makes you free, yeah? Let me tell you what it is like. What it is to be mad. I will start like this. I will ask a question, and then give the answer I believe to be true.

Have you ever had a bad day? Been sad, afraid, alone? Then something happens, you talk to a friend, or family, you see a funny TV show, took a breath. Then the bad started to fade, just a little. It became a bad memory instead of a bad day. And, in time, the memory faded as well. It became just a dim recollection in a sea of other memories. It is not as though it never happened, but mostly you just don't have to think about it. It is a tiny scar, long healed over. Is that how it is? Because that is how it seems to me when I look at human behavior.

I want you to remember a bad moment in your life. Not the worst. Not that, but a bad one. You know the one. Feels bad, yeah? Remember what it felt like when it was fresh. Now, imagine you did not have the numbness of distance to help deal with this memory. Imagine if the feelings were always fresh. Now, I want you to think of how many bad memories you have. Imagine if all of of those feelings were fresh and new. Every day, every hour, every moment, you can feel the sorrow, the panic, and the loneliness. Imagine that for me. That is who I am.

I can feel it all, always. I still feel the hurt from when I was five and my cousin told me I was a horrible ugly person and she hated me. I feel that right now like it was new. When my first girl friend dumped me, I feel that. When my Drill Instructor screamed at me, when my home loan was denied, when my best friends father died, when the love of my life married someone else, when my niece died, I remember it all. It is always in my my heart, this sorrow.

Every day I work incredibly hard to distract myself. I read constantly, watch countless hours of television and movies, and listen to music. All of this I do so that I can shut out my thoughts, shut out my feelings, if only for a moment. The second I stop it all comes rushing back, fresh and new. Every bad day is sitting there like a hungry coyote, liking its chops waiting for me to slow down. So I can't slow down, I must find the next distraction before I start to fall apart. This causes me to look at the world in short terms rather than long term. Short term world view leads to mistakes, more bad days. It builds. Like a vortex of anguish, building with each mistake, each accident.

Crazy is not fun. Crazy is not freeing or a release of normal social mores. It is not something you want. Mental illness is a trap you can't get out of. Your behaviors become erratic as you try to deal with a world that is rapidly spinning out of control. The more you try and deal with things, the worse they seem to get. Nothing makes sense and people start avoiding you. I get it, you know, the avoidance. When you have a chronic mental condition it gets tiring on the people around you. They ask, why can't you be happy, normal, or whatever? And its not like I don't understand, I ask myself that question all the damn time. I wish I could just wish myself normal. The worst of it is that we are conditioned by TV to see mental illness in a lot of ways that are just horrid for true understanding. Having a problem does not make you superhuman, nor is it fun, nor can it be solved in an hour.

I am lucky, sad to say. I am functional most days. I can deal, most days. I can take care of myself. Most days. There are bad days. Days when I can't. Days when I shut down. Days when I can do nothing but sit in my room and cry. But that is not every day. I have known people, friends even, who are not functional. I cannot tell their stories. I do not live in the world they live in. I can only tell my story. I don't even know if it makes sense.