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56966f62e01990052ab0cfade708bbe3There aren’t many things on this earth that I truly hate. I despise things, I get annoyed at things, but I try honestly to find ways not to hate. Usually because those things that could possibly run through my personal hate-meter are subjective and not worthy of my concentration. The things that annoy me, like stupid people, may be brilliant in someone else’s corner. Despising things that bother me but seem to not fall anywhere near the consciousness of the multitude seems like something to do with my own self not the thing bothering me. Through the years I have learned that there are things worthy of my darker thoughts and things I must let go in order to live in this multi-facet world.

But those things that I hate, I hate completely. There is no middle ground, no common ground, no ground at all when it comes to my personal hate. It is one of the few things in this world that is only one of two things: it is or it is not. Hatred can’t be anything disguised as another emotion, like jealousy or even anger. Hatred is felt through the pores of our skin and can be shown in the very movements we make towards it. I could lie and say I have good intentions about life and trying to avoid hatred, but there are things that simply consume me with the emotion so that no other option exists.

For instance, I hate how this disease will give me a couple of really good days and then seems to turn on its head and take away everything that I was holding with hope. It’s like a switch is turned from day to day and I simply have to wait patiently and silently for the good to return. It doesn’t matter that the bad is commonplace, the good is often this illusion that may give me a moment’s courage but can leave in a brief moment. I hate that.

I recognize, I even try to help others recognize, that mental disease requires a kind of fortitude that others simply will never be called upon to know. Mental illness requires an ability to feel the full spectrum of emotions and still function in a capacity that others can feel comfortable with. Being mentally ill means that you will experience so many emotions and at such a rapid pace that others, if they could only step in your shoes for a moment, would run screaming deep into the night. I work hard to recognize that mental illness takes a strength and a courage that many don’t know.

Most can’t understand the idea of having a beautiful day and then waking up to one simple fact of life and know only the regression of this pendulum that doesn’t stop swinging. Most can’t understand the feeling of sitting somewhere, quietly and patiently, until the next dark space opens up. Most can’t understand the dramatic and explosive turns of feelings and thoughts that daily bring someone vacillating from happiness to cursed pain. Most people can’t possibly understand the frustration of knowing not only the darkness is coming but that there is literally no way to avoid the coming even if one wished to.

I wrote a post once about the power of darkness. I wrote about the incredible comfort there is found in darkness. It is familiar, understandable, almost calm in its destruction. Darkness for those of us with mental illness can provide not only an escape but an excuse. Darkness can be the one place where I can find the comfort and quiet that this world does not provide.

If someone were to ask me if I preferred the darkness or the light, I would answer the former each and every time. There is no fear in the darkness, the light can’t shine long enough on any emotion for it to be really felt. There is no question of what the darkness looks like, feels like, and what it does to me and those I love most. It is the common place. It is the normal place. And I would rather be there than any other place on earth.

And while I have dreams, walking down the halls of the Louvre for days at a time, I would rather do them with the darkness pressing down on me. To get the enjoyment and the familiar, I have to go to the one place in this mind of mine that allows for the peace and surcease of understanding. No one understands the good days, but I bet if you search your soul you can easily feel that darkness again. Almost like an snake slithering through your mind, darkness comes with little price to your own self, even as others cry in fear.

Because I have studied and written about mental health at length, I have had time to learn certain truths. One of those truths is that I would rather be curled up in the recess of my mind than exploding in the joy of life.Not because I don’t want to know joy, but because joy is so fleeting and its loss is so painful. Losing darkness is not painful, losing light is each and every time.  I want to be shut down and existing only in a life that is mine to claim. I want to be silent and eerily calm, because it is more normal than the roller coaster or happiness.  I don’t want to feel happiness because then I have to know the intimate understanding of hopelessness. And the comparison, I have always imagined, is more painful than the thousands of knives I would rather feel.

This world isn’t easy. And it isn’t easy when you have to feel good and bad within the span of moments. Moments of a life, moments of a day, and moments of a second. I am required by this disease that I have to go up and down, but it would be so comforting if for just a little bit I could count on the darkness to shadow all the light that teases me and then destroys me. If I could find peace not in the glory but in the reality of this disease, I think that I could finally learn to live free.