I couldn't find an appropriate picture, so here's a picture of a Babirusa
I know that I'm pretty much the most defensive person in the world and that I likely overreacted to certain things that people said recently. I have a tendency to do that. As a friend pointed out, certain things which got my hackles up were well-intentioned. All I can do is to apologize and to hopefully explain why sometimes well-intentioned statements about developing a brighter outlook can rub a person who lives with a mood disorder the wrong way.
I think the best way to explain it is to draw a parallel to certain other conditions I live with which are strictly physical conditions, but which can also affect my moods.
I have diabetes.
I would like to draw a parallel between my use of insulin to control my blood sugar and my use of dark, sometimes hyperbolic poetry as an outlet for the bleakness that often inundates my mind.
My body produces little if any of its own insulin at this point. Insulin helps the body process sugar in the blood. Without it, the high sugar levels begin to cause damage to the vascular system.
Now, let's say someone were to say to me "if you'd just act like people who have a normal pancreas, you'd learn to be like people with a normal pancreas."
To which my reply would be "I will literally never be like people with a normal pancreas because my pancreas doesn't work normally."
"Yes, but if you behave like people with a normal pancreas, your pancreas will start to behave normally."
"No. It literally will not. If I try to behave like people with a normal pancreas, my elevated blood sugar will start to damage my body fairly quickly."
"Really, though, Positive Pancreatic Thinking will heal your faulty pancreas!"
At this point, somebody might be getting stabbed with an insulin needle, and it isn't going to be me.
Most people can see that the above scenario is a bit ridiculous (although anyone with diabetes can tell you that we've heard a million and one tales of "miracle cures" for our condition.) However, a lot of people can't see that they're doing a very similar thing when telling someone who lives with a mood disorder that if they just practice positive thinking they'll become a normal, happy person. It literally doesn't work that way.
I'll be 53 years old in February.
I had my first mixed episode when I was ten. I didn't know that's what it was then, but with the knowledge I've gained, I now know that's exactly what it was.
I had my first severe depressive episode when I was twelve. I also became bulimic and made my first half-assed suicide attempt by swallowing a bunch of aspirin, which made me sick.
I was labeled as overly dramatic and attention seeking and told countless times to just stop thinking and acting as I did.
I've learned a lot of coping techniques over the years. One of the ways I channel the darkness rather than cutting myself or self-medicating is by writing.
I've been through a lot of undesired changes this year.
I live with chronic pain and am not sure how long I'll be able to keep working. My situation is precarious.
I would never tell someone who tends to have a positive outlook on things that they need to create things that are dark and gloomy. However, people don't think twice about telling me that I need to write things that are more cheerful and that I need to have a brighter outlook.
It also minimizes and belittles my struggles when people say things which imply that what I'm going through is some sort of a phase. If it's a phase, it's a damn long one. It's lasted most of my life.
Sometimes I write funny stuff. I actually do have a sense of humor, which most people don't get.
Perhaps people like me do serve a purpose. We often have high levels of empathy. Perhaps by pointing out the hurtful things in the world we can teach others to be kinder.
Hell, I don't know. I haven't figured it out yet and I rather doubt I'm going to.
I do know that I like German chocolate cake. That much I've figured out for certain. I wish I had some right now.
My mind doesn't work like yours. I know most of you can't understand a mind like mine, but I ask you to please try to respect that maybe people like me do know our own minds and maybe it would be nice to be treated not as broken half-people who need to be fixed, but as whole and worthy of consideration exactly as we are.
~The Cheese Hath Grated It~
This is my Always Keep Fighting tattoo.
It's a real, permanent tattoo.
Some days its easier to keep fighting than others.
This is a reminder for me to keep fighting on those days too.
It's also a tribute to me and those like me.