mixed state

manic and superhuman where night meets morning

2 sleeping pills and 3 shots of whiskey, 4 shots, 5

how come you’re not getting tired? it’s so late.

you don’t even weigh 120 lbs… you can’t handle that much to drink even without the benedryl. you should be on the floor right now.

where does all this energy come from?

2 hours pass. you smoke a bowl. and another. and another. you don’t feel fucked up, though. in fact, you feel completely sober.
you feel superhuman.
you feel like substances don’t affect you like they affect other people.
like nothing can touch you.
like you’ll never be tired again.

you look for something on the internet to make you tired. you try watching a television show about cooking, but it turns out you hate television shows.

an empty bag of chips lies across your feet, at the foot of your bed. you have been meaning to throw it away for about 3 days. it hasn’t fallen off as you’ve slept. you’ve been too fucked up on drugs and alcohol to move much in your sleep.

you get up to throw away the bag and suddenly notice the garbage that has been accumulating. you haven’t vacuumed your room in a month. you have been having a hard time breathing in part because of the dust and moldy dishes. you start to clean. sweep, straighten, sort. wash dishes. organize. gather 2 bags of trash. realize you’re being quite loud for 3am. try to crawl back into bed, but feel jittery, pressured to move, or play some fast game, or dance, or talk and laugh and joke. but you’re alone. get back out of bed and throw away math homework from august.

realize slowly that it’s december. and 4am. 5am. sun is coming up. you can barely think, but you know that you can do things nobody else can. you know you can drink more than anyone your size. it’s 5am and you find the beer you left in the kitchen and forgot about. you should really go to sleep, but fuck it! you’re alive. & the beer isn’t going to drink itself!

you go back to sorting. you aren’t even mildly tired. you sort through papers, and find a letter you’d forgotten. you received it one day when you felt like shit, and shoved the letter into some papers. you are so excited. you are overwhelmed with emotion. what a good friend, to mail you the card! what a shitty friend you are, to forget to write back! you brush away tears and jump up, inspired to redeem yourself. you couldn’t be more awake. you leap onto your bed and root around next to it, looking for a pen. aha! the good pen. but your bed feels comfortable. you rest your head for a moment and find you are nodding off. you sweep the pens off your bed with the back of your hand, and they clatter to the floor.

turn off the light.

fall asleep instantly.

you will sleep for five hours and wake up wanting to hit the gym. or you will sleep for 11 hours and wake up crying, for no reason, and stagger to the bathroom to stare at the mirror. you will not dream at all, because the drugs depress the creative and beautiful parts of yourself. or you will dream of fantastical, magical forestscapes, where your childhood friend tends potato gardens at the watering hole. or you will enter a dreamworld where you are raped for hours in a diner while waitresses walk past you carrying plates of eggs and buttered toast. you will have no idea until it happens.

you will have no idea if you can tackle tomorrow until tomorrow happens.

until then, you are finally asleep. and you will sleep, even though you are super-human.

disclosure, shame, and stigma

who knows you’re mad, if you see yourself as mad?

or, if it’s helpful for you to think of yourself as sick, how many people in your life know you are sick?

i have been thinking about disclosure and stigma.

i think of myself as a person who actively tries to fight against stigma re: mental health issues, and i am trying to learn a radical mental health perspective so i can be kinder to myself, and yet i totally rarely disclose my issues to people who they may seriously affect when those people are connected to me professionally. i thought about this a lot recently, and then i couldn’t stop thinking about polarized: life from both sides entry about “the differences between secrets and lies”.

this person, like me, feels like being out as bipolar would negatively impact peoples’ opinions of our abilities.

in that sense, i think that shame is a much larger part of my life than i tend to think it is. i think in some ways, some people like us are controlled by shame.

i realized i am completely terrified of coming out of the closet about most of my issues to the people it affects the most. it isn’t politically correct to hate gay people, but it’s expected that people will exclude “crazy people” from their inner circles of friendship. i can say i’ve dated different genders before with no hesitation, and yet i’m terrified to come out as a nutcase to people i don’t know well, people i know professionally, and yes – even friends.

at what point do you tell the person you’re sweet on about your issues?
do you wait for them to like you for who you are, and then hope they don’t run once you both like each other? at what point is it a blatant lie to omit this information? how many dates can you have before you mention just how different it is to know you long-term?
“i seem eccentric but otherwise pretty normal on our dates, right? haha fooled you! because as soon as you leave my house, i cry for hours/talk to voices/throw up/cut myself/get wasted/sleep for two days/freak out completely/get sad for a week.”

is it ethical to withhold that information from a potential housemate, a potential employer, a new friend, a drinking buddy, or a new lover?

what if you know for a fact that someone doesn’t respect a radical perspective on mental health, and you know that they would try to encourage you to ruin your life with electro-shock, or toxic medications, if you’re a person who chooses to live without them? what if you know they will lose respect for you, or begin to walk on eggshells around you, or break up with you, or fire you? or just treat you a little differently from then on, like all of a sudden they pity you?

on the other hand, as adults, we have the luxury of autonomy in many parts of our lives. will stigma ever lift if nobody’s “out of the closet” about our experiences? how will people know to treat me with kindness if they do not know about my abusive childhood? perhaps, paradoxically, ‘normal’ people are -less- inclined to write off my behaviors as ‘crazy’ if they know not to take them personally. maybe it would give people empathy and perspective. perhaps coming out would fling open a door to a community of others like me.
…or perhaps it would leave me even lonelier, cut off from “normal people”… whose world i don’t fit into, anyhow.

mad pride is such an incredible movement. i would like to think that i am working towards a point where i can feel proud of myself as a creative, resourceful, wild, compassionate, rad, somewhat not-the-stupidest, messy and magickal little moodmonster and not feel like a gigantic fucking mess, like a person imprisoned by a broken mind. like it could be okay to be a little sadlet sadding along some days because i am not my sadness – i am a writer, i am a body, i am a cooker of foods and a brightener of days. and i should be proud of who i am – mental health hiccups and all – and you should, too.

because, overall, you are pretty fucking amazing.

so, what about you? are you “out” to everyone? what do you think about stigma and disclosure?

a culture of fakeness

a person who puts on a happy face in front of company? that’s fake. that person is being inauthentic. yet the person who’s asked “happy birthday, how are you?” and responds, “i have been obsessed with the fact that, turning 30, my first suicide attempt was 17 years ago” is not going to be the most popular person at the party.

our culture demands we be fake.

anything real is scorned.

we love artificial! we love unnatural!

women are not hairless, yet the reality of women having hair disgusts us. we demand that women shave, tweeze, wax. we demand this fantasy, this collective delusion.

men do not exist in a vacuum without emotion, yet they are expected to bottle everything up, and put on a drag act of masculinity. that’s what’s expected. we demand the fantasy of the their unassailable strength.

every part of our culture rewards bullshitting. how many women would sleep with a man who approached them and said, “please have sex with me”? even women like me who are aware that it is a game are turned off by this unwillingness to follow absurd and manipulative social convention.

“rudeness” is often someone being honest or real in a socially unacceptable way.

when someone asks you how you are, your culture forbids you from honesty. you’re not supposed to say, “i am worried about my parents’ mortality.” you are not supposed to say, “i feel i haven’t accomplished enough by age 30.” you’re not supposed to say, “youth is currency and i’m growing poor.” & you’re definitely not supposed to say, “i’m extremely alone, i have no community, i think my sadness is actually a deep mental illness that is spiraling out of my control and i have nowhere to turn, i have alienated nearly every one of my friends, and i’m constantly contemplating whether or not my consciousness has a right to life.”

so i didn’t say, “i am so depressed. i want a hug.”

i said, hi. i said, how are you doing. i said, you look great.

i said, thank you for coming to my 30th birthday party.

ha-ppy bir-thday to me.