Ming has multiple disabilities–one is a learning disability. I’ll mention it to people, and they resist. “He doesn’t seem like he has a learning disability!” they’ll say.
“Yep, he does,” I’ll say. “He got accommodations for it in college.” I’m trying to get legitimacy by noting the accommodations. Like–it’s real. Even a college said it was real.
“He seems fine!” they say.
“Well, he really struggles with that.” It’s like–do you need to see his test results? Do you need to see him cry, from the particular struggle? How bad does it have to be, before you’ll admit you might not know everything?
Some people think it’s a compliment, if they say you don’t seem disabled. “Wow, you hide it so well–you seem like a regular, decent person! Thank you for contorting yourself so I’m not inconvenienced by a lifelong struggle that almost destroys you!”
seen and not seen
It’s like that for the psychiatric stuff I have, sensory sensitivity, and social differences. If I seem fine, that’s because you see me the one and a half hour per day I can be social, struggling to act like a person. You don’t see me horizontal, incapacitated, hiding out the rest of the day, home. I saved all my spoons for the hour and a half, and I will recover afterward for a day or two. Unless you’re Ming, you see none of that.
When I was diagnosed with bipolar I with psychotic features, it was a big deal. My diagnosis was not a fun time–I had been depressed a lot, but my first real manic episode–I don’t really want to tell you about it.
The people who I was closest to then–most are not in my life anymore. A good manic episode can be like that, clearing out my life. Like fasting before an endoscopy, or some furniture in a Rumi poem–like a storm makes the river rage, and clears out some old dams.
The people I loved didn’t like my behavior. Oh well. I think of them, for sure. All the time. Did that marriage need to be destroyed? I guess so.
That happened, and if you didn’t see it, consider yourself lucky. Don’t consider me well, faking it, trying to excuse some icky badness with a diagnosis, exaggerating, mistaken, or scamming the system.
When I told my mom my bipolar I diagnosis, 14 years ago, cautious over the phone, the first thing she said was, “Your dad’s not going to believe it.” Like bipolar I is a newfangled devil worshipping thing?
I’m laughing, but yeah. I made up bipolar I so you’d feel sorry for me. Good job not letting me dupe you into caring for me. As if your sympathy for me is worth hours and days in poverty clinics, to be shuffled from room to room, and fill out 80 pages of forms to get bipolar cocktail pills to sedate the shit out of me, for your safety and mine.
My diagnosis was changed to schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type, a few years later. My browser doesn’t know the word schizoaffective and wants me to correct it to “effectiveness.” That would be cool, if my diagnosis was effectiveness.
My request is respect for disabilities. Please don’t make people prove it to you, or defend themselves. If you believed us, that would be basic kindness, but also basic accuracy.
My friend wrapped this beautiful crystal for me, for my birthday present. It arrived in the mail yesterday. I feel very loved.