This Is Why I Gave Up On You Girls
Am I a bad kid?
I was 26 years old when I was diagnosed with ADHD bipolar comorbidity, much too late for a child with the universe spiraling, constricting, erasing, circulating as if the black nothing could ever replaced what was doomed from the start. ADHD left untreated can create bipolar disorder, but I know now I strongly exhibited both in my adolescence.
“Your mom’s crazy.” I didn’t want to believe it; the constant bullying contributed to me shouting the same words to my own mother. I didn’t realize they were whispering the same words behind my own back. Mental illness didn’t exist in elementary school vocabulary. You were either corrupted or porcelain.
My sister was diagnosed with ADHD at 9 years old, but treatment was dismissed because our neighbor’s mom’s son didn’t like taking adderall. This was enough for her to dismiss care, and didn’t bother to get me checked. As far as she was convinced, my older sister was the problem child, while I was illusively perfect. She was littered with fat shaming, belittled for behavior she couldn’t control, while I denied the possibility of resembling either of them.
Entering my teenage years, I attempted to reflect the image my mother had of me, decorating my appearance to cover the simmering embers underneath in a material that was surely flammable. Surely, nothing could bleed through? But oh, pristine could never paint over a hollow foundation.
I hid in my room, my arms a barrier clutching my knees tight to my chest, blocking out silent screams that frosted over into a silence that shattered my bond with my mother. She’s crazy she’s crazy she’s crazy she’s crazy she’s crazy I’m crazy she’s crazy she’s crazy she’s crazy. I’m–
My sister continued to drown in her own depression, and I followed suit in her shadows, but not close enough to put the attention on myself. I didn’t realize my lack of a positive role model would also cause me to deteriorate into my mother’s shadow, as well.
I was 14 when my mom told my older sister and I that she was giving up on us because we refused to help her. What reason would I have to help a person with a shrieking voice that contributed to my emotional imbalance and lack of motivation? I kept trying to justify her words and why I deserved this only to realize I would never have the mother I needed no matter how much I begged her to work through her own issues.
I’m terrified of becoming a mother myself. I’ve personally never wanted children, but now I think that if the opportunity ever presents itself, I would be too “crazy” to handle the responsibility or ever be in control of my own mind. I’m still furious with my mother; however, the path to forgiveness bears a brutal truth. I can’t ever control her emotions and behavior, but I CAN control my own. I let fear convince me my humanity could never be acknowledged so long as I was a walking ticking time-bomb.
Hearing my mother scream scream explode scream yell scream scream scream. I couldn’t take it anymore. I moved out of my parent’s house in the summer of 2020. Immediately shocked from the environmental change of endless outbursts to friends with tender tongues, what was I supposed to do? I lived my whole life wanting to escape, and now that I did, what other purpose did I have? And worst of all, I was still “crazy.” So, may as well show what everyone else was thinking.
I fell into drugs, dumped money on luxurious items: crystals, makeup, clothing, anything to convince the people around me I was normal. But outward beauty can never erase ugly and suppressed childhood trauma. I blamed my mom for my own despair; she created me, an incurable disease.
Poor Self Esteem
I knew I was slipping and masked it with elated laughter, unknowingly gaslighting myself. I am just now, at 28 years old, realizing I’m not crazy, and neither is my mom or sister. I simply grew up in a chaotic home with no emotional or self control, and now I have a fierce mission to not let myself slip back into a person who chose fear over self love. It’s easy to allow the constant noise of what others don’t understand to define me. I am bipolar, but I am also magical, powerful, flawed, angry, confused, spontaneous, beautiful, impulsive, dangerously and unapologetically human. I needed to forgive myself for the choices and words I said while hypomanic; I didn’t see I had the option to embrace myself instead of pointing the finger at what I thought was the source of my downfall. If I blamed my mom for everything, then I would never accept she still loved me, even when she gave up.
I want to be in a place where I can empathize and give back the care I knew my mom didn’t receive from her own mother. I’m not there yet, but I do know now that when I’m ready to communicate my true feelings with her, I will be in control.
It’s ok to accept emotion, to allow the lucidity to take over for a moment. Bipolar disorder may be a horrifying curse, but it is also a gift. Our emotions are revolutionary; we feel what we feel for a reason. Our voices will be the ones to melt metal when no one else’s will. Our passion is unbreakable. We must remain stubbornly silent, yet burn when we are needed. We are songs of despair, blindness, compassion, chandliers shining on those who fear they are too much. You are not too much, your emotions are not a weakness, they hold a strength with untraceable depth that cannot be doubted.
Go and burn yourself. Burn burn burn until you don’t recognize yourself. But don’t forget to become a phoenix. Show the world you are a force to be reckoned with. I know I have.
Thank you for allowing me to share my story.
By Sarah St. Sauver