The following is indicative of a mixed mood. These are not necessarily my exact thoughts when I’m thinking more clearly.
It’s days like today when I’d like to punch anyone in the face who says I’m not crazy. I’m crazy. I’m CRAY-ZEE. I know you can’t see it, but if you were in my brain right now, it would be crystal clear to you. I’m feeling so crazy, in fact, that I suspect another person would think they were psychotic if they had to deal with the brain I currently have. I know this is not psychosis, though. I know this is a brutal, unfair, horrific bipolar mixed mood.
Hiding a Crazy Mixed Mood
I’ve written before about what a mixed mood feels like. Mixed moods are hell. Mixed moods are crazy. Most people with bipolar disorder will tell you they are the worst type of mood. You take the worst of depression and the worst of mania (or hypomania), and you shove them with spikes into your brain. Then your sanity is flung around like a rag doll. That’s a mixed mood. It feels like I’ve been forced into a centrifuge, and now I’m being ripped apart molecule by molecule. And as I kneel on my couch, desperately trying to keep bits of me from flinging off into space, one thing becomes clear: you’d never know this was the case if I didn’t tell you.
Stop Telling Me I’m Not Crazy — I’ve Been Crazy for Years
I have dealt with some kind of mood issue since I was a kid. It wasn’t severe back then — it didn’t get severe until I was 19 — but I’m very practiced at being crazy. Or, to be more specific, I’ve practiced, practiced, and practiced, blending in with everyone else. I’ve practiced fitting in with the humans for years.
I know; people with mental illness are “just like everyone else.” I know. Only we’re not. We’re very, very not. We live in altered states of consciousness. We live in states of consciousness with which you have no experience and can’t understand. You don’t know what it is to watch your brain go absolutely bonkers and know there is nothing you can do about it. This is your crazy brain. (This is often your brain off drugs, ironically.)
I’m Crazy; I’m Not Human — That Is What a Bipolar Mixed Mood Is About
So, it’s understandable that I feel like an alien. At times, I even think I look like an alien. The big, glaring, in-your-face secret, though, is that I don’t act like an alien. Somehow, I manage to keep my insanity on a leash the vast majority of the time. I am not the person that goes incoherently screaming, naked down the street. I am not the person who starts fights over the last hotdog at 7-Eleven, so the police have to get called. I am not even the person that lashes out irrationally at the driver who drops off my Amazon packages. I am not that person. I am the person trying to keep my molecules from flinging off into space by wrapping her arms around herself and sitting very, very still. If you were to walk into my apartment, I would smile and say hello. “Move along. Nothing crazy to see here, folks.”
Somehow I can do this. Somehow I can manage it. But it doesn’t make the spikes any less pointy, and it doesn’t make me any less crazy. It just means I’m much better at disguises than the average person. And, to be clear, I’m not alone. Crazy people are all around you, trying desperately not to let their masks slip while at work, picking up the kids from daycare, or grocery shopping for melons. It is hideously painful and cements a divide between us and the human race.
I hate it.
I Feel Alone with the Crazy Bipolar Mixed Mood
There are very real reasons why I feel alone, no matter what. The reason is the big, obvious, neon-sign-laden secret — I am alone because no one else can be inside my insanity with me. And I suppose I wouldn’t want them to anyway. I wouldn’t damn anyone else to live in my brain. I wouldn’t damn anyone else to live in my life.
So, the thing to do? Write it out in a semi-incomprehensible screed, and then take medication, obviously (mostly up-to-date list). It’s what has to be done to calm down. It’s what has to be done so that the crazy doesn’t actually overtake me completely to the point where there is no me left. It’s what has to be done so that the crazy doesn’t actually kill me.
There will be weeping. There will be suffering. There will be worse things before this is over. And yet, still, my priority will be blending in with the humans any time I have to interact with another. I suppose this priority is just after the one that keeps me alive, but only just.
I feel like screaming. I feel like sobbing. I feel like attacking. But I won’t do any of that, no matter how crazy I feel.
I should get a fucking medal for all the hiding, for all the protecting you from my crazy. A key to the city. An Academy Award. Existing in my brain is, by far, the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and I’ve done it alone, and I’ve done it in front of everyone without them knowing it. And the torture of this existence just carries on. But it’s only 40 more years, maybe.
But don’t tell me I’m not crazy. My brain has nary a drop of sanity left.
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