By Lori Lane Murphy
There are times when I bore myself silly.
Living with my mental illness is like living with that one person who corners you at every party. You know the one? The one who won’t stop talking. Not only will they not stop talking, they usually have food in stuck in their teeth and you can’t look away.
It is tiring.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I will always speak up about the stigma surrounding mental illness. I will advocate forever. It’s just who I am. That doesn’t mean that that’s all I want to talk about. I have other interests. Lots of them. It’s just that sometimes they get buried underneath the weight of this illness.
My bipolar disorder is like a jealous boyfriend sometimes. Just when I am beginning to cultivate those other interests, he pops up just to make sure I’m still available. He just wants to make sure that I haven’t forgotten that he still has control. I remind myself that I have the control and there are other conversations I want to have.
During those times, I revisit the reservoir deep inside me where I keep my strength. After years of ignoring, negotiating, battling, arguing with my illness I’ve had to hoard my strength for when I really need it. If I use it all at once, I wouldn’t have any left. I’ve learned to “dance” with this illness and use minimal strength to manage, most of the time.
Most of the time, my BPD is like that boring party guest who monopolizes my time. He doesn’t mean any real harm, it’s just that he wants all my attention and I just don’t want to give it. I have other things to do. I want to talk about something other than him. I want to talk about something other than me.
Heck, I want to get invited to a different party and leave this guy at the curb.
I accept that this “person” is part of my life, but once in awhile, I wish he would just stay home.