I will start with the stock phrase- you’re born alone, you die alone. But when I think about it, more and more, it becomes the truth. Since childhood, we have been taught to put other people’s needs first. Society first, always.
“If you don’t be like them, they aren’t going to like you.”
Act this way. Dress that way. Walk this way. Talk that way. Eat this way. Dream that way. Think this way. And be this robotic person who’s now one of us.
And we have kept on giving and giving, the parts of us slowly consumed by others. It goes on till the body gives up, and then we’re gone. Just like that. Poof.
We’re gone alone. Lonely in this life, and lonely in that.
Why am I saying all this? Well, there’s of course a reason. I want to share what I know about life, about society, about us. I want to unveil that part where my mental illness has proved to be an exceptional mentor sometimes, instead of the evil disease it actually is.
When I was first diagnosed with depression, everything became much harder for me. And I thought this is it, this is the way I’ll be for the rest of my life. Little did I know that my brain had other plans for me. I was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
For the longest time I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat, couldn’t walk or talk, couldn’t work, couldn’t love all the things I once enjoyed. Couldn’t be what society asked me to be. It was terror and nightmare, every single day. Sometimes the unholy twinge of pain, some days just gone by crying, for reasons unknown.
Of course, the only reason for me was I am missing my mother. But that was simple, that was normal.
What happened to me was far from “normal”.
My mental illness brings isolation, from family, friends, the world. I alienated myself from the society we live in. The society that dictates and decides for us. The society that tells us what to do, what to think, how to think.
That was a happy moment for me, I realize today. Why? Because, I was alone but it didn’t bother me as much as it should.
I didn’t put others first anymore. Started learning how to deal with my own mind. Started expecting less from people who’d eventually let me down. Started loving my solitude more than anything else.
And in the midst of my detached soul, I somehow felt a yearning for myself. On spur of a moment I was awake. I was alone, yes. But I wasn’t lonely anymore. Because I had myself.
I simply wasn’t the person society wanted me to be.
I was wrong for everyone. I lost friends who’d only take advantage of me, I lost relatives who’d give me unsolicited advice. I lost all that baggage of trying to be perfect when I look back now. It doesn’t make me sad. In fact, it doesn’t make me feel anything.
What I would have done for others, I did for myself.
Act. Dress. Walk. Talk. Eat. Dream. Think.- It was all me.
Even though I was going through the turmoil of having bipolar disorder. And the roller coaster of mood swings that never quit.
Excuse me though, if it all starts sounding narcissistic. I am not a narcissist. I only put myself first, not what the world thinks of me. As I embraced my loneliness, things started getting a little easier with time. I counted on myself just a little more every day.
This doesn’t change the fact that I still go through the crippling low of depression. Or the extreme high of mania. This doesn’t change the fact that I am battling my disease every day. This doesn’t change the fact that I hate my pillbox every day.
This means I find my own company a lot more comfortable.
In the course of life, I found people around me, who accepted me for who I am. And I love them for being my support system. It is enough.
I’ll quote Bukowski, “I’ve never been lonely. I’ve been in a room — I’ve felt suicidal. I’ve been depressed. I’ve felt awful — awful beyond all — but I never felt that one other person could enter that room and cure what was bothering me…or that any number of people could enter that room. In other words, loneliness is something I’ve never been bothered with because I’ve always had this terrible itch for solitude. It’s being at a party, or at a stadium full of people cheering for something, that I might feel loneliness.”
Millions of people are trying to make others happy, giving them the power over themselves. And in return they get nothing. Broken, they go on with their lives until the others come back for more. The cycle never stops.
All I learnt is it is necessary to embrace the truth about yourself, be your own person. Only then the world will.