Who Am I?
I just had a rather eye-opening conversation with Dave. In the time since I've gotten back from Michigan, we've been talking pretty regularly--building up our friendship, I thought. We haven't hung out other than lunch at Mickey D's one day--because he's been "so busy," he said. Well, today he admitted to me that he wasn't ready to see me again, because of the events of "that night." He just can't get past them, basically. And when I reminded him of all the GOOD times we had, whether it was the Keys or Vegas or just sitting around his house, drinking wine, playing cards and watching the Sopranos, he said, "Yeah, well, you're not that person anymore."
At which point I dissolved into tears.
I guess that's the part about all of this that bothers me the most. All my life, I've been a certain person. This person has been a lot of things, from pretty damn funny to very serious to incredibly sweet and loving to flighty and undependable to incredibly exasperating to wildly unpredictable to absolutely terrifying to be around. And for almost half my life, I've been repeatedly diagnosed with BD--and, as you all know, I just couldn't do anything about it until recently. I couldn't admit, even to myself, that I might be "crazy" (which is how I STILL look at it). And do you know that he still feels that I "lied to him" by not telling him about these past diagnoses?
And once I DID get to that point--you know why I finally sought help? To stay ME. To stay the Jen whom most people knew and loved, the me that most people saw, the me who I was about 95% of the time. I'm on medication to be able to FIND myself again, instead of the Jen that people saw "that night". I got help because I wanted to be that "me" as much as I possibly could be, and to reduce the amount of time that I was the out-of-control Jen.
And to hear someone whom I loved so much, whom I used to be so close to, basically erase everything we had and say that I was no longer the same person because of this diagnosis--well, that cut pretty deeply.
It makes me wonder, frankly, why I'm getting help at all, why I'm on the meds. If the people who knew me before insist on hanging onto that 3-hour segment of time, if THAT'S how they define me, rather than all that truly wonderful time that came before it....then what is it all for?
This is not in any way to make him the bad guy. I know that that night was absolutely horrible for him. I know that he's STILL dealing with the emotional fallout. However, for the most part, his life is back to normal. I'm the one who is still picking up the pieces, each and every day. Twice a day, when I have to take my pills, I'm reminded of WHY I'm taking them, of the destruction I had to cause before I got to the point of seeking help. I carry that around with me all the time, every minute of every day. I hate myself for having let myself get to that point before I sought help. And I wish I could have done it sooner--I truly do--but I just COULDN'T. It just makes me feel like he doesn't understand ANYTHING about this disease or the strength it's taken me YEARS to build up before I could get to the point of admitting I had this and seeking help.
One of the reasons so many people resist going on drugs is because they don't want to lose themselves. Good or bad, right or wrong, BD plays a HUGE role in your personality--not just the crazy, out-of-control, "psycho" times, but the good ones, too--the ones where you're even MORE outgoing, MORE social, the "life of the party," very funny and fun to be around...that's part of it, too. And as anyone who's been around me for more than 5 minutes knows, I pride myself on being sarcastic and, I like to think, humorous. I LOVE to make people laugh. And yes, when I went on the meds, I thought--will I LOSE that? Will that part of my personality be erased as these meds "stablize" me?
But I've been on them now long enough to know that, thank God, that part of my personality wasn't the BD talking--that was ME. That's who I am. For the first time, I KNOW who I am. I AM funny, and sarcastic, and loving, and sensitive--and guess what? I still have a short temper! Yes, that's right--I'm not perfect!! *gasp* The meds don't eliminate ALL my flaws....but they do keep them under control.
And for someone to take 5 months of good and reduce it to "you're not that same person anymore"--well, it just shows me that not only do they not know this disease, but they don't know ME.
PS--I know Dave sometimes reads this blog so I don't want anyone slamming him on here (that's what email's for, ha ha), but please call me out if I AM being unreasonable. Because the way HE makes it sound, his friends all think he's a saint for NOT having me arrested that night and they're shocked that he even still lowers himself to speaking to me. Am I expecting too much, or should someone who loves you unconditionally do just that--with no "limits" on the friendship? Am I asking too much to expect more than just a "friendship at arm's length" kind of thing? I say that I deserve more than that; he says I'm lucky to have that much. What do you think? All I know is that lately, talking to him has been upsetting me even more, because I feel so unimportant in his life. Am I dealing with everything okay? Yeah, I think so. I'm kicking ass, actually. But I also deserve to have people around me who love me no matter what and who will still be there for me completely, just not from afar.
Or maybe not.