I saw this pass-along the other day and felt compelled to, well, pass it along.
It reminded me of a lot of things. Things I try not to remember.
Not all scars show. Some of mine do. The one where kids threw a rock at me, requiring seven stitches in my forehead. The ones where I cut myself. (I’ll write more about that later.)
Others don’t. I’ve often described my relationship with Rex as a train wreck. People wonder why I haven’t gotten over it, all these years later. It was the sort of train wreck in which you lose pieces of yourself, some of them irreplaceable. These scars aren’t the visible kind.
Not all wounds heal. Especially the wounds that happen when you’re too young to know how to treat them. Cutting words. Emotional bruises. Neglect. Loneliness. There are no bandages that can cover them, no ointments that can soothe them, no miracle cures.
Not all illness can be seen. If we’re high-functioning or have learned enough coping mechanisms, others may not notice. But bipolar disorder – and other mental illnesses – are, if not immediately visible, lurking just below the surface. And ready to break through at any time.
Not all pain is obvious. But it can leak out, especially around the eyes.
Remember this before passing judgment on another. But judgment-passing is practically an Olympic sport these days, along with shaming.
Scars. Wounds. Illness. Pain. These are things that those of us with mental disorders know all too well. What if our conditions are chemical imbalances in our brains? The consequences of having them, the misunderstandings they cause, the messages we receive, the behaviors we can’t understand or control or mimic, the friends we lose, the opportunities and joys we miss out on, are very real. And don’t let anyone tell you different.
Our disorders may be in our brains, but they’re not all in our heads.
But you knew that, didn’t you?