One of my favorite places to hang out is Running Naked With Scissors, and its companion site Artsy Brain Fartsies, both run by the incomparable Lizzie Cracked. Her signature feature is the Mental Moment. She has graciously offered to guest post a special mental moment about friendship on M3. With no further ado, meet my sweet friend, Lizzie.
I have been thinking a lot lately. I do that from time to time. Really. Uh oh… oh wait, many of you have no idea what that means. Those who are regular visitors over in my little piece of the blogosphere know that typically means …ridiculous word count and circular diversion while I figure out how to make my point. It seems to not be too much of a problem though. Not sure if it’s because I give fair warning or because I am just that likeable or maybe both. I will try to stay focused and under … 3000 words ? Ok shorter.
A Mental Moment …
The idea of a Mental Moment, is to take a break from what’s going on in your daily life. Just stop what you are doing and take what I offer and think about it. It doesn’t matter if you have mental health or disorder, it’s about your mental state. Sometimes the Mental Moments are just funny things to laugh at, sometimes they are a little deeper to ponder on. Its what you want or need it to be…
It’s nice to not have to explain myself, to know that there are people that get me, that know when I say I have been thinking, it could be epic, or end up ridiculous. and to settle in for a bit to get through my musings, and finally to a point. I used to explain myself all the time just so I didn’t confuse anyone. Even at first ,to make sure I wasn’t confused. Now I do it out of courtesy, especially if I am somewhere new or meeting new people.
For once in my life, I am being real. Just me. Who I am is not hidden away. It’s amazing the difference it has made, and the friends I have found, especially here.
I have been thinking about being alone. Not like without a relationship, or just alone because there is no one else around you.
The kind of alone uttered in despair and hopelessness
The kind of alone that is really common among those with mental disorders. dysfunction, cracked, especially in the really low moments, like depression. How about bipolar depression.
I think bipolar depression is a good example, I have a little experience with it. My kitten George is bipolar, poor little guy he is all over the place, one minute purring contentedly the next chewing on my leg like its chicken. …
I have Bipolar I …but that’s not the point. Ok, it has a lot to do with the point. I have found the answer to the problem of feeling so horribly terribly desperately alone, that ideas of …not being here anymore, of not having purpose find ways to wiggle into the brain Once the idea is there, it snowballs because …you look for validation that you are truly alone. if you get it..if no one notices, or takes your hand….
Here is the thing, it makes no sense. If you haven’t ever felt that lonely and isolated, or if you have, in that desperate place, yet can’t figure it out when you are in a better place, it’s hard to imagine that you could ever think there is nobody in the world that loves or cares or understands you.
But I have pondered and mulled and brooded to the point that it does, all of a sudden make perfect sense. Really.
Many mentally ill people are masters at deception. Not the malicious kind that is done with intent to hurt anyone, maybe masters of disguise is a better way to think of it. People with bipolar are notorious for putting up a front that everything is hunky dory and life is grand, for a lot of reasons such as, social stigma, and doubt that we are lovable and worthy of friendships, doubt that if we reveal the darkness inside of us, we will be able to have a friend who can stay with us throughout thick and thin. Doubt that we will be seen as who we are, not what we have after the truth is revealed.
Perhaps it’s learned behavior. I had a brief period of time after being diagnosed that I was quite vocal about the fact I had bipolar disorder. I was so happy there was a reason, a name for what was going on in my head. That lasted maybe five minutes and I went back to trying to live as a square peg in a round hole. Or is it round peg…? anyways.. I came here to get away from that kind of life. I just want to be me. After awhile, I had friends. I had people that cared about me.
I mean really truly cared about what I had to say what I deal with and like me just because…well I am irresistible… (no need to pipe up I am just being silly )
When we read another person musings, or hear them, in pain say
“I don’t want to be here anymore, I am alone and I am tired,”
It might be the first instinct to say, (it is mine I know,) “You aren’t alone, I care, I am here” and think how could they possibly ever feel like they have no one? When someone would say it to me, it did help but it didn’t. Just the fact that someone cared enough and tried to help, was something that made a difference whether it made the loneliness go away or not.
It rarely did at first, and I thought there was just some fundamental short circuit that I could not feel anything but alone. I wanted to figure it out, I felt if I just could understand why I was misunderstood. And there was the light bulb. That AHA! moment.
Anyone who feels they have to hide something about themselves, out of shame or blame or fear, will feel alone. Not lonely, that’s different. Alone.
They are not revealing their true self, therefore they can never feel truly understood.
Next time you hear someone say “I am alone” in a time of despair, don’t dismiss them or what they are saying, Let them know they aren’t alone in whatever way you normally would .. I don’t know what the right thing beyond that is, I just give you my slightly cracked observations, sometimes unsolicited advice if I am feeling it, but on this, I don’t know the right answer, I just know the cause. Maybe I am wrong.
Besides its a Mental Moment (epic one too). I can’t figure it all out then what would you have to ponder?
Everybody is worthy of friendship, love and acceptance, no matter what sets them apart. No one should feel like they are alone without a soul in the world that understands them. I may have fewer friends than if I didn’t have a serious mental illness, it’s not always easy to be that friend that sticks around no matter what, but when I got real, and brave and said to hell with pretending, I found friends that are the best. They carry me by caring about me.
My last bout of bipolar depression, just recently, I did not get to the point of feeling alone. In fact I knew I wasn’t. Wait, really yes, I had moments, but when a friend said to me …you aren’t alone… I knew it was true. The friends I have, chose to be my friend, knowing full well I have a mental illness, They know. I am real. I am loved. It made all the difference in the world to me.
You are never alone. Everyone has someone that cares about them. Everyone. If you feel alone, stop and ask yourself is it because you are hiding part of you? Are you being your true self and letting these people know and understand you?
It’s not to say that if you are feeling like you haven’t a soul in the world that it is your fault, but it does put some accountability back to you.
It’s easy, in times of trouble and despair to point the finger and blame others. It lets us off the hook for our sorrows for a while anyways. Saying that no one understands you, you are alone, is doing just that. It isn’t your fault either. Whether you are mentally disordered, or you are hiding that you have a mole with its own zip code on your derriere, it isn’t your fault. but that doesn’t mean you can’t change it. When you take back some of the responsibility of that, it gives you the power to change your life. With that comes hope.
Be real, be true, don’t hide who you are. There are people who love you and want to be in your lives. They are called friends. And you are never alone when you truly let them see you.
To Your Mental State, Whatever it may be…
Do you have mental moments? Do you have friends who have low times and need you? Are you there for them? Can you see past a friend’s disabilities to make and stay friends?
Leave comments and thank Lizzie for the fabbo Mental Moment just for M3! Then take scroll over to Running Naked With Scissors and Artsy Brain Fartsies (where she keeps her cool photographs and artwork).
Thank you for reading this M3 guest post! If you would like to guest post, contact me through Ask Momma!
(c) Ann Marie Dwyer 2012
Original text and images (c) Lizzie Cracked and Running Naked With Scissors
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