Saturday, November 3, 2012

mask-free and fearful

I love this image. It's the perfect portrayal of life for many people with bipolar I and II, as well as other mood disorders.

Always changing, one extreme emotion to the next. I'm not talking about normal fluctuations. I'm talking about the kind that effect work, sleep, relationships, general well being and ability to function.

A lot of people change faces, but not their expression. A smile might become a frown, but you'd never guess what's really going on under that mask they feel that have to wear.

I've been on a soapbox lately about these masks.
I've been trying to live authentically; mask-free. It's a lot easier to do in writing. But face to face? That's where masks come in most handy.

The hardest part? The fear of stigma. I've been really struggling for about two months now. Again, it's easy in writing. Mood logging and blogging. That's comfortable for me. But face to face? Mask-free?

As soon as I reach a point I'm ready to remove the mask...
To show my I-am-not-okay-and-need-your-help face...

Something happens. Or happened recently, I should say.

Last week I had to send out a text to couple of trusted Godly men saying something along the lines of, "I'm sick. I kinda don't want to be alive right now..."

And as difficult as it was to get to that place of reaching out like that, I find it almost just as difficult to share the relief I feel today.  

I know. You read that correctly. Weird, right?
If I completely live mask-free, you're going to see my face.
My real face. The one that's always changing.

There are these people. I log into FaceBook and see them daily. Literally within one hour they post about being the happiest person in the world to being a devastated victim to a cruel world full of crueler people.

Unfairly so, I judge them. It's in my nature. "Drama," I think. "They're all drama."
Yet I don't want you to think or feel that way about me.
Which, this judgy thing, it really gives me something else to work on...

I say I want to live mask-free, but I'm fearful.
I have a lot of faces. They change a lot.
What does that say about me?
And what will that make you say about me?

But regardless, here goes...

I had a spiritual experience last night.
I feel close to God and to other people again.
Today has been good.
I feel joy and hope.

My face has changed. 
Literally, overnight.

This smile is not a mask. It's real.

I am fearful though. Fearful this rapid change ultimately means I'm crazy.
That I'm one of those people. Drama.
Fearful you will think I'm crazy and one of those people.

Fearful this is all just a fluke and I'll wake up tomorrow back in a pit of despair.

But for now? I've committed to just rolling with it.
I feel good. I'm throwing caution to the wind and running with it.

My face. Smiling. No mask. Honest smiling.

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