Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Secrets, Glibly Told…

I found out today that George is telling all of the gang down at the shopping center that I am “crazy” and that I have schizophrenia. I met up with Rosa this afternoon and she sheepishly asked me about it.

“You know that older black dude you always hang out with?” She asked.
I left Rosa and the shopping center with my feelings hurt and with a sense of being betrayed. I rode my mountain bike on over to the Alcoholics Anonymous meeting hall with a lot of pent up anger welling up inside me.
“Yeah, George.”

“He was telling Big S and a few others today that the reason you are on disability is that you have a few screws loose.”

“That loose lipped son of a bitch,” I replied. “I can’t believe he is going around telling that. I trusted him with that information as a close and confidential friend.”

I have hinted to Rosa that I have mental “issues,” but have never come out and said it. She thought it was mainly my struggle with staying sober as she struggles with the same crazy issues surrounding sobriety.

I left Rosa and the shopping center with my feelings hurt and with a sense of being betrayed. I rode my mountain bike on over to the Alcoholics Anonymous meeting hall with a lot of pent up anger welling up inside me. Wanda was sitting behind the meeting hall, smoking a cigarette on the back porch, as I chained my bike to the metal post out back.

“You are quiet tonight,” She said.

“I am pissed off mad.”

“Talking about it always helps.”

“It is really not something I want to talk about,” I told her tersely. “It is just too personal to share.”

I don’t want everyone in AA to know I am a schizophrenic. I love Wanda to death and care about her deeply, but she has a tendency to gossip. I feared this juicy little tidbit of news about me would just be too tempting to keep secret.

I sat in my AA meeting and could not concentrate. We went around the room to share tonight. It came my turn to speak.

“Hi, I am Andrew and I’m an alcoholic and I am going to pass on speaking tonight,” I said huffily.

“Thanks for just being here,” Several people said as we then continued on around the room.

The meeting ended and I rode my bike home feeling better and better with every passing mile. I just had to take a time out. I know it’s odd that I talk so freely about my mental illness on this blog, but then again, I don’t have my real name or photo plastered all over it either. These people that were told about my illness today are people I have to deal with on a daily basis. In a perfect world, disabilities would never be discriminated against, but we don’t live in a perfect world. In my many years of dealing with having a mental illness, I have found people to be very judgmental and gossipy when it comes to you having a debilitating mental ailment such as schizophrenia. They will all think you are some kind of crazy maniacal serial killer. I am not a violent person at all and would never harm a flea. Try telling that to the general public and my so called friends though.

14 comments:

Mwah said...

well at least your trying to get help for it all. tres brave!! if u can have problems and still have a bit of humour about it then it shows good strength

Cheryl said...

If George was thinking right, he would never have done this. He'd know what he was doing was betraying a good friend. I wonder what happened that made him share what is so private to you. I'm sorry this happened.

fiwa said...

Are you going to talk to George about it, let him know you know?
That's rough stuff - it always hurts when a friend betrays your trust. You should get his side of the story though.

I hope tomorrow is a better day.

Annabel said...

Sorry to hear about this. I feel for you. Sometimes we all do and say stupid things without thinking. I hope you will be able to forgive George. I don't think he knows how much it hurts you.
And I know you would never hurt a flea... well, maybe a flea, but nothing else.

Abigail S said...

I was hitting the "Next Blog" button and came across your blog. Glad I did.

I know, kinda, how you feel. I have bipolar disorder, and I try to hide it from everyone. People want to jump to conclusions when they hear mental illness, and don't stop to get to know the real person. I think you are right to try to hide it from most people.

But to those who just found out- have an honest chat w/ them- let them know you.

bryan said...

I would imagine that when someone finds that out about you, it is difficult to explain or talk about. I think people probably make assumptions based on stereotypes and don't give you much opportunity to talk about your individual situation. I am sorry that they found out that way.
bryan
http://isitjustme-bryan.blogspot.com

PipeTobacco said...

Sir:

I do not think George meant to hurt you. Gossip is difficult to resist when there is only a limited amount of material of substance a person has access to. In George's world, there is not a whole helluva lot beyond the day-to-day scrape to get by attitude. To have something new, novel, and different from anyone else makes a person in such a situation feel "special".... they are "in the know".

I do not think George said anything meant to hurt you. Instead, he was basking in the attention of having knowledge others did not have.

Is it right? Hell no.... but it is understandable that he felt compelled to talk about it. Please also realize that even though your disorder is tangible because it has been diagnosed, there will be many in any circle of friends with similar issues that are undiagnosed... be it depression, or schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder, or whatever. I bet when you talk with George, you will see he found it "no big deal" other than it gave him attention for a while... attention because he had inside information the others did not have... and they would listen to him.

In my opinion, there is no need to feel shame on your part. You did not create yourself, it is a part of your innate makeup. To be embarassed or to feel shame about your schizophrenia is somewhat like if I were to feel shame about wearing glasses, or a person with kidney failure being ashamed about his atypically functioning kidney.

You are very good just the way you are.... and part of what has shaped you into the excellent person you are is the knowledge/insight into life you have gained through your experiences with life.... including the schizophrenia.

abbagirl74 said...

Hey you. George obviously was not in the right frame of mind. Perhaps he was a "little" drunk. Nevertheless, it does not make it right. Sorry this happened. It's good that you took time to reflect what happened. Whenever I get mad, I always picture myself as a catcher of a baseball team. When a bad pitch is thrown to me, I hold on to it for an extra second before I throw it back. Make sense?

RICH said...

Not to worry. We ALL have mental illness of one form or another. Some people hide it better than others. I know it hurst to have someone you trusted betray you. I've been there and it's hard. If you follow the steps of AA you can sometimes let go of the anger for it's not worth letting it eat you up.

Amy H said...

My heart goes out to you. As someone who used to work in the mental health field, you are right, this world is cold towards people with MI's. They know so very little about them but have every opinion and judgement in the world about it. Particularly Schizophrenia. Everyone thinks with that MI you are dangerous and it is far from the truth. I'm sorry you had to deal with this prejudice, life is definitely not fair.

Proxima said...

Yes, I echo all the previous comments, especially Pipe's and Rich's.

I'm also glad you won't be hurting any fleas, because you never know, it might be the next great star of a "Flea Circus".

-P

latibug said...

Hugs to you...and shame on George...who the hell is he to gossip or pass judgement on anyone...HELLO POOKIE.....

I know you are just venting and it is probably good that you did it here and not to George...YET.

You are a better person than I am...I would have knocked the CRAP outta him...

Lisa

2 The World U R 1 Person, 2 1 Person U R The World said...

I'm so sorry this happened. I read the next 2 entries. I'm glad you didn't drink AND I'm glad you went to find and talk to him, even though you didn't find him.

While I'm not ashamed of my taking meds, as I think you are not either, I also am very selective about whom I tell, just as you are. I agree and know first hand how judgemental people can be. It's horrible and very painful to deal with when it's thrown in your face. It's most painful when your friends begin treating you differently. Sharing something about yourself should enrich friendships, not make people more distant or be used against you. It's so sad.

I feel the need to remind you though that your blog brings awareness to the world. People read your blog and see that you're just like everyone else in so many ways, you just take meds and have bad days.

You have dreams, feelings, talents, a family, friendships and relationships, etc just like everyone else. By writing your blog you give a face to something that is mysterious/unknown to most. People become aware and that is priceless.

I know you're hurt but I hope you heal from it soon. I know how you must feel. I'm glad so many people shared their thoughts with you on this. You have friends in the online world who do not judge you and that's not only important, it's awesome too.

Take Care,
L

Nocturnal said...

Hey Andrew, i just came across your blog by chance and i am hooked on it. Sorry to hear bout your friend George. And as painful as it may be, people are just not ready for individuals who are different. I knw this because i have an uncle who has schizophrenia. It is hereditary. He was and is still shunned not only by society but also by family members (save a few). It's so sad that as developed n sophisticated as man may get they still cannot accept diversity of any kind. You hang in there...your words in this blog have more meaning than some really "healthy" people i know...

Take Care =)