The first time I attempted to express what had been going through my head for weeks at the time, I did a lot of damage to a very important friendship that, even now, feels somewhat damaged, walking wounded. Nevertheless, I'm going to give it another go. Because it is something that I truly want to embrace in my life.
When you've been mentally ill for as long
as I have, when you've endured countless disorders, you tend to meet
and/or gravitate towards those with similar problems. One tends to
feel alienated among the "normal" people of the world.
It's hard to become angry over a lack of a particular shade of lip liner
when one struggles each day to not jump off a bridge.
When you've been mentally ill for as long as I have, when you've endured countless disorders, you tend to meet and/or gravitate towards those with similar problems. One tends to feel alienated among the "normal" people of the world. It's hard to become angry over a lack of a particular shade of lip liner when one struggles each day to not jump off a bridge.
We meet these kindred spirits, and find warmth, comfort, family. Finally, we exclaim, someone understands. Someone knows what I mean. Someone will listen to me describe this or that, and not believe I am a freak. And so we cope together, we lean on each other, we face life together. But always, always, we reach a point where we care so much about our disordered friends that we want to save them from themselves. We begin to focus our conversations on their issues, all the while claiming we are "doing just fine". We try so very hard to help our friends out of the misery. In essence, we are reducing the club to a single member again: ourselves. Why we wish to be alone and revert is a mystery; perhaps it is out of wanting better for those we care for and love. Perhaps we no longer feel unique. Perhaps it seems like "everybody" wants to have a problem and thus be included. Maybe it's all of the above. I really don't know. But we all do it. I do it. I plan on being a therapist, yet delude myself and others into thinking I am relatively well adjusted and healed when there is nothing farther from the truth. I proclaim myself relatively okay while trying desperately to save those I feel are sinking into quicksand around me.
The trouble is, my friends do the same. They too pay the role of "doing better" while worrying over me at every second possible. And when we do this, we are setting ourselves up for greater pain: the pain of having one's feelings locked within, unable to be expressed. We are back at square one, only worse off, because now we HAVE people who understand, but we simply cannot talk to them.
It's a faulty logic that makes a laxative abuser and restricted eater worry excessively about a friend's eating behaviour, all the while denying they have any problems. It's a faulty logic when a suicidal person is on the internet trying to counsel a friend away from the blade, all the while insisting they feel great or okay or fine.
Why are we so scared to be vulnerable? Why are we so scared to expose our psychoses and neuroses to each other? Because the truth is, the very fact we run around trying to save each other is evidence that our disguises fail, that others who know us see that we are not fine. The kids aren't alright. It's scary to lay yourself out on the line for any extended period of time. We're scared of being hurt. Scared no one cares. We don't want to cause a fuss. We hate being a burden. But half of the problem behind most mental disorders is an inability to communicate and express how we feel and what we think. Holding it in simply aggravates the situation, and makes the guise of "doing better" that much harder to maintain.
I'm tired of maintaining a guise of healed or recovering. I'm tired of pulling teeth to get dear friends to admit, as I already know, that they feel crappy or unhappy. And I know they see through me as well. Instead of suffering alone, I want to go back to when we embraced each other in mutual misery and let it out to a safe group of people. Don't get me wrong; I do not want to remain miserable. Rather, I want to be me. Whether that is suicidal or giddy today, whether it means I ate a cracker or three normal meals, whether I cut myself or hugged myself today, I want to be honestly me, honestly who I am. And I want my friends to do the same. I want the whole world to do the same. All the world may be a stage, but we can choose to end the show and leave our costumes behind. And I'd like to leave the masquerade.