I Am Not Diseased.
March 30th was World Bipolar Day. I did not feel the pride; I did not feel the camaraderie.
Too many outlets, too many people who presume to speak for me, to speak for the mass of other worldly individuals, speak in tongues of stigma. I just wanted to say something, something personal and true.
I could not say it on March 30th, so as not to disrespect the day.
I am not diseased.
I am not ill. I do not have a disorder. I am not a broken, fractured version of the norm. To begin to address this issue is to define the very boundaries that separate us all through the causality of semantics and connotation. There is no norm.
To think so is to lump groups of people in classified portions based upon certain characteristics, ignoring the beauty and individual madness inherent in all people.
I am not diseased.
Yes, I struggle. Yes, I have cursed the proverbial gods for making me this way on occasion. I have cursed myself for the choices that have contributed to my situation. But it has been a long time since I considered myself to be sick.
It has been a long time since I would have chosen to erase this madness from my mind.
It’s been a long time since I prayed to die.
Yes, I have been there. I came closer than I’d like to admit once. But this is who I am. I am mad; I am the random synapse firings of a liquefied mind. I cannot separate what is ill and what is not.
I cannot judge myself against an imaginary border that separates the ill from the norm. Again, to believe in that separation is to deny what I know to be true, that humanity exists along a circular spectrum of consciousness.
There is no boundary between one state and the next, and people can exist upon multiple points at any given time.
The idea of a perpetual status quo, maintained by solidifying that boundary, that magical line upheld by psychiatry, has to fall eventually.
The DSM, the psychiatric bible that says I am ill, that says I am merely a broken version of the norm, seeks to save me. To change me. To perfect me. Because I am consciously askew.
But I am not diseased.
The comfort inherent in a label, in a reason, in a belonging, only lasted so long for me. Yes, I was temporarily saved by the notion that there was finally a sign I could point to and say, This is why I am this way. Help.
But it didn’t last very long.
I seek to improve, I do. I seek to live life to the fullest. I know that I am not damaged. It’s more a matter of learning how to function, how to use this disruptor of a mind that I have.
It’s a matter of putting in the work, and not relying solely on drugs and therapists.
It’s a matter of realizing that some people have automatic transmissions for minds. Some of us merely have manual ones, which require a greater degree of difficulty to maneuver.
But, in the hands of an experienced driver, they maneuver just fine, maybe better even.
It’s a matter of wrapping my fists every day and fighting for my right to live, for my right to succeed and be happy.
It’s a matter of learning to love who I am, with all my imperfections. It’s a matter of realizing that maybe I’m not broken. Maybe it’s a matter of realizing society can, and will, change. I do not have to bend to its will every day.
I don’t like to say I have bipolar disorder. I say I have bipolar, but really the semantics of it all merely confuses the truth. Just know that I am a boxer. A poet. A warrior. A liquefied mind. A survivor. A variable.
I am not diseased.
Steve Imperato is a thinker and a writer, a wetware mechanic intent on unraveling the mysteries of his rapid cycling bipolar and consciousness in general. His main themes include the use of logical and spiritual techniques to enhance the fisticuffs that typically encapsulate the fighting inherent in the literal and figurative aspects of mental variation, which is typically labeled as mental illness. Check out his blog and his website on such matters. Currently a successful (relative to his situation) 9-to-5-er, he dreams of being a successful non-9-to-5-er. Recently married, he is creating a nice little conventional storyline while allowing his mind to flow wherever it endeavors to go.