Have you ever been talking to someone or a group of someones and there is a topic of obvious interest but nobody wants to bring it up?
- George got fired
- The Smiths are getting divorced
- there is a really big booger on your nose
- did you see Lizzie? She is butt naked and running with the scissors – again and look! There go her kids behind her!
Ok you get the idea. It is something that everybody is aware of but nobody wants to talk about.
Well I have an Elephant in my life. Its a big one too.
It’s true that not everyone I know knows about it. The people who don’t may just have a feeling of something being a little off -that I am a little cracked- but the people who do know can put a name to it. My elephant has a name;
I am not sure that I want them to talk about my elephant and me on any kind of regular basis but I’d much rather it be an open topic of discussion as needed then to just loom over me with nobody having the guts to bring it up. Not even me until recently. It’s just such a hard topic to discuss for some people. Including me. The reaction when you tell somebody you have Bipolar Disorder varies greatly and if you are not prepared for it, can be very hurtful.
There is so much misunderstanding when it comes to bipolar disorder and mental illness in general that people tend to pretend it is not an issue rather than ask questions that would enlighten them to the truth. I suppose that any illness that used to be treated by a lobotomy ought to be treated with kid gloves but it is this very avoidance that lends to stigma and rejection. I wish that I had noted all the references made to bipolar on shows such as Law & Order & Cold Case to name a couple. I have heard references to murderers being bipolar but never to a brilliant artist being bipolar. (Not to say that there aren’t any, just that I have never heard it referred to in a positive way on tv. For example while it is common to hear “He murdered because he is bipolar” I myself have never heard ” He paints brilliantly because he is bipolar”)
I get angry, I get hurt, I feel shame. And while in that moment I want to stand up and say ..Enough!, when it is time for me to face the world, I simply want to deny the existence of my elephant and hope it stays quiet enough that no one notices.The problem with that is it isn’t easy to hide an elephant. It’s pretty damn obvious. I can’t very well say I brought it home from a safari now can I?
When I first had the concept of this blog, I did not want it to be about being bipolar. But I realize that I can’t just pretend like it is not a part of who I am. It affects me everyday. I figured the best way to start would be to get the elephant out of the room.
I do not want to tell you how horrible and debilitating it is. How the loneliness and isolation just from not being understood is nearly unbearable at times and that is before the pain of rejection and stigma. I do not want to bring you into my private hell because I don’t want to be in it most of the time. I want to tell you that on a positive note, I am highly creative, passionate and pretty darn smart. I think a little differently but you might find I make you laugh. I feel everything bigger. I love with everything I have, I am sensitive and my feelings are tender but I am extremely empathetic and able to relate to people on an emotional level.
Can all of these positive things be attributed to bipolar? I don’t know. There have been studies and at a later date I will go more in-depth into areas of creativity and it’s link to bipolar, but for now I accept that Bipolar has a positive affect on me simply because I know for sure it has a negative effect. If I can get more people understanding how colorful my elephant is then when it decides to go on a rampage there might be some temperance.
Maybe it won’t even be an elephant anymore.