Mother I tried please believe me, I’m doing the best that I can.
I’m ashamed of the things I’ve been put through, I’m ashamed of the person I am.
Isolation, isolation, isolation.
But if you could just see the beauty, these things I could never describe,
These pleasures a wayward distraction, this is my one lucky prize.
Isolation, isolation, isolation, isolation, isolation. (Ian Curtis, Joy Division)
I’m not feeling depressed or particularly sad today, just isolated and angry. How many good people have I pushed away over the course of my life? I can’t even begin to count. Part of it was a fear, an overwhelming, paralyzing, bone deep fear.
What if I get to know you and like you and then you slam me down hard? Safer to stay at a distance. Even worse, what if you get to know me and like me and then I kick you to the curb one day when I’m out of my mind with agitation. I don’t know how or why I’ve lived like this for so long. I think another part of this comes from feeling like damaged goods. “I’m a loony toon; you better stay away from me for your own good.”
I know it’s ridiculous to feel this way, but that doesn’t help much. It’s like having a broken leg, you know it is broken but it still hurts like a bitch. Every time phone rings I almost jump out of my skin and think, “Oh God, what now? What loose string have I left untied? What did I do that I need to apologize for or explain?”
Regaining a semblance of sanity and balance is a good thing. But, when I look behind me and see the of destruction I wove while in and out of my mind, it’s like looking at a aerial footage of the path of a tornado.
Yea, yea, I didn’t do as much damage as a tornado, but not by much, at least that’s what it feels like. Would it have different if I had been diagnosed with bipolar years or decades ago? How can I know that? Would I have made different decisions? Chosen a different path for my life? Hiding behind the skirts of my wackier family members it was always so easy to wave a banner and say “See, I’m the normal one, taint nuthin wrong with me!”
Some part of me knew something was not right in my brain. I guess I just wasn’t ready to face it head on. Who is to say anything would be different? Maybe it would have been worse? Maybe I would have used mental illness as a crutch to excuse myself from inexcusable behavior.
Today I go to see my physio-key-atrist. I’m expecting it to go something like this. “OK, we’ve abated the crisis and stopped the bleeding, the hypomanic mixed states, but what now? Where do I go from here?” I don’t know how or what a normal stable state feels. I feel like a blindfolded painter expected to draw a landscape I’ve never seen. I just don’t know where or what to do next.