Photo by Liz Kearsley
For over a year I have been writing very openly about my life living with mental illness, and when I began little did I know the impact that it would have on me. My decision to blog openly, discussing my life's dirty secrets, fears, neurosis and other mental minefields was at the time a easy one. Hoping that by doing so I could just maybe make a difference in the way people view, people living with a mental illness as well as helping myself.
I never really carried any shame with my Bipolar Disorder, I came to a personal place where it was not something to be ashamed of. Blogging all the while I was a inpatient in the Psych Ward and undergoing what some see as a controversial treatment of ECT was I no brainer as the treatment worked for me and I felt it should be talked about in the open. Yet I carried the shame and stigma of my other disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, as it carries much heavier stigma than Mood Disorders do. You see people can understand the chemical medical reasons for Mood Disorders, but not their uglier step sibling Personality Disorders. Just saying it says, "Damn there must be something really fucked up with him, he has a Personality Disorder", which has no biological reason it is behavioral in nature and little understood.
I admit that I do carry shame with my BPD, it makes me fear being around people as it might and has caused interpersonal relationships to fail. I can explain Bipolar in a reasonable manner. It for all it's craziness is predictable and fairly easy to control. But I cannot explain why I do the things I do that are attached to my BPD, and when asked by others I am at a complete loss, it baffles me and rides me deeper into my already existent depression. It is like gas on my depressive fire.
Blogging about myself in a personal manner has put me out there exposed for everyone to see, the good and the brutally ugly. But I cannot put the cat back in it's bag that is the reality of personal blogging, the self exposure. While I may been seen as a crazy asshole to many, I hope that some still can see the decent man that is intertwined with his illness. A man that is yes on one side very ill and tortured by said illness, yet still tries to be kind.
I am not sure if I still have a audience for my words or friendship, or if my blog make any difference in anyone's life or moves to assist in breaking down some of the walls of Mental Health stigma? I am battling with ending my public fight with my mind and returning to the safe world of anonymity. I am well aware that I am a polarizing personality that some find me to be pest upon the social media community. I also know that I have some friends who still despite myself are still my friends and support me. But I am scared to continue blogging and that is the rub. That if I continue to write so openly and personally I will do more harm than good.
On Tuesday I will undergo my first spinal surgery and this is scaring the crap out of me. Why? Not because of the surgery it's self. I have little fear of dying or my chances of paralysis. I am scared because I know I am doing this pretty much alone. Much of my support system is either dead, out of town, or I have driven away. In a final act of "Fuck You Steve" my brain is having the last word, saying that I do not deserve the support I so greatly wish for, that this is the price I will pay this Holiday season for my shitty disorder that I do not understand or did anything to bring on myself.
Living so openly with mental illness can at the same moment be destructively painful and the ultimate in freedom. I have and am experiencing both and battling with effects of being crazy and out. I wish I was a better role model for mental health. But I am just trying to be a role model to myself because that is all I have right now.