…for all the world, we would not wish to be cured of this thing that has rendered us for the better part of twenty years humiliated and destroyed. Bipolar disorder is the fire in which we were forged. And it renders us heirs to the greatest cultural fortune the world has ever known, one of innovation, intensity, beauty, and joy.
What I finally understand is that the stories for and about people like us are not real. They are borne of fear and control. They are ghost stories authored by people who haven’t the courage to place their fingers upon the planchette, never mind open themselves to the apparition.
I think in our culture the concern is twofold: An inability to imagine and thus, empathize with the disorienting and untenable aspects of mental illness and, conversely, a preference to see one’s own life as exemplary, rather than ordinary.
Sane privilege is a thing, and like any other unmerited and unexamined grace, it leaves the sane person with a feeling of superiority, an arrogance that prevents said person from identifying with the crazy person beyond irritated tolerance or pity. It also results in the misunderstanding of bipolar sensitivity, which is not softness, nor a relinquishment of might, but a deeply nuanced and often synesthetic ability to engage with rapt focus every little thing.
Go now and read TS author Piper J. Daniels’s new essay, “Crazy Love,” at Entropy Magazine.