Girls Like Me

kb-icelandThe other day, my parents were talking in the kitchen. My dad said that maybe they were too critical of me when I was growing up. He said that maybe kids ought to be praised more. My mom said that they might have been critical but I turned out okay, that I’m a good person anyway. I just felt like crying. Because there were many times when things didn’t turn out okay.

Things didn’t turn out okay when I used to abuse alcohol in high school and college with guys who it turns out were not my friends, and to this day I still have self-destructive urges to get so fucking faded I start telling everyone my writing is meaningless crap. I guess it’s okay that I have good values. I believe that love should win. I believe in equal rights and social justice. And I believe all this because I don’t want any girl to grow up the way I did. Feeling like I didn’t matter. Because it wasn’t okay that I used to wish I hadn’t been born. And that I hadn’t been born a girl.

Because in my family, when I was growing up, girls needed to be controlled and protected so they wouldn’t be bad or make mistakes or have feelings. Because there would be consequences. Like mothers who blamed you for being such a bad girl you almost caused them a heart attack, or slapped you across the face for talking back with SARCASM, or called you a bitch in heat, or threw you out of the house because you wouldn’t break up with your fabulously eventual ex-boyfriend. When I was growing up, girls who wrote in their diaries that they dreamed about kissing a boy were told they were malicious and ought to be ashamed of themselves. Have you no shame? their mothers screamed.

Girls like me, do you remember those times? If you’ve been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, I’m here to tell you there’s nothing wrong with you. You have an illness, and it’s not your fault. You deserve the best. You deserve to shine. And you will always deserve better.

Because, girl, you matter.

Because there’s no shame in being mentally ill

Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse, #2016 yet again snuffed out another bright star in the galaxy, but for many fans Carrie Fisher will live on in their own light. I will remember Carrie Fisher not only as the fierce, heroic Princess Leia in Star Wars, but also as a mental health advocate who spoke about her battle with Bipolar Disorder. I can tell you many of my mentally ill friends looked up to her and admired her, because she was one of us.

Fisher has been unusually outspoken for years about her mental health battles, something many fans mourned when Fisher died at age 60 on Tuesday after suffering a heart attack several days earlier on an airplane. The actress talked candidly about bipolar disorder and her treatments and how they affected her life. She acknowledged there was still a stigma when talking about mental health, but she wanted to help fight it.

“I am mentally ill. I can say that. I am not ashamed of that. I survived that, I’m still surviving it, but bring it on,” Fisher told ABC News.

Source: Carrie Fisher, the inspiring mental health advocate: ‘I am mentally ill. . . . I am not ashamed of that’

My story is a little different. Though I am no longer ashamed about being diagnosed with Bipolar I Disorder and having been hospitalized multiple times, I have felt shame and embarrassment about being so ill and disabled. I dislike feeling vulnerable and weak, and I also felt guilty and unworthy of sympathy. I was living in the Bay Area when I was first hospitalized, I was no longer able to work, and I soon ran out of money to pay for my health insurance and treatment. I didn’t want to go home so I borrowed money from my parents.
Continue reading “Because there’s no shame in being mentally ill”

Disabled Dreams

I’ve been having trouble writing for a couple years now. I started up this blog in hopes that blogging will start up my writing. I need to write a book, whether it’s a novel or a memoir. I just need to feel like I’m doing something with my life. It’s depressing that I’m not doing anything meaningful, that I’m not creating, that I’m not achieving my longtime dream of being a writer and getting published. I used to want to make a living as a writer. Instead, I have been disabled by mental illness, and I don’t know if I’ll ever make my dreams come true. If I were manic, I would probably be writing a lot. But sometimes I don’t even know if it’s worth it anymore, if it really matters.