I have a disease. I say those words often; not because I am looking for sympathy or pity but because I need to have some recognition that the norm I call my life, is in fact, not normal. I have compared my disease to a carnival, to a tin man, even to a forest without trees. I have worked almost daily to figure out what my precious mind will destroy next, and I have searched for ways to mitigate the damage I do to others in favor of damage I can do to myself. I know the signs of my disease, and although I can’t often stop the actions before the deeds, I know afterwards when I have failed.
I worry constantly about failure; failing my children, my family, the employees who depend on me, those who care. I worry about their ability to sustain kindness to me when I often can’t find the kindness I need to forgive myself. I mentally pace and seek to find answers to questions that no one asks; to find the surcease that will bring me peace from the restless demons that constantly feed themselves on my fear.
I have a disease that is in my mind, and I keep it there. I may pace, looking for freedom, but not where others can see. I hide so much of myself that it is a daily battle just to remember what is real and what I have made up to survive. Lies become truths, and dreams become my reality. I forget that there isn’t a knight riding to my rescue, and I forget that no matter how much I love some realities are harsher in the light of day. I try and speak to a God that seems far away from me most days; and I try and speak to the angels that I hope have been given my care. I sit under imaginary trees, in the laps of those not here, and cry tears as silent as desert night.
There are signs that I have reached my breaking point. Signs that I know are in front of my eyes waiting for me to see. Signs that can be hidden from others, but are so obvious to my saner self. I know those pills I take are not necessary. I know those things I buy aren’t worth the money I am spending and I know deep in my heart that the need to please, the need to be the most popular, the most beautiful is a symptom of a bigger problem. I see it, I know it; yet, I will continue to do it until this too passes.
I can work to hide the desire to be more than what I really am; I simply stop speaking. I can hide the shopping; I simply don’t go to the stores. The pills, those will never go away. I take them for the same reasons I am going shopping and speaking eloquently about things I know nothing about. The desire to misdirect, in order to survive, is too strong to ignore. The desire to pretend if only for a moment that I am okay, that my life is okay, that my mind isn’t once again betraying me, is more seductive then the greatest lover. It pulls me and brings to the brink of ruin; yet still, I will do it again.
I have been having a reoccurring dream. A dream that I wanted to work out in my head before I shared it with the world, even in this forum. It is a dream of myself, blind and not able to see the world around me. Typically I am either driving or moving in some way; some dangerous way. And while I can have glimpses, enough to see direction, I am always a little out of control. I have always been able to remember my dreams, which is both a burden and a curse, and I have had this one dream over and over for weeks.
I didn’t need Google, or any other source to tell me that the dream meant that I was willfully not seeing something. I didn’t need an expert to know that the danger of driving blind is systematic of so much more; this is as obvious to me as it is to you. However, determining exactly what it was that I was being willfully blind about took a little longer. This could be so many things, as there are so many things in my life. Take away the disease and you have the husband, the children, the family, the old life, the new. But the problem with ever taking away the disease, is that the disease is the most prominent thing in my life, good or bad, and to ignore it is to ignore my very soul. And those who ignore their souls will never live with wings.
The truth is the dream is probably about my disease. It is probably about the reality that I am reaching my breaking point, my edge, and there is no safety harness to bring me back. It is probably my subconscious yelling at the top of its lungs that I am about to crash; and not into another body, not into another nightmare, but into another reality. I am about to once again fall apart and like every time before that repercussions will be felt for years.
All the work I have done to believe in myself will be destroyed by the first lie. All the work I have done to try and make myself someone I can love, will whither half way through the bottle of pills. And as I lose my sanity, my reality, I will also lose all that I know. And I type this with the full knowledge that while I am blind, I will still find my way down this path. I type this with the recognition that all the confessions in the presence of God himself will not stop my soul from losing the fight one more time. I know what I am about to see in myself, yet as there is no way to halt the world from turning, there is no way from escaping the truth. I am willfully blind to this disease, and when I wake up finally to the truth there will be no way to stop the hatred rolling through my veins as easily as the blood I was born with. The hatred I will feel for myself, the hatred I will feel for the darkness.
And there will be hatred; as much as there will be insanity, there will be hatred. For how can you not hate yourself for being sick? How can you not hate yourself for betraying that which you hold most dear – the truth, the fight, the inescapable reality? How can I not hate myself for not finding strength, for succumbing to a disease that I have no control over, but rather has complete control over me? How can I ever forgive my own mind for turning against me so that the things I most believe in become insignificant?
A disease like bipolar isn’t for the weak; I have been told this and in some ways I believe this. But it also isn’t a disease for a mother, or a wife, or a friend, or a boss. It isn’t a disease that can find and hold truth; or a disease that can do anything but fight against the very will I hold like a shield. It is a disease that takes the very hope you finally found, and tosses it in the air as if it weighs nothing but a thought. It is a disease; a disease of the mind – the most powerful weapon this world has ever seen. And it will destroy that which is the most vulnerable; one’s own soul.