…and welcome to my 10th Craziversary Celebration! That bean casserole you brought looks delicious, and please help yourself to the chips and guacamole–what do you mean., you don’t see any guacamole? It’s right th–nah, I’m just messing with you. It is a Craziversary party, after all. Oh, you don’t know what a Craziversary party is? Let me fill you in.
Ten years ago today, I was the happiest I’d ever felt. It seemed like everything I’d ever known about, thought, or believed was coming together in a perfect synergy of ideas that were going to solve all of the world’s problems as I saw them. I was Plato’s Philosopher King (well, Queen, but Plato couldn’t get everything right), the reincarnation of Jeanne d’Arc (didn’t dwell too much on the obvious theological quandary of a saint getting reincarnated, but whatevs) and, most importantly, the world’s largest tech companies had recruited me to lead a global Creative Revolution that would dismantle the unjust systems propping up the fears and ideologies I hated the most–racism, homophobia and transphobia, fascism. Shit looked promising for me.
So why was I lying on a hospital guerney, cackling madly at hidden cameras that weren’t really there, in a psych evaluation room where the chairs were chained to the floor (obviously a representation of Plato’s Parable of the Cave)?
And why was I being interrogated “psychiatric residents” who were, it was nakedly obvious to me, really employees of Google?
The short version is that I was extremely ill.
The longer version is that an erratic sleep schedule, excessive amounts of natural supplements, large doses of antidepressants, self-medication with alcohol, and a rocky breakup all teamed up with my existing bipolar disorder symptoms to take me down in a psychosis-filled blaze of glory.
I spent two months in the hospital that time, but the reality is that I’ve been continuously recovering ever since. I actually hate the word “recovered” because it implies some sort of weird hierarchy where the mostly asymptomatic (like me, these days) are placed on some kind of pedestal above those who still find every day to be a symptom-laden struggle. That hierarchy is garbage. Instead I like to say that my mania and depression are “in remission”, because they still need to be monitored very closely.
This Craziversary, I’m not celebrating “winning” my tug-of-war with my maverick brain. Instead, I’m celebrating the strength it takes to carry on with the tug-of-war itself, and all those brave people who pull for their side every day–even on the days when it feels like a loss.
Especially on the days when it feels like a loss.
So sit back, enjoy some imaginary guacamole, and watch this Claymation remake of Bringing Up Baby starring the voices of Kyra Sedgwick and Slyvester Stallone. It’s okay if you can’t see or hear it–I can’t these days, either. But this Craziversary, I’m celebrating all those tough and wonderful people who, despite their best efforts, still can.