Both those terms have been used to describe me. An insult just doesn’t stab, it leaves a wound — not a scar, but a bleeding dripping lesion that comes to you in your worst depressions and sometimes — like now — when you are feeling just fine. I am a loser because I have not worked since I was 33 and do not have kids. I did not make a million in Silicon Valley and no one buys my photography or my writing (which I haven’t tried to sell in a long time.) Never mind that I have been married 27 years to the same woman, never hit or threatened to hit her or called her a vile name. I am a loser, a pariah.
The isolation of bipolar disorder is hell, but the isolation of my personality is worse. When I take tests such as the Myer’s Brigg, I keep scoring in the rarest categories. Less than 1% of people out there share my characteristics. We wander around, seldom meeting each other. The way we see the world, the things we strive for just aren’t appreciated or discerned by the rest of you out there. You come onto my blog, read my accounts of my illness or other aspects of my life and you don’t get me. I am a cipher, a shadow on the wall swept by the wind, a curiosity that cannot be. I, like others of my kind, feel alone. No wonder so many of us end up in monasteries or convents.
An article from a 2010 issue of The Guardian cites a pundit who believes that the InterNet has destroyed our ability to think deeply. All the shallowness of our political talk, our inability to concentrate works of art that encourage us to probe our minds, the simplistic and self-serving grasp of religion — those things I believe have always been there. InterNet debates are only emblems of a longtime tendency for their participants to refuse to engage with people who disagree with them, to damn new ideas with oversimplifications and patronization, to mock differences. People have always told me that I think too much, even educated people. They twisted the gifts of my mind into a curse. So I hide from them. I do not speak of my cogitations in any place other than here. Yes, I pretend to be something that I am not, but what am I supposed to do when I am so alone and the mass of human beings cannot and will not trouble to understand me?
Bipolar disorder with its wild antics and chilling depressions hogtied me for the longest time. I’ve come out as a new person, but the rest of you remain the same. Freak is how you thought of me when the disease ran my thoughts and freak is how you think of me now that I am in my right mind. Was it worth it?
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