Last week was my 36th birthday. I just getting around to writing about it now, mostly because I don’t know how I feel about it. One thing is certain: I feel old.
I broke a rib on New Years . . . Coughing. I broke it coughing. Who the hell breaks a rib coughing? I have saggy man tits and a jiggly belly. My back hurts. My blood pressure is up. I suppose that these are normal things, but there is a lot more on my plate.
Lifewise, I like where I am right now, but it’s not where I expected to be. To be honest, I expected to be dead by now.
I have a serious confession to make.
I have severe Bi-Polar Syndrome. I was diagnosed when I was 14. I spent much of my teenage years in and out of hospitals. I went to a special school for the “emotionally challenged.” The side effects from the various medications are torturous, to the point where I no longer know what it’s like to “feel good.”
As an adult, I have never been able to hold a full time job for more than a year or two. No matter how extraordinary I am at the job, I inevitably have a manic or depressive cycle and lose it. I ended up working low paying odd jobs and resigning myself to poverty.
Last year, I ended up homeless in the middle of Winter. I was living out of a ’97 Saturn, which I would park in a park or parking lot and hope that I wasn’t carjacked.
Through most of my adult life, I suffered without help. I didn’t know that there was help out there for people like me: mentally ill, but not ill enough to require a group home.
Thankfully, I found help. MHA found me a place to live, and helped me to apply for disability. So yes, now I am a drain on society. I am ashamed of this, very ashamed. I hate myself for it. I wish that I could stand on my own, but I tried and failed at this for 36 years. I still live well below the poverty line (you don’t want to know how low), but at least now I know that I will always be able to pay the rent and have food to eat.
This is not where I expected to be. I still work towards getting off of disability, but the only thing I am able to do, even when I am having an attack, is write. It’s the only thing that I have ever wanted to do, and oddly enough, it’s proven to be the only thing that saves me.
I don’t know why I am confessing something that I am so ashamed of, especially when there is such a public stigma towards it (no, I don’t own a gun. If I did, I would’ve turned it on myself a long time ago. It worked for Hemmingway, right?)
I am ashamed of being ashamed. Ashamed of hiding who I am. I just turned 36 years old, and I don’t care about being stigmatized anymore. I don’t care if you judge me. I don’t care if you are revolted, scared, or made uncomfortable by me. I don’t care if you think that I am melodramatic and think that I should just “suck it up.”
I just turned 36 years old. I have bi-polar syndrome. If you have a problem with that, you can go to Hell.
That’s what I tell myself.
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