Normally, I'd post a disclaimer of some sort up here. However, I'm so certain that the handful of people this entry addresses will not read that I've decided to pull no punches. If this post sounds like you, it probably is; I have a lot of former associates in the same category. After all, what is one of those associates going to do to me, bump it up from never talking to me to never ever talking to me?
I think I understand. None of it is my fault, but society, friends, loved ones, and lovers quite simply must treat me as though my symptoms are the most flagrant and intentional error.
What choice do they have? When I was in middle school, I was told "I can't be seen with you" on more than one occasion. That was before everything went mad. Who would want to be seen holding my hand at a shopping mall while I growl and prowl underneath the escalator? If you've witnessed me at my worst, you'd know this to be true. If mall security walked over to you while I am in the Void, how many of you would bear the shame of saying "he's my husband." Blood relatives have no choice; I am my brother's brother and my mother's son.
That's the difference between relationships and friendships, right?. We all have embarrassing friends; it's easy to write them off. If there's a relationship, we volunteer to a greater attachment. It's too cruel for friends and lovers to say "I can't be seen with you." What they can do is laugh about me when I'm not around, sharing stories about their crazy friend Thomas. It's all in good fun, right? The other thing you do is slowly back away when you get too close. Don't talk to me for a while. Slowly cut things off; maybe I won't take note if the increments are slight enough. It might take a few months, but I will surely be gone, and you'll think I didn't notice. You'd be wrong.
It's not my sickness, right? I've heard that many times, from many different associates. It's not the psychosis; it's not the depression; it's not the OCD. It can't be. Those aren't by choice. Instead, you always pick something that can remotely but exclusively be called voluntary. You can cite my Bible, my haircut, my clothes, my favorite music, my political leanings, even my poetry, but that wouldn't be true. All mentally ill people are ashamed of the things that separate us from the rest of you. However, the rest of you are far more ashamed of us than we could ever be of ourselves. Things would be much clearer through the mud in my brain if the rest of you were as honest with me as I am with you. I know the truth now: I am held responsible for my disease, and all circumstances surrounding it.
So what am I going to do about it? I'm too lonely to face the rest of my days alone, so I'll smile and nod. There's a new story about how crazy I am. Perhaps I'll tell you some day if you need a chuckle and a wild-eyed grin. I won't hold my breath.