I have to remind myself –
every time a joke is said, or a flippant comment is made
– that they don’t know.
They have no clue I struggle with mental illness. They could never guess that I’ve dealt with sexual abuse and assault.
So when the comments and the jokes are made, I laugh and only flinch a little bit. Because who am I to burst the bubble they live in? The bubble where no one they know has ever been stuck beneath a man or suicidal or manic. It’s a good bubble – it’s safe. It’s ignorant, but it’s safe.
I ache to tell them, though. Every time someone jokes that they are “bipolar” I want to just shake them and make them understand what that really means. When someone makes the offhand, sarcastic comment that they want to kill themselves I just want to show them the scars on my wrist and arms so that maybe they think twice next time. When someone jokingly shouts “Rape!” because a friend is messing with them, I want to tell them my story and the stories of other survivors.
But I don’t.
Because I remember that bubble, and I remember how safe it made me feel.
So, I ache quietly. I maintain my privacy, but sometimes I wonder at what cost?
Keep your head above water. They may not see the water you are treading, but I do, and I love you. Keep going.