One of my dearest friends, Selwyn Jesse Injety, who is my first call whenever I have a bipolar related concern recently posted about his own disorder. I read it and felt soooooo proud of him. I also felt like it was a found poem, meant to be read! So I asked if I could publish it here and He! Said! Yes! Here it is:
Maybe A Streetlight
I have schizoaffective disorder, a delightful mix of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. you experience more and more psychotic symptoms as you labor through your adolescence, symptoms usually dropping in around mid-teen to early 20s…then the medicine, pretty much makes you sedated and lethargic, to a degree…while you try multiple cocktails of meds out over a few years…and struggle with how much of your cognitive ability you have to trade for sanity from psychotic symptoms. as far as i know, there isn’t a formula for it. it’s just a sucky math problem you find yourself living in.
i had my first major clinical depressive episode at 17, it lasted many months, while i was afraid to leave my bed for hours…but even though i knew i was not the first to deal with this, i found myself alone.
NOT because people don’t care, but because it’s a silent trauma that is so obviously easy to move past on the surface, coupled with the fact the others were dealing with my fathers trauma his illness had caused . it is not simple, easy at all. it is built on trauma, and hurting others even though you don’t mean to . hurting yourself, in many ways, mentally and emotionally for being so weak as to be Mentally Ill, dealing with the guilt, etc. being a defective person. none of that is easy to deal with.
it’s a heavy burden to bear. i’ve been committed, on my own admit, and not, a decent number of times.
i spent my 20s not being honest with my psychiatrists about my symptoms, because i was afraid i would become what i feared the most.
like my father, who was very ill, and schizophrenic. if his peers, my family, can’t deal with me putting it all out there, i’m sorry (not really, honesty) but it’s not your right to decide how open i am about my own life and history.. the time for casual silence has long been over. by any measures, our community and culture have taken the cowards way out, leaving others in need to be alone while we pretend everything is ok as long as the food is good at our family events.
this has been taken out of the past generations hands, and it is now in our own. to be available, to not shame, to not be ashamed of people because they were born with a mental illness. to be there for them.
that is what family is about.
Call 1-800-273-8255. Available 24 hours everyday #SuicideAwareness
i’m 38, and it’s been a wild ride, but i’m still here, and so so grateful to be alive. i have the love of family, and friends. but it took a long time to get here, and many hassles.
but you know you want to stick around, however painful it is. or you wouldn’t be here still.
i suffered in my self imposed sheathe, and so do others. i’m no sun, but maybe i can be a streetlight?
you can do it too. please, don’t do it on your own. that era is over.