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Stigma: The Final End

August 9th, 2018

I write away my pain. Sometimes that means revealing it, particularly when someone else might need to hear it and find solace and love in my words. Someone who, like me, suffered when boundaries were crossed one too many times. And now they find they are suffering from stigma. I’ve written about it before, but I had no neat example. It's a messy topic, but I have a story to tell. And like most stories, it wants to be heard. Names and details don't matter. You will see the shape of the thing.

A deep trigger was set off. A barb at a wound so deep it made me want to scream. Rage was instantly ignited. No one else had that power over me but the one who said such words. I slammed my hand on the door after speaking into the room. I bruised myself in the process, my delicate fingers. But with a shaking fury beginning to rattle through me, it was the only outlet I had. I recognized my state from that and withdrew. I went to call my mother, more enraged than I ever had been. So deep the wound.

This individual emerged to “correct me”. I told them to leave. I was in rage. They stayed. They didn’t want me to misrepresent them.

Like that was fucking important.

I yelled, “I’m in rage! We agreed, you will let me cool off, this is my boundary!” But they were more concerned with my words. To them, my words were inaccurate. Even though the meaning was clear, if it wasn't the exact words that they stated, it was always inaccurate. This was no time for such an argument.

“I get to tell my mother whatever the fuck I want when I’m in rage and you just have to suck it up and we’ll sort it out later!” They stayed.

I yelled, “This is my boundary, leave me alone!”

They stayed.

I screamed, “Leave me alone!” They stayed. Pushed further into rage, reason beginning to slip, I screamed louder. They left.

And then came back.

I screamed and screamed for them to leave me alone but they tried to stay, later saying they thought I had calmed down because I was talking to my mother. I was not calm on the phone. And you would have thought that the first scream would have sent you packing if that were the case. I tried to continue talking to my mother, an audio witness of all this.

They came back.

I screamed and screamed, but the only words that came out were “leave me alone, leave me alone!” After several times, they left but they came back. I screamed the same words over and over.

They left, but came back. So many times. Once, I just let out the loudest scream of frustrated rage, just to cover the sound of their words. They just kept coming back.

It was a death of a thousand times needling.

My body was beginning to feel alien. More adrenaline pumping through it than blood, desperate, psychotic rage consuming me. And they came back again. I screamed but it did not work, and a fuse broke in my head.

I walked to the back of the couch, stood some distance away, and in my rage addled brain tried to figure out how to make them leave. Instinct was in control at that moment. And it told me, frighten them. No one stays when you frighten them. It was a desperate act born of incredible tormented pain. I just wanted to be left alone.

And it did not work.

It should have worked, but instead they just stared back in defiance.

A different fuse broke, this one realizing that this is an emergency, and it needed to be handled with care. This time, compassion won.

I gently took their arms, barely grasping onto them as I calmly tried to walk them away. They dropped to their knees yelling out some drama or another. Another fuse tripped, back into rage and desperation. But more controlled. If I could not frighten them, perhaps I could appeal to their sentimentality. I took an object that I knew would be safe, but also knew how to trick.

“Do you want me to break this? No? Then leave me alone.” I was desperate. They stayed.

I put pressure where it would safely make a sound. Enraged and at my wits end, I still maintained some control. Fury wanted to tear it to pieces. But balance prevailed. And it worked, as they quickly returned it to its place.

Finally I could get on the phone. Rage addled, unsure of what I was, needing my mother desperately. I just needed to talk to my mother.

They started to come back.

I learnt then that hate is an emotion. A fleeting but passionate anger that despises all that wounds, be it deep enough. And that no matter how much compassion you have, no matter how filled you are with the desire to spread love, you can be pushed into feeling it.

“Leave me alone because right now I’m so angry I hate you.”

It worked. They ran out and I could breathe. At that point, I didn’t care what worked. Soon after, there was a heavy knock on the door. One made by someone other than my tormenter.

It was the police.

I am Bipolar I and had just been pushed to my limits. I stepped out, facing what could be a trip to the hospital for me, and approached it with honesty. I explained that I had a mental illness. I was Bipolar I and suffered from rage. I was working on it but it had been triggered and I needed to be left alone.

In front of an imposing police officer I started to cry. “I just need to be left alone.” I cried and cried, repeating those words, not able to explain further. They decided to take my tormenter out of the equation, and leave me to cool off for the night. I became a sobbing mess. And I did not know that I had been pushed so far I was manic. It took a few days to figure that out.

The next day, they returned apologetic. Then, on Saturday, they accused me of being the abuser because I yelled at them. I controlled the instant fit of rage at the daring obscenity of their words, but not before they could say, “I think you need more mental health care.”

I had been working with my therapist for six months trying to avoid their arguments, walking on eggshells never knowing when my buttons would next be pushed. Slowing everything down, finding out when to stop. I had been striving to end this madness. I had learnt every negotiation trick in the book. Walk away, stay and share my pain, calmly try to sooth a fit of nerves. Taking extra medicine to slow me down so I could stay fit to try and escape being pushed too far. I could probably walk almost anyone back from getting angry now.

Except for them.

It was a bit of an insult.

The next day they decided they were afraid of me and wanted me gone. Leaving completely was the best thing I ever did, and it was because they could not bear to have me in the house. So I owe them thanks for that.

What did they expect?

They had pushed me into a monstrous state - a condition that scarred me more deeply than all the others. And believe, I am scarred by this year. For weeks I couldn’t express the pain and torment. I just knew it was traumatic but my mind had walled my emotions away.

Then I cried after explaining it to friends.

I sobbed in my therapists office.

Then I sobbed some more in my mothers arms. “I feel like a monster. I never wanted to say those words. I never wanted to be pushed so far.”

I had tried everything to avoid it. But they had ignored my every attempt to reinforce my boundary. And now, after such a terrifying beast had been summoned by sheer assholery, they decided they are frightened of me and that they’ll let me know when they’re not. Couples therapy will figure it out.

Except I can never be alone with them again. Because I fear what they can do, how quick they can press my buttons. How far they can drive my illness and offer nothing but stigma in return. They made me into a creature of fury, and now make living with my words worse. Because they decided they were afraid of me.

Why didn’t they fear me when it mattered?

Why did they come back after then?

What resolution do they think could happen? What goal? To make me far more wretched and alien to the human race?

They had already succeeded.

I do not feel human anymore. It was a feeling I had gotten past. But now I have been knocked back down to my darkest fears.

I take solace in the truth, compassion won. But I can’t share all the details of that night. I can’t tell my friends the words I used. I can barely live with them myself. I will be sorting it out in therapy for months to come.

I am traumatized. And face stigma for it.

To them, I still offer compassion on a regular basis. Making sure their needs are met. They have food and medicine. I am covering some of their bills until they are on their feet. I speak calmly and with the love I have for all beings.

Even as I took all my things, I left with compassion. Leaving my knife set, leaving this and that so they had enough, replacing what I took if they needed it, building them if required, making sure everything looked nice, sweeping up every piece of dirt. And with the help of the neighbor, removed what needed to be thrown to the dump.

My neighbor told me a story about an old comedian. The joke had been, “Alcoholism is the only disease people can get mad at you for.” He understood what had happened from my perspective. He treated it with kindness. A method that had desperately been lacking.

I went in to where my mum was and cried.

I packed up in just one week, beating a prior record of two. I worked until I literally passed out. But I did it. And now I am left to sort out my anguish. Exile suits me just fine.

I am making the effort to live with vitality. I reach out to spend time with friends. I have been working on a game concept all year, and I have been convinced to still run it.

While my soul bears a deep scar, and the pain is so great that my mind has created a wall, I will still live. And I will live with creativity and compassion. And should fury come again, our friendship will end. I am done being angry.

I was never an angry person, but for four years some people didn’t know that because I was not breathing free to be myself.

Now I am free, it is time bring air back into my body and heal.

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Thank you Raven Knighte, for your guidence and editing.


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