I watched an anime a couple weeks ago called Nokome and the whole situation was relatable to me & my mental health. It follows a boy who was cursed with what he called “Absolute Choice.” This curse would randomly pop up a ‘choice’ that he had to pick and act on or suffer a neverending migraine. These choices were not fun by any means, even if they kind of sounded like it here and there. The first example that comes to mind is, while he was in the middle of his classroom talking to a girl: CHOOSE 1. Ask to see her boobies 2. Pinch your nipples and offer to show her your boobies.
These choices confronted him everywhere, like laying on the teacher’s desk and acting like a pig being tortured or sniffing a pervy magazine in a playground. It’s no wonder he was made a part of the rejects. However, he’s not the one to help make my point. The school psychologist is a graduate of that same curse. She’s little, outspoken, playing video games at school events, etc. etc. During one of their conversations, she said that before she had the curse she was a normal woman, proper, well-spoken, polite, all that she is not anymore. She doesn’t care.
She doesn’t care because she was embarrassed in public and to her self so many times in inured her to her new self.
I and many of you can think of an experience that can provide that same freedom. The two in my life are a being special needs parent or being special needs yourself. Before I went low functioning I had some practice on not giving a frack; I had a daughter with hearing loss, dysphasia, & sensory processing disorder. As she grew out of being a baby it started to ramp up, meltdowns were bigger, crying was harder, screaming was louder, all the things that make you hide your head when all the other parents stared. I learned not to care very quickly, even going so far to get little business cards that told people to educate themselves with helpful links. Once I did that, I changed my mindset from ‘omg what are they thinking’ to ‘they can go f themselves’, on her behalf. My own is less of a motivator.
When I had my break from high to low functioning with psychosis it took a bit longer. I would be in public laughing or crying for no reason, fidgeting, bouncing, having parts of my body going stiff, saying inane things, and many more fun embarrassing things. I hated it. I talked with my husband every night for ages. How I didn’t know who I was anymore. Why my body betrayed me. Why my mind is ruled by a child. Why I keep jumping every time I hallucinate a phone ringing or someone coming into a room. During this time, in my moments of clarity, my internal dialogue was one of self-judgment. Sarah, from the UK, said it best, “The shame of losing your mind is great and also acting out of character shatters your self-esteem.”
Now that I’m in a calm period, thank you lithium, all those things in life that were a primary concern: to be proper or better or neater, just don’t matter to me as much anymore. I’m not wearing makeup every day anymore. I don’t feel the same level of shame or embarrassment at crying in public or other public actions. The one that lingers is not being able to say what I mean or a random lie comes out to stop people from hearing I have Bipolar. That one little lie that makes all the behaviors normal. A lot of times it’s a shift, speaking of my low cortisol as the reason, not my mental health. I am not ready to be loud & proud yet.