Here I am. Writing. In public. About being crazy.
Here I am. Being crazy. In public. Under scrutiny.
I’ve been writing about being bipolar for seven years now, in a very closed, anonymous environment. People didn’t know my name, or see my face. By design. Anonymity has a way of allowing the truth to flourish.
The writing has always been just mine. It didn’t have to please anyone or be nice to anyone. It didn’t have to explain itself or be reasonable. It didn’t have to be good or make sense. It didn’t have to be edited or looked at ever again. The blood didn’t have to be scrubbed from its corners.
But now I have a face. A face with alabaster skin and blazing hair. Now I’m corporeal. Now there are people looking over my actual shoulder. Now everyone will see the blood.
And I’m terrified. I’m terrified to be here, to be writing, to be crazy, to be ill, to be seen. I hide in the shadows. I like it that way.
But like all other writers, I feel I have to write. I have to write. There are ideas and folds and fragments inside of me scratching and begging to be let out. Their claws are long, sharp, and cut so very deeply.
In real life, I feel so unexpressed. What little truth I share is a whisper in a windstorm.
I’m here. I’m over here. See me. Please.
But people, not surprisingly, see what I’ve externally crafted: what I’ve molded and put into place to hide the crazy.
I’m aware that I can’t afford for everyone to know I’m sick because it affects everything from how I’m looked at, to whether I’m trusted to babysit. I know being bipolar makes people frightened and creates a space between me and the supposed sane. I know that it hinders career trajectory or even my ability to get a job. I know bipolar disorder keeps people from seeing anything but a sad girl drowning in a Jackson Pollock painting.
But I also know that me, the actual me, is in here somewhere. It might be hiding behind the bipolar curled up, very small in the corner, or it might be locked in a closet with bipolar holding the key. But I’m in here. Somehow, somewhere, I want someone to understand who I really am, what I really do. Understand what it is to have to fight a disease so much bigger and stronger than, everything. To fight it every day. Somehow, I need to have people outside the four walls of my apartment listen to me scream. I need someone to witness the suffering. I need someone to palpate all dimensions of an all-consuming pain. I need people to know what real life is.
So I’m here, and I’m writing. So I’m here, and I’m trying. I’m trying to speak to you. I’m trying to tell you the truth.