The invisible disability. That’s what I’ve been told I have. A mental illness that prevents me from functioning like a so called normal person. I don’t wanna write about everything wrong with the word normal, rather I wanna talk about the invisible disability and what it means to my life.
When I was 7 years old I was sent to the principals office for “transforming” on my desk at recess. From that point on I was pulled out of class each week to sit with a therapist who was trying to figure out what was wrong with me. As a child I never understood the games we used to play. All I knew is it got me out of class away from the bullies and I couldn’t be happier during those times.
They never figured out I had bipolar back then but I am sure it was there from the start. I had a wild temper. I was easily distracted. I went from feeling like a lump on a log to feeling like I could take on the whole world and back again without any warning. Over the years I learned to live with my mental illness without treatment. I survived. Even my therapist as an adult called me a survivor. It wasn’t the bullies I survived though, it was myself.
Being bipolar does often cause me to participate in self destructive behavior. This is what I mean by I survived myself. Not just the suicide attempt of which there were many if we’re being honest. I survived my own tendencies. I got into fights. I drove recklessly. I drank a lot. I was a break dancer. I went out of my way to seek danger. That is when I had the energy to do so. Most of the time I was holed up in my bedroom incapable of finding even the slightest motivation to socialize. More often than not I stayed in my room playing with my toys or playing video games.
I write about the invisible disability because you can’t see bipolar disorder like you can being blind or being in a wheelchair. It’s a disability nonetheless. I don’t fully understand how it works. I only barely learned I have it a few short months ago. Since that time I have researched it quite extensively through reading articles and books as well as watching YouTube videos by others who have it or medical professionals who talk about it. I am becoming all to familiar with this disease. It is just that, too, a disease.
I have to come to terms with my reality. While the mental illness does explain a lot of my abnormal behavior, it doesn’t excuse it. I have to own up to my mistakes like anyone else. When I hurt someone I have to tell that person I am sorry. There are a number of people I have hurt over the years I have never been able to say sorry to, one of them is myself. I have to learn not only to forgive myself for the things I did, but to apologize to myself for having done them in the first place. In order for me to heal I have to recognize the mistakes I made were not entirely my fault the result of symptoms of a disease I never knew I had nor understood before.
Today I write a letter of apology to myself. Nobody will ever read it. I will not even save it to my hard drive but delete it upon completion. I do this not because anyone told me to but because I owe it to me. I need to learn to heal from the scars of my past. In part I need to let go of the things I did to me. Believe me as much as I have hurt others, and there are plenty of others I have hurt, nobody has been hurt by my self destructive behavior more than I have. I write this letter on my own accord as a way to find forgiveness for the pain I inflicted on me. It’s the least I can do for the survivor I have become.