You know, since my diagnosis I've been the brunt of various mental health misconceptions, myths and general ignorance. Thankfully I have a rigorous and somewhat sarcastic sense of humour, which at times, people aren't sure about. They think I'm either being really nihilistic or viciously dismissive.People laugh uncertainly and change the topic.If I'm in a good space, I can laugh along too and try not to let it get me down. You know ham it up a bit and make people feel a little more comfortable around the mentally disabled person.
Here is a selection of the kind of comments I've experienced over the last 6 months:
1) Oh yes, I'm a little bit bi-polar too - like being a little bit pregnant I assume
2) I'm up and down - Life is what you make it. Not when you're clinically psychotic and have to take medication to level you out its not!
3) You don't look mentally ill. This is an interesting one. I'm not sure if there is a "One size fits all" description of someone with bi-polar. Rolling eyeballs, foaming at the mouth, jumping up and down in your pants singing the national anthem and then robbing the local co-op? Maybe there is a one size fits all or Plato-esq perfect form of each mental illness, criminal persona, bus driver - Who knows! Did Ted bundy fit the desciption of a serial killer. Now lets imagine. Sitting him next the the right picture and saying, "NO, set him free, he looks more like a florist."
4) Have you spent lots of money and why aren't you taking lithium. Because actually this isn't what I do particularly, and I'm taking something else actually.
5) What triggered it, what did you do? Oh yes, by the way, its all my fault and I really want to be like this as it makes me a more rounded and interesting person.
Its usually at this point I want to punch some idiot in the face, or hold my head in despair at yet another fool in the world. (Its either that or bring out the mentally ill facial expression to frighten away the towns folk with their pitch forks....)
IN some cases it feels like a voyeuristic questioning, because really, people want to experience mental illness, particularly bi-polar with its creative flamboyance and film star dinner guest list membership. I think they'd like to believe it makes you special, not psychotic. Thing is people find it fascinating as long as its not happening to them. Trust me - its not fascinating, its a bit of a nightmare. Saying that though, I did write a very intersting brief biblical parody based around cheese. You know, Garden of Edam, the psalms of Davistow....the trinity of cheddar, brie and stilton - then the New Wine, or Cheese (Sorry for the unitended pun) of dairylea, a triangle cheese that please all palates. To be reduced in a process that then brings renewal - You know it all makes sense.Would the apostles all be mini baby bels do you think? And for all you catholics, there must be some stinking bishop!
Anyway, where was I?