Are you insulted by people who don’t have OCD/bipolar/ADD/etc. saying they are having moments that involve those mental illnesses? Then this article probably isn’t for you, because I’m about to write about my mental illness with a dash of humor.
My parents probably think I’m crazy by this point. And I don’t mean the fun “Jessie? Oh she’s craaaazy” type of crazy that your friends might use to describe your mad dancing skills at the club. I mean straight-up-bordering-on-a-check-in-to-the-loony-bin crazy. I’m sure they love me. My parents are amazing and supportive. They’ve seen me through a lot and they really raised me right. And I’m sure my mother’s constant need to check in to see if I’m taking my meds is coming from a good place.
See, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder a couple years ago. This was actually a relief because it gave me some insight into my brain chemistry and why I acted or felt the way I did at times. My anchor and his daughter suffer from ADHD. My son was recently diagnosed with SPD – sensory processing disorder – which can be on the autism spectrum depending on other things going on with the child in question. So we are not immune to mental illness and its repercussions in this household. We are also not overly sensitive about it.
When I get distracted while my boyfriend is trying to talk to me I have no problem laughing and saying, “ADD moment. Please repeat yourself!” to him. When I’m buzzing around the house at midnight starting an art project while I clean the bathroom and read a book while watching a show on Netflix, he has no issue saying to me, “Hey, feeling manic?” And when my son gets upset about his hands being wet, he has no issues with saying, “It’s my SPD acting up. Can I have a towel?”
Have we become too hard on others? Have we lost our sense of humor in an effort to be non-offensive? Being non-offensive is a noble goal, don’t get me wrong. It’s also an impossible one. Unless you live your life walking on eggshells, chances are you will find someone somewhere who finds something you did or said or some way you acted to be offensive. Maybe it’s not even something you have control over. Maybe it’s the color of your skin, where you were born, your “insert any popular buzzword here”.
I guess I choose to live my life differently than some, and that’s okay. I try to be a good person, to live up to my own ideals, and to follow the golden rule. I teach my son to do the same – treat others how you want to be treated. I also like to enjoy life and have a sense of humor about what it throws at me. Am I going to live my life being upset and offended that I have this awful mental illness that people sometimes make fun of? Or am I going to show my son that it’s okay to join in the laughter, and then maybe use that as a teaching moment for some?
The saying “you catch more flies with honey” has never been more true as when you are trying to educate people about difficult subjects or discuss them. Mental illness, especially in the United States, can be one of those difficult subjects. So when I say I’m having an OCD/ADD/SPD/Manic moment or when I hear others say it, it’s easier for me to laugh, knowing that I have the one-up even on these people who are perhaps doing it cruelly (and who are few and far between). I have humor. I have the ability to laugh at myself and with others. I have happiness in my world. And for that, every day I am thankful. I am thankful for the anxiety which has made me feel alive at times. I am thankful for the depression, which has made me sympathetic to others and able to empathize with them. I am thankful for the bouts of mania that go along with my bipolar (when else would I get my entire house clean in one night??). I am thankful I am the mother I am so that I can teach my son all these things as well. And then I just smile….at how fortunate I truly am.