I don’t want to be normal. I want to feel until my very bones ache from the weight of it.
It’s what I’ve done my entire life. I enjoy it in best and worst ways.
I think my doctors look at me like I’m seriously messed up because of it. I do my part, I promise you. I have my reserve of coping skills and my safety net for when those fail. I’ve gone to therapy. The thing is, though, my identity is so deeply rooted in the very depth of my emotion that the two are entirely inseparable. It is like trying to separate a tree’s roots from the soil and expecting that tree to continue living.
It is simply impossible to erase the range of my feelings without erasing who I am.
I am particularly bothered by this notion today after reading some notes a doctor wrote about me. I’ve done charting, still do in my current jobs, so I know plenty well how it works. No stipulating, only facts and direct quotes from patients if you’re going to include any. So, what is going into the chart is not opinion, but observations that have now become fact. It does not matter if you, the patient, disagrees with those facts, because they are the truth and the truth is the word and the word is the law and you will not and cannot argue with the words in the charts because the charts are sacred.
It seems as if my emotions are off-putting to my past doctors. Which, to be honest, catches me off guard. I am typically very controlled around medical personnel for the obvious fear of being locked up again. So, you might understand my confusion and following indignation upon discovering that they found my “issues with previous rape” to be an issue for them.
But I digress.
The thing is, I look around this world and I see so many people robbed of emotion and action and reaction and I don’t want that. I refuse medications that force me into that mold. I look for other solutions. My greatest fear is that, someday, I will no longer be allowed to make that decision for myself permanently. It won’t matter that I’ve worked on the other side of the desk. I will only be the girl with emotion that must be stopped.
The Bipolar Architect wrote a post not too long ago about how he actually hopes he doesn’t see the day there is a cure for mental illness and I’d actually have to agree with him on this. I can’t imagine being robbed of the creativity that comes with mania and hypomania – forgetting the songs I’ve written or poems I’ve drafted. I won’t even begin to think of losing the works of writing I’ve done or pieces of music I’ve discovered or feelings I’ve felt while in the midst of depression.
Mental illness is…color. Brilliant, luminous color. It is light. In my humble opinion, it keeps this world turning.
I am my emotion and my emotion is me. I don’t want to be normal. I don’t want to give up the largest part of my identity for acceptance.
Accepting that? That is keeping my head above water this day, after working 48 hours in just 4 days this week. After trying to kill myself again last month. After reading those words written by a doctor I had trusted.
But still, I float on, buoyed up by my feelings and all their heavy weightlessness.
I hope you are still swimming with me, or floating nearby. Don’t give up just yet, okay? There’s still more. There will always be more.