When Your Feelings Are “Wrong”

IMG_4423Anyone who reads this blog knows I have suffered from extremely severe depression and bipolar disorder my entire life. It’s a very difficult and sobering reality—knowing my brain does not function like most people’s brains…that no medication, therapy, or magical fairy dust is ever going to cure me. I don’t have a reality outside of perpetual sadness and no one has ever figured out the cause of this crippling agony. The only description I’ve ever heard that even comes close to what I feel at times is William Styron’s account of his first episode in Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness.   Styron states that it is “beyond description”…which is pretty damn accurate. “I experienced a curious inner convulsion that I can describe only as despair beyond despair…I did not think such anguish possible…what makes the condition intolerable is the foreknowledge that no remedy will come…It is the hopelessness even more than pain that crushes the soul.”

An element Styron does not explore is the fact that someone suffering from mental illness is constantly told his or her feelings are wrong. Not only do I hate myself, but this self-hatred is validated by the simple fact that my peers don’t hate themselves as much as I do. Today my friend told me I should find myself as awesome as he does and reminded me I have so many reasons to smile…and I had to explain why comments like his make me cry. I realize I should be grateful for the life I have, but it just isn’t enough to hush the demons. My feelings are valid and they are not wrong—they are just mine. They are not warm and fuzzy. They do not shut out my past and focus on a bright and sunny future. But they are a reflection of who I am and what I experience. I’m allowed to feel what I feel and no one should feel ashamed of refuse to acknowledge such a huge part of who/what they are.

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