I found myself wondering yesterday evening, as I stepped into the shower about an hour before my first Bipolar Support Group started, “Why am I going?? I don’t like people. I have all the support I need between my blog and my family and friends who know. WHY AM I GOING?”. Surprisingly, the answer flowed from my elusive brain:
I want to see what they look like. I want to see just how sick I am compared to them.
Honest thoughts like that from me are hard to come by. Most of them are centered around pleasing someone, and as emotional as I am, I am not very in touch with MY feelings. Recognizing this has knocked me back a little. It feels like a huge realization that is going to change the way I think. It has, in this short time. I can feel myself care less about if someone is judging me. Its odd…Im still trying to figure it out…another day, another blog.
I was incredibly nervous going to this meeting. I found a parking spot quickly, and made my way to the nearest elevator. There was an older woman in a pink shirt that rode to the 2nd floor with me. She carried on to wherever while I asked the nearest nurse where room C is.
I stopped down the hall from the room. I had to decide now if I wanted to see what was in there. I kicked my ass and walked in.
And there’s the lady from the elevator. She joked and asked if I was following her. I didn’t have to spend much time scanning the room, there was only a total of 4 people there. All older (40+).
Sigh. No one in a straight jacket. No one trying to chew their ear, or screaming, or my personal manic favorite – soliciting for sex.
There ended up being 10 including me. I was the youngest. I wasn’t the craziest. Or the least crazy. Trust, I quietly surveyed everyone. My first check was for wedding bands. Aside from the two partnered gay women sitting across from me, I was the only one wearing one
In 15 years, when I’m their age, will I no longer be wearing one? Do I, do we, have the equivalent of the plauge of marriage? I gathered after hearing everyone’s introduction that they had all been diagnosed later in life. I comforted myself with thinking about how I caught it early and am dedicated to therapy and my medication.
I was fully prepared to say that I don’t want to talk. But I found myself eager to share after hearing a few intros: painful, and embarrassing. I listened and watched everything there was to listen to and watch. Clothing, eye movement, voice, sentence structure, and confusion or delay in their story, and most importantly, what their eyes were saying.
Some eyes were sad. Defeated. Hollow. Wild. Angry. Frustrated. I saw myself in every single one of them. They saw themselves in each other as well. There was an understanding. And it was the least judgmental place I have ever been. They knew when someone was feeling low, when someone hadn’t taken their Meds. They asked how the other’s surgery went, and sent a Happy Birthday to another group member’s dog.
There was a sense of protection there. It was special. It just was.
They were people Ive probably seen around town, and they are struggling just like me. They get crazy just like me. They have a temper just like me. I always thought I was a rare breed…
But I found others. Just like me.