Bipolar 2 From Inside and Out

I was depressed even as a child. I may have been manicky too, but I don’t remember that. Unless you count the anxiety. (I had weird fears – for example, that someone might toss a lit cigarette out of a car window just as another car with a leaky gas tank went by and there would be a huge explosion and fire. Stuff like that.)

I won’t say that bullying caused my mental condition, because I now know that brain chemistry is the more likely culprit. But bullying certainly made it worse.

In addition to the usual taunts about “cooties,” my appearance, and my complete cluelessness about social skills, I was singled out because I was smart and liked school and didn’t hide it.

As I look back on it, some of the bullying now seems extreme.

There was the boy who chased me around the playground, threatening me with what he claimed was a hypodermic needle.

There were the kids at the bus stop who threw rocks at me while I tried to pretend it was a game of dodge-rock. Never being good at sports, I came out of that episode with three stitches in my forehead. I don’t know which upset me more, but by the end of it all, I was hysterical. And not the good, funny kind.

And there was my best friend and the birthday party. The party was for her younger sister and all the attendees were about that same age. My BFF and I were supposed to be supervising, I guess. But while I was blindfolded, demonstrating Pin the Tail on the Donkey, she kicked me in the ass. Literally. In front of all those younger kids.

This resulted in what I now realize was my first breakdown (meltdown, freak-out, whatever you call it). Naturally I ran home sobbing, and spent nearly a week curled in a fetal position, alternately crying my eyes out and going numb. I stayed like that until I saw my mother crying. Then I got up, went down the street and yelled at the (by now former) BFF for indirectly making my mother cry.

It’s a wonder I’m not a spree killer today. But we’ll go into that some other time.

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