Sorry ’bout my Church

I’m not going to be posting this one to my Facebook. That is what drives the majority of traffic from my friends and family, and most of them are still True-Believing Mormons (TBMs). Let this serve as a warning if you are – this may not be the kind of message you want to read right now. It is not friendly toward the LDS church, though I do my best to keep it reasonable.

This needs to be said. I would prefer it be said by the LDS Church, but I can at least throw in my own voice.

I’ve recently tried on some new lenses when it comes to the Church in which I was born and raised. I can see many of the harmful and insensitive teachings that are propagated by the LDS Church which hurt both its members and outsiders.

Isolation/Elitism

As far as authoritarian beliefs go, the Church is fairly progressive. All decent people go to heaven. The only ones who go to any kind of hell are extremely off the deep end – so much so that we are encouraged to not judge anyone of being worthy of going there (though we all secretly believe Hitler is).

This kind of inclusive belief explains our work for the dead by proxy – Church members perform “saving ordinances” like baptism on a live person, filling in the name of a dead person whose records have been recovered through Geneology work. It is explained that this gives the person’s spirit the opportunity to accept this ordinance (and blessings that come with it) in the afterlife. It is even taught that after Christ’s second coming, more of these ordinances will be performed until we have offered salvation to all people(s).

Comparatively (in the Christian world, at least), these practices can be seen as fairly inclusive, even kind. But the buck doesn’t stop there.

While Mormons are generally taught to value truth and seek it out, they are also brainwashed (there is no better word I can think of) into fearing and avoiding any and all information that may conflict with the teachings of the Church. Outside resources are to be shunned, or at the very least they are considered “less than” official Church ones.

Members consistently refer to the rest of the world as “the World”. It’s very much an “Us vs. Them” worldview. Individual members will vary wildly in their humility and acceptance of others, but all of them display at least a hint that their lifestyle and choices are higher and better than the norm.

It does make sense when you consider Utah history. The Church came out here and created an isolated pocket. Here, they were able to do anything that seemed desirable without any checks against their behavior – and thus polygamy was born. Powerful, rich, and influential men were able to come up with a doctrine that enabled them to sleep around and still be considered righteous.

Practices of polygamy were even taught to be necessary in order to make it to the highest level of heaven. Now the Church distances itself from this practice entirely. There are several ways we try to obfuscate these past teachings – some members explain that it was an eternal law at one point, but that God wanted us to get along with our neighbors, and so he commanded that the practice be stopped.

Even after members were supposed to have stopped, the practice was continued secretly in many places. These people were led to believe that they lived a “higher law” and were charged with the calling to keep the practice alive. Other members, even those who didn’t practice polygamy, knew to keep their mouth shut and ask no questions. This does a lot in explaining the secrecy, the “Us vs. Them” mentality, the persecution complex, and the concept of living a “higher law” that permeate the Mormon community.

I’m sorry for our elitism. I’m sorry if you have been hurt or excluded by this. Some people were unable to attend our wedding ceremony because it happened in the temple – I am so sorrowful that this was the case. Some of my exes (most of which are not Mormon) have undoubtedly been hurt by some of this exclusion or elitism that must have come through in my words and actions – I am responsible for and extremely sorry for this.

Insensitivity and Discrimination

This extends naturally from the first. Church members and leaders cling to ancient Puritanical beliefs that make certain acts, beliefs, or even natural physical aspects of being human out to be evil stains upon our souls. E.g. masturbation, homosexuality, transgender, depression, scientific study, progressivism, academic integrity and etc.

There are certain talks by certain Mormon Apostles which have led almost directly to suicide. I believe most of these are related to homosexuality and masturbation. These normal conditions and acts are continually demonized – both can easily disqualify you for a mission, a temple recommend, or even the opportunity to partake of the Sacrament ordinance each Sunday.

TBMs will explain this away. Gay members can still do these things if they do not participate in authentic relationships and/or sexual acts. This is why I included “insensitivity”. Though the Church has recently become a bit more accepting (at least officially) of Gays and Lesbians, they are expected to throw away that aspect of their life and either be celibate or marry heterosexually.

I am sorry for our insensitivity. I know I myself have been insensitive, especially toward Gays and Lesbians. I never once in my life believed that they were less than, but I was always conflicted about what I was taught and what I truly thought and believed – that these are people. And if I believe people have worth, or if I believe Christ loves everyone – he obviously loves them too.

Of course, I was still uncomfortable with the idea of homosexuality and/or transgender. I attribute this to some of the cognitive dissonance between my beliefs and the things I was taught. Also, some of this was obviously my lack of exposure. Until I was old enough that many of my old friends were now coming out, I thought I had only met a tiny handful of gay people – none of them very well.

It becomes much harder to speak down to or about someone when you are friends with them. I’m so sorry for my past insensitivity, and hope that I have succeeded in stomping it out of my brain.

Racism

If the LDS Church was really led by a modern-day Prophet who has a direct line of communication to God, why were they decades behind the rest of the world on Civil Rights? Is it because God discriminates?

No. It is because the Church is led by a bunch of old, conservative men who are very set in their ways. The Church changes their policies over time, but move like molasses doing so. This is easy enough to explain; all those at the top stay in their positions until they either die or do something blatantly against our teachings. This means that more and more, our Apostles are… yeah, I’ve already said it, relics.

Some of our current leaders are STILL relics of the 40s and 50s. Thankfully they are outnumbered by others by now, but they still speak at every Conference, run our Church Education programs, and etc.

The Church did not allow black men to receive full participation until the 70s. They were not allowed to perform temple ordinances or to hold the priesthood. When this was stopped in the 70s, it was touted as a “revelation”. This put us on dangerous ground, because 40 years later the Church has to explain both that this is a “revelation” AND a result of decisions made by racist, antiquated men.

That implies that either God wanted blacks to be excluded, or that he is limited in his ability to lead the Church and its modern-day prophet. Both of these are problematic.

The Church has never apologized for its past racist acts, though there have been plenty of excuses. It focuses on teaching about repentance and the Atonement of Christ, but they cannot even follow their own teachings.

I am sorry for our racism. I don’t think I have been actively or overtly racist, but I know that I enjoy white privilege and, without knowing it, am insensitive toward issues of race. I do what I can to expose myself to what it is like to be other people in this world, and hope I can snuff out this ignorance.

Sexism

This one kills me, and has since I was a child. Women are talked down to at every turn in the Church. Every Sunday it is touted that the “best” thing a woman can do in this life is be a “wife and mother in Zion”. Women do not hold decision-making positions in the Church leadership. They have Relief Society, which does exercise a kind of soft influence, but as I say – no actual power.

I remember, being raised by my TBM father, him telling me that a day will likely come that women will receive the priesthood – that we had to wait until the Prophet had received word that it was now time for this to happen.

This is interesting, since Joseph Smith himself ordained women. Indeed, our history and doctrine do not teach anywhere that women cannot hold the priesthood. But if you ask your typical LDS member, you’ll find that most believe this is a doctrinal principle. And farbeit for the Brethren to disabuse them of that notion.

When a group of women (Ordain Women) faithfully asked the Brethren to go and seek revelation on whether it was time for them to receive the priesthood, their leader was systematically excommunicated by a local lay leader. The top leadership will not admit to having any part in this discipline, but they aren’t rushing to correct it either (and the past has shown that they can and have).

However the Church did put out an official announcement. You can have different beliefs in the Church, but keep them to yourself or suffer the consequences. Coming from a husband, this is emotional abuse. Coming from the church, this is fair and lovingly enacted doctrine by inspired leaders led by God.

Not the God I believe in.

A big factor in my decision to leave is that I hope to have a daughter one day. I want her to be smart and strong and independent, like so many of the women I have admired in my own life.

The problem with that is that women already have the deck stacked against them in a world of male privilege. If I wanted to raise my own daughter to have the kind of confidence and hope that I want her to have, I would have to “de-program” her every time she came home from church on Sunday. I would have to work extra-hard to empower her, an endeavor that already runs a high risk of failure.

Sorry bout our sexism. It’s disgusting.

Finances

Ah, finances. I can’t speak with authority on this one, but I’ve uncovered enough information about the Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and how they use money to be fairly confident in saying the following:

The LDS Church is not a church at all, but a religiously-incentivized Corporation.

My whole life I believed the LDS “church” was essentially a non-profit religious organization. This would explain the tax benefits, the 10% tithing contributions, etc. I was also led to believe that the Church is extremely active in humanitarian efforts.

In the end, this is what we are led to believe – that tithing money is donated in order to run the practical matters of the Church (electricity bills, buildings, etc) and to help the poor and afflicted.

I’m not finding much evidence that this is the case. The Church is considered a “special” kind of corporation, one that is tax-free and enjoys all the benefits of a large franchise. They own a ton of land and businesses, stock, and other interests. As far as I can tell, they do not run their finances at all in the way that your typical Mormon believes.

But the Church takes and takes. It isn’t enough for you to give your time and service, but 10% of your income. If you’re doing that, it isn’t enough. Give to Prop 8, the Missionary Fund, the Perpetual Education Fund, Fast Offerings, and etc. The Church will never limit how much of yourself is sacrificed, and will always encourage you to give more.

Poor old couples, widows, or youngsters starting out in life are expected to pay 10% of their income. They are told, “even if you are unable to pay your rent or buy food, pay your tithing”. After this, the bishop is enabled to give aid to pay rent and provide food. Of course, this process is incredibly demeaning and embarrassing, and the participants of it are berated to be more “financially independent”.

I gained a 10% raise last month. I tell you what, I find it a lot easier to be “financially independent” now.

Sorry about the church and its financial corruption. It is misleading and favoritism at best, downright corruption at worst. Many poor couples faithfully give and give, and receive hardly even a nod from the church – they simply accept it gladly. And why would they do anything else?

So really… sorry about my church.

Leaving Mormonism (revised update)

Not too long ago I wrote a post titled “I am an Ex-Mormon”. I took it down a few days later because it took me that long to realize that posting it was harmful to some of my family and friends. I don’t truly want to isolate myself from anyone, or to be offensive, so I’m posting a revised accounting of that sentiment.

To clarify: Nothing has changed for me since the last time I posted. I have come to better terms with my own beliefs, and the idea that no one else has the authority to tell me what and how to believe. I will probably post on my reflections in this belief as it evolves in the future, but I’m going to try and focus on the topic at hand.

The Decision

At this point, the decision I’ve made is that I will no longer participate in Orthodox Mormonism. No tithing, temple worship, or expecting myself to have to attend meetings of any kind.

I need a break from the Mormon community, and I can’t promise I’ll be back. It’s like a bad breakup – I need time to heal, and I need to make some friends that aren’t her friends.

The Important Reasons

While I have come to take issue with certain points of doctrine, the real reason for my leaving is moral. I see many conflicts between what we profess to believe in the church, and what we actually practice. There are major disparities between Christ-like love and how we actually treat certain groups. These groups include, but are not limited to:

  • The LGBT community
  • Feminists
  • Intellectuals
  • Other Religious Sects (e.g. Islam)

In most of these cases our actual doctrine doesn’t preach against these groups. For that purpose I’ll cite the 11th Article of Faith – we allow all men the priviledge of worshipping who, how, or what they may. I take this to include social practice – the idea that people can practice what they believe to be right, so long as they are peaceful about it.

Peaceful doesn’t always mean pleasant, and I cite examples of peaceful protest across our American heritage as examples of this.

To cite a current example, I’ll use gay marriage:

One sect believes gay marriage to be less than ideal – this is usually due to a traditional mindset of sexuality, less than it is on scripture.

Another believes there is absolutely nothing wrong with it, and in fact it should be celebrated in those cases where it would be authentic and bring happiness to a family.

The first group can peacefully practice their beliefs by… wait for it… getting married to the opposite gender.

The second can do the same regardless of gender. They also feel obligated in most cases to advocate for the rights of other human beings with differing beliefs.

I see both groups as peacefully practicing.

The Catalyst

I was definitely spurred on by the recent excommunications, and in specific Kate Kelly. All she did was peacefully advocate, but she is now being demonized in the culture for, basically, not shutting up. They paint her as being a problem seeker with ulterior motives, and the most common criticisms leveled against her relate to her being public or her peaceful demonstrations (characterized as being offensive).

Kate Kelly was excommunicated for apostacy, which the church has recently defined as actively seeking to spread views which are contrary to the church. I think this definition is way open to interpretation, which makes the practice of excommunication easy to abuse – especially for lay leadership.

For me, this basically means, “Believe what you want – but keep it to yourself. Or else.”

“Shut up or get out.”

Am I being melodramatic here? Perhaps, and I can see where people would feel that way. However, being the kind of person who aspires to progressivism and intellectualism, I feel very personally excluded from the church on this basis.

“You’re not welcome here.”

In other words, the church doesn’t want people like me. They don’t want people who may ask hard questions, or challenge status quo.

Christ’s Example

I find this in opposition to a doctrine of Christ, a man who demonstrated love, hung out with everybody (especially sinners), and constantly challenged the status quo. The only people he expressed dislike toward were hypocrites, meaning the regular church-going people in most cases. This is the case for all the great prophets in scripture (across religions), that they challenge the status quo. In this way, religion is often founded on progressive principles.

I don’t believe God endorses specific institutions. Christ exemplifies that. I don’t believe he requires people to believe in him… or else. I do believe he set the example of how he desires us to live, doing good with our lives, and beckoned us to follow that example. You don’t need to be religious to do that.

No, I think that being religious and subscribing dogmatically to an institution’s ideals are very different things.

Personal Health

This cognitive dissonance (the inner turmoil and pain that comes from holding conflicting beliefs at the same time) was destroying me, enhancing my struggles with depression. But they are real problems, aside from any mental illness.

What Now?

My reasons for leaving are not related to sin, rash decisions, being offended, or “Anti-Mormon” material or sentiments. Very heartfelt and thoughtful processes have led me to this decision. Please do not cheapen my experiences and decisions by characterizing them in these ways.

I would like to remain friends with Mormons. I think most are good people. But then again, I think that about all people. I feel the need to branch out and include more diversity in my life, especially after 3 years living in Rexburg, Idaho.

But I will end with this sentiment to my Mormon friends and family. Please remain my friend. Please continue to appreciate me for who I am. Try not to feel concerned about the welfare of my soul – my values aren’t going anywhere. Please continue to talk with me, hang out with me, and consider me part of your lives – if you want to. If it is best, we can leave Mormonism out of the equation – though I like having open discussions if you’re up for it.

Night and Light Photos

Light Painting

I’ve practiced Light Painting a few times now for various projects, and it was a great way to get down to the nitty-gritty and forcing myself to do intimidating things: such as using Manual Mode. My favorite part of Light Painting is that, since you’re probably shooting something static, you can really take your time to make the shot exactly what you wanted. No rush, no pressure to catch the perfect moment. Try this much light, a little less, or a little more until you’re pleased with the result.

Forbidden Island

forbidden-island

Date: Apr 26, 2011, Evening
Location: Rexburg, ID
F-Stop: 5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/25
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i

Popsicle Night Club

 

popsicle-nightclub

Date: Apr 26, 2011, Evening
Location: Rexburg, ID
F-Stop: 5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/25
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i

Photo Contest Entry

I chose the Photoshop World Photo Contest. Here are the reasons which appealed to me:

  • I could submit three photos, which made it much easier to select which ones I wanted to submit.
  • The prize is free attendance to a large Photoshop Conference, a great opportunity to learn about and participate in my industry.
  • The theme is completely open: subjects and edits of all kinds are accepted and encouraged.

I created my submission by going to ViewBug.com, starting an account via Facebook, and browsing the contest options there. There were a few that appealed to me, but none as much as Photoshop World. From here I found my original edited content, checked and touched up for the theme, and exported large detailed jpeg files. I uploaded these to my new ViewBug account, tagged and named the files, and submitted them to the contest.

Three Submissions on July 10, 2014:

746-tracks-blog

746 Tracks
Date: Apr 30, 2011, Evening
Location: St Anthony, ID
F-Stop: 5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/25
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i

guitar-porch-blog

Porch Music
Date: May 30, 2014, Evening
Location: Bannack, MT
F-Stop: 4.0
Shutter Speed: 1/125
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i

type-drawer-blog

 

Type Drawer
Date: May 06, 2014, Afternoon
Location: Rexburg, ID
F-Stop: 2.7
Shutter Speed: 1/80
Camera: Sony DSC-W330

Bipolar Bears

1024px-Polar_bear_swimming_in_zoo

There’s a Polar Bear
In our Frigidaire–
He likes it ’cause it’s cold in there.

I was recently diagnosed with Bipolar II Disorder. This seems to be one of the most plausible explanations for what I struggle with, and I am moving forward with treatment accordingly. If new evidence arises, the diagnosis will change.

What this means: I experience a regular cycle of highs and lows. On this scale, highs are referred to as mania, and lows are depression. The “2″ in my diagnosis refers to a type of bipolar that doesn’t tend toward the mania – the highs are not so high. I may experience some recklessness at these times, but I’ve never really shown full-on-mania.

My cycle seems to be about 3-5 months. During this time I will experience a distinct low, depression, characterized by numbness, lack of hope, and sometimes lack of ability to function in social situations (I’ll just silently leave or not show up). And I will also experience an intense high – characterized not by happiness but by intensity, irritability, recklessness, and a tendency to argue and cause social problems for myself (but hey, I’m extremely productive!).

I used to think Bipolar people just jumped back and forth between very happy and very sad, often in the same hour or day. That’s not it – though there are other conditions (Rapid-Cycling Bipolar, or Borderline) which may explain those kinds of behaviors. But the cycle happens over a longer period of time, weeks or months.

On top of this, depression and sadness are not the same thing – and neither are happiness and mania.

I sought out this diagnosis. I’ve been struggling with chronic depression. I think for most of my life I could handle it, but there were certainly times where I could not – and recently that has become more common. A fact of life, really.

With his seat in the meat
And his face in the fish
And his big hairy paws
In the buttery dish,

It’s easy to think that when you’re suffering from something, be it ADD or anxiety, that it’s your responsibility to deal with it. Of course it is, who else’s responsibility could it be? But I mean that it discourages you from seeking help. You figure – hey, I get by most of the time, so I just better suck it up and deal.

There are other times when I really knew I needed help, but didn’t feel like I had any way to seek it out. I had no money, no insurance, and felt like even if someone could pay for a few visits to help me get diagnosed, I couldn’t afford regular medication and/or treatment in the long run anyway so what’s the point?

Then I took Psychology 101. It was interesting to find out some of what we have come to learn about how the brain works, and I was intrigued about what I read about Serotonin. I just have a basic one-sentence description from a Psych 101 book, and Serotonin is a complex field of study all on it’s own, but here goes;

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter which, among many other basic functions, facilitates a general feeling of well-being. It allows us to push things to the back of our mind, so we can focus on other things.

I read that one sentence “general feeling of well-being” over and over again. I couldn’t for the life of me remember what that felt like, or the last time I had felt that way.

I have known happiness, but it was always of a very intense kind – often facilitated by some kind of physical sensation (from sex to chocolate to rollercoasters).

I have known victory, but it always felt hollow. If I won a contest I felt guilty that I had participated in an activity which rated people, and that I had possibly hurt others’ feelings. (I’m serious on this. When I won awards I never felt anything but guilt. It may sound like false humility: I guarantee you, it is not. And I’ve STILL got a bone to pick with those of you who like to tell people not to “get a big head” when they’ve succeeded at something. Just stop it.)

I have known success, but never felt successful. From good grades and promotions to getting that girl I like to like me back. I’ve got plenty of failures to look back on, but there are successes too. I felt the failures.

He’s nibbling the noodles,
He’s munching the rice,
He’s slurping the soda,
He’s licking the ice.

I made up my mind that as soon as I had the opportunity through school insurance, I would talk to some professionals about this.

My determination was exacerbated by an interesting experience;

I had wisdom teeth that were crushing my other teeth, to the point that they were causing damage to the rest of my mouth and causing infections and a whole lot of pain. I had to get these teeth removed as a matter of emergency, and some of these surgeries required getting down to the bone of my jaw.

So on the day of my wedding that September and two weeks leading up to it, I had a swollen jaw and was on some crazy pain meds. It was pretty damn awesome.

I still remember what it was like during the surgery, drugged up and listening to an audiobook written and read by Neil Gaiman. I had this peaceful feeling that Neil Gaiman was my dad, and he was reading me a bed time story.

Here I was on painkillers which make most people loopy and unable to function, and I felt peace for the first time in who knows how long.

I organized things I’d been meaning to get to for months. I was more productive than I had been the entire semester previous where I had gotten all A’s. Any and all problems literally felt like water off a duck’s back. They didn’t matter. I could adjust. I could deal.

You know that when powerful pain meds make you feel like a whole and complete human being, you’ve gotta be pretty fucked up.

And he lets out a roar
If you open the door.

Sara has some interesting stories of what it was like living with me. I could trick myself into thinking I was dealing with things and that I had to solve my own problems, but to have that second person’s feedback was eye-opening.

When things were bothering me, I would obsess over them until the point where I became catatonic. Often in other households this was the point where I would leave the house and go for a walk/drive (slammed doors may or may not have been a part of this process). Now that I was in a peaceful home situation where I knew I was safe and accepted, I would just sit and stare and be unresponsive.

I know what I was doing at those times, it’s just something I block out later on when I’m feeling better. I was sitting there, thinking at a million miles an hour, actively using all my self-control not to hurt myself.

It’s been said that depression is anger turned inwards. Now THAT is a sentence I can fathom. You can keep your general sense of well-being crap. Anger turned inwards is what I’m all about. As long as I have memory, I remember being angry at myself. Sometimes that anger gets redirected to others, but it always comes back to me.

Of course, I remember trying to express feelings similar to this as a teenager, but people would just shake their head. “Teenage Angst” is probably what they were thinking. I learned quickly to stop telling people about this thought, because for whatever reason, they thought I was being self-pitying.

Now I know anger and pity are very different things. Because I’m quick.

And it gives me a scare
To know he’s in there–

Here’s a few things I have heard repeated mercilessly my entire life:

“Why are you so emotional?”

“Why do you take things so seriously?”

“Why can’t you calm down?”

Well, my answer up to this point has always been the same. “I don’t know”.

I CAN tell you this. Telling me to stop, let things go, or to calm myself are about as helpful as telling a screaming newborn to use their “inside voice”.

Or telling a thunderstorm to keep it down, and quit being so intense.

Or telling a hormones-raging teenager not to think of sex.

Except this is more like I’ve got the angriest, most intense music you can imagine – playing in my head at all times, 24-7 – and people are telling me to calm down. And here I am, all I can think is… “Isn’t this calm? This is calm for me. I am not screaming or engaging in any kind of violent activity. I am sitting here, talking in an inside voice, looking you in the eye, and using relatively calm words and phrases – no cursing, no direct insults.”

But I come across as intense. It’s in my mood. Apparently my tone of voice and facial expression are sins too, even if all my actions are in control. Funny, I don’t remember being taught that one at church, or in any ethical setting… or just about anywhere. But it’s in our culture. You can’t show any hints of emotion, if those emotions are not utterly pleasant.

So here’s a life lesson for you – bipolar or not, you’ll be damned if you do, and more importantly you’ll be damned if you don’t. I’ve been told by the same “friends” in the same conversation that I needed to both seek help and stop making excuses for myself by claiming mental illness. Which is weird, because the moment I seek help, I’m likely to be diagnosed with a mental illness…

While you try and riddle that one out, I’ll move to the next thing. See? Those Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors are doing their job.

That Polary Bear
In our Fridgitydaire.

When it comes to Mental Illness, you’ll find it everywhere. In fact, Psychology is pretty much the study of differences in people’s brains. I don’t think it’s possible to find a person without any hint of mental variances. These terms, these diagnoses, are created in order to help us better understand and treat specific types of problems.

Diagnoses are not meant to give us more measuring sticks by which to judge or compare. They are pretty much useless and self-defeating at that point. And before you start thinking about people who are “making excuses”, stop for a second. Think about someone in a major depressive episode. Realize that they CANNOT fathom hope, they CANNOT fathom or accept your compliments, and that all your encouragements of “don’t worry be happy” or “suck it up” sound like telling someone to push a growing snowball up a mountain. That just doesn’t work, logistically.

So no, diagnoses are not excuses either.

If you look back at any famous historical (or modern) figures, you’ll find mental illness. Depression is notorious in writers and artists – Bipolar seems evident in many of these cases too. You’ll find some of the most brilliant minds in history had learning disabilities. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if most famous leaders were narcissists – but they were effective right?

So I’ll close with this thought. I’m “coming out” as a Bipolar in this post, and I wanted to make a few things clear.

First, I’m fine. This isn’t a call for help. That’s why I have a therapist, good friends, meds, and a service animal. I appreciate that you care, and if that is so, the best thing you can possibly do is just understand that this is here, it is real, and it may explain some of my more confusing actions.

Second, I’m not seeking your attention. In fact, I hate attention because attention generally either turns to focusing on my negative qualities, or making me feel guilty. So you can keep your attention if that’s the only reason you’re here.

I really like being open. I feel happier and better that way. I also like the idea that if someone has similar problems, they might find some comfort in my words. You’re not alone. There are some explanations that may help you understand things. There are experts out there that have things that will help. We don’t know everything about the brain, but we sure know a lot more than we used to – and knowledge is power.

If there is anything that strikes you as incredibly familiar – lack of general feeling of well-being, inability to push thoughts to the back of your mind, anger turned inward, catatonic… do some research. I guarantee you, there is a way to get the help you may need.

The poem quoted in this post is “Bear in There” by Shel Silverstein
Image from commons.wikimedia.org