We went to a live music show – he snuck me in because we couldn’t score tickets. (Don’t judge. I was just along for the ride.) We were having a good time, watching the venue fill up, sipping on drinks.
Then we met two foreign chicks – older than us, but attractive. The male roommate likes attractive. As conversation usually goes, they asked what both of us did. My roommate explained that he ran a music tour bus company. Then all eyes were on me. I said, “I am a writer and a blogger.” They asked what I blogged about and I told them mental health because I have bipolar disorder, OCD, and anxiety.
They LITERALLY took a step back away from me.
It was as though they didn’t know what to say and whatever it was that did come out of their mouths was ridiculous. And I, Elaina J, author of a memoir and this blog – Being Beautifully Bipolar – felt embarrassed. It was that shame I use to feel before I came out of the “bipolar closet.” It was like I was defective and scary. So, I excused myself to the bathroom where I pulled my shit together because I know that I am a valuable human being who has a lot to offer this world.
Not just a label.
Not just “crazy.”
My roommate brought up the incident the next day and I will write about that next time, as his reaction surprised me.
Sigh, stigma is everywhere – the workplace, within families, among friends, with strangers you meet at a concert. Be prepared for it, but don’t let it hurt you. You have an illness, a recognized illness of the mind, and it isn’t your fault and you have no need to apologize for it.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net