Having a mental illness has its challenges, but the one I’m faced with most often is “with whom do I share my dirty little secret?” Everyone has baggage. Sometimes it can be seen or heard or felt. And in my case, I can disguise it very easily. In times of mania, most people confuse it with pure happiness. And with depression, I can blame it on being sick or surfing the crimson wave as I am a woman (which makes it easily as tough to deal with my mental breakdowns or highs and lows).
However, when I become intimate with a certain pain, I have to make a decision in my mind on whether or not to tell them the truth about a huge part of me. The western world as someone recently put it to me, has a giant stigma of mental illnesses as a whole. People choose to ignore it or not see that it has real problems. They are, in fact, true diseases. Unfortunately for me that leaves me with seeing the true character of most when they discover my struggles.
Most will never truly understand how I feel and the hypersensitivity that dwells inside of my being. I sit here tonight pondering on if I should tell someone who I am getting to know very well. Will they judge me? Will they still see the same person they have built me in their mind to be? Or will they leave me shattered as many in the past have done who could not bear my pains or deal with the honesty my life preserves so well.
Pain can be a beautiful thing to my sick mind. It can be my comfort and my best friend. It can also be my enemy and ruin others’ lives around me. That in itself is tough enough to deal with and most of the time I do it alone. Running solo is a talent I have contrived simply because my own strength needs to override others’ opinions of Tara.
It’s almost a game I begin to play with those I surround myself with since I’m unsure if my gambles will allow me to win or lose their love. Not knowing how a person will react is something out of my control and something I fear. I know this fear so well that many times I push those away from me before they find out. In this regard, I protect my emotions. My heart. And most importantly, my disease. It can take the best from me, especially if I allow it to feed off of them.
The baggage of being a single mother can be seen by all. And many will understand because it’s become an accepted part of our American culture. Some will pity, while most will empathize–those with or without children. But my bipolar portion of who I am is something that cannot be seen. It is hidden until I have an episode and people begin to question and wonder.
This internal battle is an uphill struggle that will always remain. To be the free spirit that I am, I need to let go. But I just can’t.
At least not always.
Tip-toeing around the subject, walking on eggshells… Just like my bipolar emotions, I am torn.