Friday, March 6, 2009

Stepping Out of the Ring (Originally published on 2.11.09)

So, a few months ago I wrote a blog about a friend that I thought had betrayed me and used me. Looking back I now understand that my reaction was a bit…exaggerated. It was necessary to react but I could have done it far more logically. But, this was at the time when my meds hadn’t kicked in and my brain was malfunctioning in the worst way. I had warned her before she came out here that my behavior would be completely erratic and I would be extremely difficult to be around. She assured me that it would be fine.

It wasn’t.

I understand how hard it is to be around someone that has a mental disorder. I was raised by a woman that has more than one. I remember being so frustrated with the fact that she couldn’t seem to comprehend the simplest things. She dealt with a lot of things by creating her own reality; “remembering” things that had never happened, blaming everyone around her for the situations she put herself in. She has yet to resurface to what is considered “the real world”. I’m not sure she will ever be able to and I now understand that I have to accept that. I can’t blame her for her actions as she really isn’t aware of the hurt they cause. She’s just not here anymore. I think at times she has visited reality but she could never accept responsibility for what she did consciously to hurt people so she’d allow herself to get pulled under once more.

Back to the friend I freaked the fuck out on. After I pretty much exploded, our friendship unwound and become threadbare. I felt betrayed because even though she promised she could deal with my disorder, she couldn’t and it seemed that she didn’t even try. Another part of me was disgusted with myself for blaming the disorder for my actions. I wanted to take full responsibility for them. But, as hard as this is for me to type, I can’t take responsibility for things I can not control. I also can’t be mad at people that don’t understand why I react the way I do. All my warnings and explanations can’t really prepare someone for what could happen.

We’re beginning to reform our friendship and for that I am extremely grateful. She’s seen me through a lot of hard times in my life and is the oldest friend I have. We had lunch today and we talked about what happened some more and it sucked because she said something that I really didn’t know how to respond to. She said it wasn’t fair that she had to change her actions and demeanor because of my mind frame. I was silent for a bit and reluctantly said “I warned you and because of that, you should have.” Saying that was incredibly hard for me. I don’t want to be treated any different but the fact is I don’t think the same way others do. Now that I’m stable, people don’t have to tip toe around me anymore but when I was at my lowest, unfortunately people did. If someone is unable to walk would you huff at the fact that it takes them forever to get some where?

This is the hardest part about being bipolar; getting other people to understand that it’s real. I still struggle with it. Like Girl said in one of her comments, if what we had was physical and were on medication for it, people wouldn’t bat an eye at our erratic behavior because they can physically see that we are in pain. But because it’s mental and because we can still some what function in the “real world”, people think it’s an excuse. But why would anyone want to react the way we do? Why would anyone want to break down in public and lose reality? Who would want their friends to think they’re flaky and overly dramatic or exhausting to be around? Why would they want to be belittled their entire life for reacting in extreme ways? I think that because of our conversation I can stop blaming myself for things I did while manic. I can stop beating myself up for things that I said, things that I did because… I couldn’t control it.

Holy fuck this is hard to type.

I apologized to her for 2 reasons. I apologized because had it happened now, I wouldn’t have reacted like that. I apologized because she had to go through that. BUT I can not apologize for what my reaction was then because it wasn’t under my control. I can look back and understand that I did overreact. I can acknowledge my actions now because I am stable and I think that’s what separates me from my mother. I don’t pretend it didn’t happen, I own up to the fact that my actions were fucked up. But I now understand that when I say I am taking responsibility it means I am not blaming myself, I am not copping out and using my disorder as a scapegoat, I’m not making excuses; I am acknowledging what happened, but understanding that at the time I did not have the capability to react rationally. She considered this and said that she should have been more aware of it.

I know that some people will read this and roll their eyes because they don’t believe in mental disorders or whatever. I have to let go of the anger it provokes in me because everyone is entitled to their own opinion. The only opinion that should matter to me is my own. And right now, my belief is - sometimes I honestly do not have control over my brain. Admitting that to myself and typing it scares the shit out of me but it’s true and if people disagree with that I can’t let it affect me.

I always say “It could always be worse”. And it could but I shouldn’t feel guilty for being in pain. I shouldn’t mentally beat the shit out of myself because what some people consider trivial really hurts me. I shouldn’t feel guilty for being Bipolar. And I’m going to try my damnedest to stop because I can’t carry what isn’t mine. I'm not going to beat myself up anymore. The bell rung, I'm dropping the gloves and stepping out of the ring. You can't fight yourself because you'll spend most of your life fighting for the right to be who you really are and you'll need all the strength you have to win that battle.

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