I actually saw the end of a rainbow yesterday. Always heard that wasn’t possible. But there it was, right down in the courtyard out back. Smack down on top of the pitch for the kids, too. I was tempted to go and dig a hole – you know what they say about rainbows and gold – but I figured if I did that the only little people I’d end up meeting would be the kids coming out to beat the hell out of me for ruining said pitch. So I didn’t go dig a hole, just sat and watched. I did mark the spot well in my mind, so some mad night I just might go out there with a shovel and start looking….
My tirade yesterday left me feeling a little sheepish. Sometimes I really do think of myself as a rabid dog, foaming at the mouth and in desperate need of a muzzle. HOWEVER, it was what I think of as a ‘clean’ rant. I got it out of me in one go, no klingon emotions bothering me for the rest of the day. That’s a good thing. I mean, really! If they’re ever going to sell me on the idea that talking things out helps, I’d better see a fucking release when I let loose like I did yesterday. Otherwise, just gimme the fucking drugs. So while I feel a little embarrassed for going all Randy out here (and if you’ve popped into this and now think I’m referring to something sexual may I just say you suck, go and read yesterday’s post), I’m OK with the process. Dude, I’ve been sucking down poison from my mother’s tit since I was born; I got a lot to get out. I can take responsibility for my own actions, thank you. Even the bad ones.
Which brings me to the crux of the matter today, the craw stuck in my throat.
Ok, all you children, toddlers, wise-acres and whipper snappers: listen the fuck up. I’m gonna tell you a few things. There is a dangerous fucking mode of thinking out there today that holds illnesses responsible, not people. THIS IS A LIE. And it’s a lie I think does no one any good. It perpetuates problems, it avoids guilt, and it solves fucking nothing.
Now, I know: I’m kind of guilt junkie. Got that built into me long ago. But tell me, please, when has anything been solved by not taking responsibility?
Look AROUND you, people. The current financial crisis, the wars, the environmental disasters – ALL are happening because people refused to take responsibility. They said ‘it’s not my problem’ or ‘it’s not my fault’. They stood by and watched it happen, doing nothing.
This isn’t just a mental health issue, it’s a HUMAN issue. It’s happening world wide, on a personal level, a neighborhood level, a community level, a state level, a national level. SHIFTING BLAME DOESN’T WORK.
If you walk by a mess in your house and never pick it up, it remains a fucking mess. It can fester and cause disease, illness, rot. It doesn’t matter whether or not you made the fucking mess, the point is ARE YOU GOING TO PICK IT UP? Seriously. Do you just leave a spilt plate of food? Just watch it rot over time, decompose? Do you think it’s some fucking ART INSTALLATION?
There ARE some people out there would leave it, I know. And they need help. But for the rest of you – think about it. Think about it next time you pass by something that doesn’t sit right with you. Do you walk by and do nothing when you see someone being bullied? When you see someone being raped? When you see someone being killed? Do you stand by and do nothing because it isn’t your fucking mess, or do you at least TRY to fucking help? Do you take some RESPONSIBILITY just because you were there and had the opportunity to do something about it?
Because anytime you intervene, that’s what you’re doing. You’re taking responsibility for something you didn’t start and you weren’t involved in to begin with.
Kind of like mental illness. You didn’t start it, you didn’t wake up one day and say to yourself ‘oh, gee, being bipolar sounds interesting; I think I’ll do that’. Truth is, whether you’re suffering from a chemical imbalance or trauma survival, you weren’t involved in it, you were innocent and never, ever asked for it. But you got it, babe. It’s like being on that street corner and hearing a woman scream for help – you’re there, you can’t NOT be there. The only question is, what the fuck are you going to do about it? Are you going to blame the attackers or the victim and say it’s not your fault if she’s raped? So turn that analogy now. The attackers are your mental illness. The victim is anyone you hurt with your mental illness. Are you going to stand there and let it happen without trying? Are you going to blame your mental illness, your labels, for your actions?
I have rheumatoid arthritis. It’s everywhere. There’s just a lot I can’t do anymore. Now, I can disassociate myself from my illness pretty damned easy. I can blame it for a lot; I have in the past, and I’m sure I’ll continue to do so in future. It’s not me, it’s my RA. Yep. But it’s not the RA that can’t go to the clubs, it’s ME. It’s not the RA that can’t pick things up well, it’s ME. I HAVE rheumatoid arthritis, and that limits me in ways.
Just the same, I HAVE mental illnesses, and that limits me in ways. It limits my reactions, and my emotions. It can control my thoughts. It is frightening. My bipolar does not jump out and rant and rave, I do that. My bipolar doesn’t try to purposefully hurt people, I do that. My bipolar does not feel life isn’t worth living, I do. I HAVE bipolar, the same way I have rheumatoid arthritis. It shapes what I do. I’ve learned to work with it the best way I could, and good for me for doing that. Good for all of YOU for doing that.
Bipolar doesn’t rule me.
No more than the fever I had last week ruled me, no more than the rheumatoid arthritis rules me. It’s a condition I live with, like the fever or the RA. That’s all. It’s a fucking condition.
What I am is more than bipolar, more than rheumatoid arthritis. My thoughts and actions are skewed, yes. I have been under tremendous stress, yes. But I am NOT my illnesses. I am the person trying to get through this fog, these illnesses. Yes, I take responsibility for my actions. And I can no more blame myself for my rants, my tirades, my purposeful hurting of others than I can for the aches, pains, and malaise I feel when I’ve got a fever.
There’s a sharp difference there: responsible, but not to blame. I think it’s all about forgiving yourself first. Understanding why you might have done what you did. Seeing the little person in you hurting – ’cause in the end, that’s all it really was or is. Your reactions to you hurting. You do your best to take care of yourself. Now it’s time to forgive yourself.
Because all the rainbows lead right back to you.