How did we get here?
We have come to accept an origin story of sorts from characters, real and imagined. The origin story itself is the type of myth that enthralls you to commit. You must follow what happens and you hope that good things happen to good people. There’s this excitement in finding out and being there for it.
Myth building is legendary in societies near and far. Our popular culture is rife with it. We care that Batman continues to fight evil, because of the terrible loss of his parents. I’m not even a comic book fan, but the example is simple to follow. Another example story line is the rags to riches fantasies that play out over and over in tv and movies. Nobody tells you that you are going to win the lotto and lose it all gambling, but that’s another possibility of an origin story.
My intent is to connect the pieces with ingenuity and hope; there is truth here, but more importantly, a message.
Beware, triggers are associated with reality. As long as you are okay with that, then you can proceed.
We find moments within moments that enable us to just be. What do I mean by “be”? Life is easier when you aren’t having to be something, as in appearing and behaving in a manner that doesn’t necessarily make us feel comfortable with ourselves. To some extent, there are societal conformity norms like we can’t wear underwear on our heads and avoid attention at the same time, but that’s not what I am talking about. Being yourself is not just one thing, but it is a sense of freedom and pride to “be yourself”. To be yourself is what you say you want in your relationships.
What does it mean to be yourself?
If I am alone, do I need to be myself? Aren’t I just myself? If I am with you, will you appreciate that you can be yourself?
My theory on the matter is that whoever you are, so long as you are a good person, then labels shouldn’t matter. I try to live this way. It seems easy to do when it has to do with other people, but for some reason, I can’t seem to cut myself any slack.
Don’t get me wrong, most days I don’t remember that I have earned or accepted a list of medical terms that don’t help me to live my life (better or differently). These labels don’t do anything, except help me dwell on the so-called experience of what it is like. If you don’t also have a slew of labels then you may not know what I am talking about.
Sam Hates Bipolar
A few weeks ago she discovered something she believed to be new information. This information wasn’t new, but that was unbeknownst to her. Imagine you learn that you have a health condition, one that is talked about a lot. That’s not the shocking part, but the way she found out is.
It’s 2021 so we are all supposed to be a bit more sensitive to what it means to care for our mental health. Sam has been dealing with her own mental health issues off and on, and mostly on, her entire adult life.
This decidedly new label shouldn’t come as a complete shock to a middle-aged woman who has had a myriad of mental health labels stacked upon her, beginning when she declared her adult-hood and mental health-hood (at age 21).
Sam was working arduously to stay on-task in her household management responsibilities relationship with her spouse; taking care of household bills and appointments, including people-related stuff like medical appointments and insurance crap.
At any rate, she was rummaging through the big insurance brand patient portal and found a diagnosis page.
Good lord, what the fuck?!?
“It’s not the label…”, she tries to calm herself.
Needless to say, Sam had never seen a list with dates and such of all her diagnosis through the years. This didn’t have to be something she dove into, but just as expected from a fatalist, she began speaking the list aloud. The archive read like bad anti-romance literature. There is no nuance, and there are oddly placed breaks here and there.
Major Depressive Disorder, Recurring episode,
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Sphenoidal Sinusitis, Maxillary Sinusitis, Chronic Ethmoidal Sinusitis
Major Depressive Disorder, Recurring episode,
Sinus Infection, Seasonal Allergies
Adjustment Disorder with Mixed Anxiety and Depressed Mood
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Chronic
Sam read the list of conditions that were imposed upon her in the recent past. She became frozen, both surprised and angry but unable to connect to anything or anyone. How could this be?
It wouldn’t be that moment, just finding out she was diagnosed Bipolar (again), that she would come to realize the irony. Her mind was racing and yet, she was telling herself all about the logic and intelligence that she had. She was telling herself that she’s educated and thought she listened when a medical professional threw another label out for her.
Sam would turn to her partner that evening when they were ready to lean in. Sam said to Cle’, “Do you remember me being diagnosed bipolar?”. “Yeah, like four times. Four times you fired the doctor and said that never happened before.”
Scorn of disbelief washed over her face, “What?!!? How can that be?? I don’t remember that?!” “There was that ONE TIME, that I said that weird doctor who I didn’t like asked me if I had been diagnosed before. But I told him no, and never went back because it doesn’t make sense to throw a label on someone. He’s not even a shrink!”
“I don’t know why you’re getting mad at me…you asked about that.”
“I’M NOT MAD!”
Sam stormed around the house trying to disappear the moment from reality. Cle’ would step in and be the primary carer for their kid at home. Sam tries to appreciate her dutiful partner, but when it gets like this, he’s better off standing aside and waiting for the storm to pass.
Sam is doing what Sam does, and though she knows it, she can’t make it stop. The senses have all been riled, and she feels this misfortune over every square centimeter of her mind. It’s not just negative self-talk, there’s this hateful-ugly relationship she has with herself. She tells herself, why did you lie to me? Why are you letting me be a fool? How can I be walking around for years now with bipolar, and I don’t even know about it? It’s just words, those doctors suck. Why would a doctor not tell me a diagnosis? Why did I open that tab of conditions named to me on my big company health insurance site?
Stewing in her own disregard of the health system and the translation of the words that were bestowed to her, the rest of the week would be wrecked.
This story is the Prequel to “Aftermath of an Anxiety Attack”.