Earlier in the year, I wrote a post about owning words. I’ve since come to terms with the fact I’m in no way as confident as I was then.
As some of you already know, this year has been particularly tough for me. I feel like I’ve waged – and still wage – a constant battle with my depression. I’ve talked about about this mostly at my tumblr which has been a journal of sorts. This time, however, I really feel the need to try and get this message out to as many people as possible, hence my posting here at my blog.
This message is again one about words. Not only those seemingly offhand ones like ‘that’s so gay’ which can cause so much harm, but those deliberate ones which are used to belittle and to cut deeply to the bone.
You see, ever since I was a teenager, people have described me as ‘a bitch’ or ‘moody’ or most often ‘a moody bitch’. This was said behind my back, within my hearing and even to my face. Looking back, it seemed this generally became accepted as ‘just the way Kris was’.
I accepted it too. After all, if you’ve been told something enough times you tend to believe it and, let’s face it, this particular shoe does tend to fit me pretty well so…
It does, however, make me wonder what would have happened if my being ‘a moody bitch’ wasn’t so entrenched, wasn’t the only way I was viewed by others, and wasn’t the only way I judged myself.
Would people have taken more notice? Would anyone have realised the increasingly violent mood swings I was having were actually a sign of something else?
Would any of us, including myself, have thought that maybe I was bipolar?
Well, I am bipolar. I was diagnosed about two months ago.
As the weeks have passed, I’ve come to realise I am so unbelievable angry at all those who called me ‘a moody bitch’ over the years. Most of all, though, I’m hurt.
I have this hurt so deep down in the pit of my stomach because it was those critical words – for that’s what they were – which reinforced my own perception that I was somehow ‘wrong’. Something I’m still struggling to deal with today.
So, to all those who called me ‘a moody bitch’, well, fuck you.
My message to those of you who, like me, have been the victims of words, but will never use them as weapons against others, is to get it out.
Get out all that anger and hurt those words have done to you. Do it in the comment section here. Just don’t let it fester because in the end those words will cause you even more harm.
Take it from someone who knows.
Those who dared:
ouaqquwcgk on my confession dkmhwgijnw on random awesomeness Kris on maybe it’s me, but… kaetrin on maybe it’s me, but… Kris on maybe it’s me, but…
*SUPER DUPER BIG HUG*
Y'know, I don't see you like that. I see you as smart and quietly thoughtful and brave and insightful and wickedly funny.
But yeah, I know how words can shape how we view ourselves. I was a gawky kid – I got called an ugly freak for a lot of years of school. Not such an easy thing to get past.
I believe in you.
AS someone with chronic and incurable depression, who will be on meds the rest of my life and whose life has been made an utter misery by my own illness and that of my (belatedly diagnosed as bipolar) mother, I say, good for you!
I've been mocked for being 'mad' by the same people who've been so piously outraged by the 'bullying' of certain authors recently (you know, those tewwibly offended ones who've been critically reviewed or exposed as fucking liars), and given so much shit for my illness. It takes ovaries to admit to mental illness in public and it takes ovaries to make your post.
Bigotry hurts. It kills. It make life intolerable. But in the end, the problem is in the bigot's head, not mine and certainly not yours, dear.
I'd like to think that as mental illness becomes less of a dark secret never to be discussed, that some won't suffer what you had to. That parents and friends will ask if there is something behind the throw away descriptions like “moody bitch” and really ask what is going on. I hope.
Maybe things can get better, for everyone as we all come out of the closet, whether it be the sexuality closet or the mental health closet.
I know changing those old messages is so hard and I hope you know I'm behind you 1000% as you struggle. You are so much more than the labels your soul as taken to heart.
Yeah, I know all too well about how bad words can hurt. But instead of going into any of that, i'd rather just say… I think you rock. Also… *squishies you*
That is all.
I think the type of person who'd resort to using the phrase “moody bitch” is a person who hasn't got the guts to reach out and help someone, but is using the phrase to back away and dismiss any suggestion of illness. Selfish, shallow cowards, iow.
That type of person is not even worth the effort to flip off, but I don't blame you for doing so.
Growing up I was called fat and stupid by someone I loved and who I thought loved me back. This was the same person who also told me I was better off dead.
Took me years to get past the damage they did to my self-esteem because of their hurtful words.
I learned to tune them out.
Smoochy hugs you beautiful, awesome bitch!
So, you mean I can finally let some junk off my chest? *rubs hands in glee*
To the man who cut my son off on the freeway, chased him down, almost drove him off the road and threw rocks at his car–all because of the gay rights bumper sticker my son had on his car-You suck
To the kids who refuse to play with my learning disabled daughter and tell her that she talks funny–You're nothing but big bullies and you make her cry almost every day.
To the people who made insensitive comments that really hurt some people I care deeply for–Think carefully about how powerful words can be.
To the person who viciously sent me a video of a kid around my son's age, getting gay bashed–Why?
To the Michigan Republicans who keep taking away my son's civil rights, just because of who he is–How dare you!
That's all I can think of right now, but I'm sure I'll have plenty more.
Kris, you are amazing, wonderful and so brave. Not very many would share about their battles as you have. So keep your chin up!
Firstly I will apologise if this doesn't come across rIght. I have been out drinking and have just seen your post.
Bi-Polar has such a stigma attached to it when it really shouldn't. I have several friends and one family member at least that has been diagnosed with it. From personal experience it's very hard to diagnose)
Essential from what I have learned from dealing with everyone I know through there circumstances is that they don't have normal reactions to situations.
My. Best friend is bi polar and currently having a manic episode but because she is trying for a baby she can't
take the drugs she needs to react normally…
And therefore become obsessive andx depressive because she hasn't concur ed within weeks of trying
You have nothing to be ashamed of and I am available to talk to if you need it … No garentees I will be any help.. But I will always be honest..which I have found helpful ….. (an example …. Yes u want a baby … Yes u are depressed…u are also going blind fix u eyes then try for a baby because u will resent and hate your partner if he has to raise it and u can't.)
Done times having someone that accepts u no matter how cookoo u fell is important. U not nutts u just misunderstood
Ok I'm not sure any of that made sense at all I'm crap at explains myself….have u tried cbt theRpy?
The thing that bothers me more than anything in the world is that when people DO use words like “moody bitch” or my personal favorite “mean bitch”…they NEVER think that there could POSSIBLY be a reason that I or you or anyone else gives off that vibe. My reason is self-defense…I come off as unapproachable cause I am at heart shy and nervous, so I tend to turn in on myself as a way to protect myself. You think people would MAYBE try to find out why? NOPE! Just assume I am mean and cranky and bitchy! Which, I might point out I actually tended to TURN INTO occasionally…cause as you said? You hear something often enough and it starts to get taken to heart. I would HOPE that if I knew you in person, I would have tried to ask if there was something else going on with you. At least the person I am today would ask, cause until someone asked me what was really going on inside the “bitchy, cranky, mean” person, I used those words, wrapped em around myself and BECAME that person. Sheesh! This makes no sense. What I am TRYING to say is that even through cyber-space, you are witty and funny and caring and so, so very amazing! It doesn't matter what other words are used to describe you….I adore you and hope you know that words and labels can ALSO describe the person I “see” here! *SMILES**
PS-my veri word is ingst…..which is SO close to angst I hadda share 😉
I love you honey and want more than anything to go back in time and change those experiences for you. I think you are a wonderful, intelligent, funny, incredibly loving and thoughtful person that I consider it an honor to know. I'm so sorry that you had to go through that and that those shitheads couldn't see that as well.
And to all you assholes who call my daughter stupid and slow? She's neither so fuck you.
Boy, that did feel good.
Lori: 🙂 Thanks, hun.
Chris: You made me all snotty. Thank you for saying that to me.
I'm sorry that you experienced that at school, Chris, and, no, it's not an easy thing to get past.
(((BIG FAT SQUISHY HUGS)))
Ann: “It takes ovaries to admit to mental illness in public and it takes ovaries to make your post.”
The same goes, Ann. It takes bravery to say out loud that which most people are terrified of and lash out at because they do not understand.
I had to spend the day in hospital the other day. When I listed bipolar as one of my medical conditions, the nurse looking after my section of the ward said 'but you don't look like anything's that wrong with you'. Yeah. Thanks. Thanks a lot.
I think the thing I need to keep reminding myself is that, as you say, it's their problem not mine. Hopefully I will become better at that over time.
Tam: “Maybe things can get better, for everyone as we all come out of the closet, whether it be the sexuality closet or the mental health closet.”
God, I hope so too, Tam. I really do because if I'm struggling to deal with it at 37, it breaks my heart to think of what others must go through who are much younger than I am.
“You are so much more than the labels your soul as taken to heart.”
You will know how much your support and acceptance means to me, Tam, in both virtual and real life. The latter particularly is not an easy thing for most people to deal and I so very appreciate the fact that you did.
Amara: I know you rock too. *squishes back*
Mara: Thank you, Mara, and, yes, feel free to call those ignorant fuckers any names you want. 🙂
One of things I realised after I'd written this post is that, not only had my so-called moodiness affected me so badly in the long run, but the reinforcement of my 'personality' had also affected my immediately family, who have heard the same thing since I was very young. My parents especially feel guilt because of that now. They are are also victims, in my opinion.
KBC: People can be vicious, even more so, I think, to the ones who they know it will hurt the most. It's a fucking hard lesson learned and it hurts to know that so many have to go through it.
I spent almost an hour writing a comment just to encounter some error when posting it. Fuck you, technology!!!
Maybe some other time, I just can't write those things again. 😦
Stephani: I'm positive you'll have plenty more. 😛
I hate bullies. As far as I'm concerned, they are power-hungry cowards who are so terrified of even attempting to deal with their own issues that they target those who are beautifully different to try and prove their own so-called strength as opposed to admitting their weaknesses.
Well. I think I may have had some junk on my chest too. 🙂
“To the person who viciously sent me a video of a kid around my son's age, getting gay bashed–Why?”
Because she's a manipulative, vengeful bitch who knew how to cause the most mental and emotional anguish in you?
Just a guess, of course.
Sarah: You did make sense and thank you for your offer of to be someone for me to talk to. I really appreciate that because, as you say, bipolar as with the majority of mental illnesses is so misunderstood.
Honesty is really important to me too so I'm glad that you've felt it helps with your friend. I need people to tell me outright when my behaviours are particularly bad because I can't always recognise them myself. I also prefer it because when I think that people are hiding things from me it makes me feel like I have suddenly become stupid overnight. That makes my behaviours even worse.
My psychologist is using her own version of CBT therapy to help me manage my OCD, which I've also been recently diagnosed with although I've pretty much suspected for years.
We're using mindfulness to help me with my Anxiety Disorder (yep, that's another one) and my depression.
Aw, is truth!
And thank you. 🙂
My grandma used to spout inconsiderate crap at me. I'd like to think it wasn't malicious and that there are many reasons behind her behaviour. I put up with it for a long time and just thought ignoring it was the best thing. Then I realized she was always going to say those things, but I could (for damn sure) change how I was reacting to it. The final straw for me was when she was sitting behind me one day and said she couldn't see what was going on because “there's a fat person in front of me”. After a lifetime of these type of comments, I decided that my time of silence was over. I turned around and told her not to ever say anything like that to me again and that it was rude. She said she was joking. I told her it wasn't funny. Then I walked away.
I'm a bitch according to my family because I don't let my grandma talk to me like this. Well, fuck you family. I'm proud of standing up for myself.
Kris, you're sarcastic and funny and smart and amazing. I'd be devastated if you felt you had to change a single thing because of someone who is thoughtless and doesn't deserve a second of your consideration.
I rambled a bit. Sorry.
Elaine: Blogger never fails to give someone a veri close to the topic at hand. I'm sure it's sentient.
“… they NEVER think that there could POSSIBLY be a reason that I or you or anyone else gives off that vibe…”
No, they don't. People generally prefer to put a broad label on things that helps them get through life as opposed to understanding it.
“… I used those words, wrapped em around myself and BECAME that person…”
Oh, yeah. I think I might have nearly 37 years worth of that particular t-shirt. I'm sorry you have had to go through this as well, Elaine. Words have so much more power than people realise…. but you obviously do because you have made my heart smile with them.
Thank you, Elaine. (((HUGS)))
Tracy: “I think you are a wonderful, intelligent, funny, incredibly loving and thoughtful person that I consider it an honor to know.”
Even when I'm driving you crazy by trying to brake all the time. 😉 In all seriousness, though, I feel exactly the same way about you. My heart always breaks a little whenever I have to leave you to go home.
“And to all you assholes who call my daughter stupid and slow? She's neither so fuck you.”
YEAH! I still think you should have let me go to school with her so that I could beat them up. The fuckers.
Matthew: Oh, no! Did you try using the back key in your browser? Sometimes that works for me.
“Maybe some other time, I just can't write those things again.”
I know, sweetie. I know. It's so hard writing these things down. Even more so, I think, when suddenly something comes out which you didn't even realise was there, deep inside of you.
You ever need someone to talk to, luv, you know I'm here. (((BIG FAT SQUISHY HUGS)))
Chris: No, thank YOU. 🙂
Nic: No, you didn't ramble. You spoke honestly and from the heart. I'm so glad that you did.
“I'm a bitch according to my family because I don't let my grandma talk to me like this. Well, fuck you family. I'm proud of standing up for myself.”
Excuse me for saying this… but fuck your family too! I'm bloody proud of you. What you did was even harder because you knew what reaction it would get from the rest of 'em, right, but still you stood firm. That's pretty fucking awesome, Nic.
Some of the things that my grandparents have said to my mum and her sister and to some of us grandkids is appalling. I'm always saying that just because someone is old and a family member doesn't give them an excuse to be fucking rude. Instead, it means that they are old enough to fucking know better about how much these things can hurt.
“Kris, you're sarcastic and funny and smart and amazing. I'd be devastated if you felt you had to change a single thing because of someone who is thoughtless and doesn't deserve a second of your consideration.”
*ninja flash hug*
Well, shit. *hugs so big it's a little bit awkward*
Nic: Sappy. 😛
I'm struck silence, Kris, on the face of your bravery in sharing such a personal aspect of your life (((hugs))) I don't have beautiful words of wisdom like Tam but I concur with her as well as with Chris. You're Kris to me…if that makes any sense.
Oh, and to the neighbour in my apartment complex;
Yeah, I have the quirk to withdraw in my bearcave when I have an overload of emotions going on in my life. IVF can be an emotional rollercoaster, ya know!? So when I don't say Hi back it's not because I wanna be rude…it's just me living in my head at the moment. You should not have told my late hubby to divorce himself of me, that he deserved something better and that I was a heifer bitch & anti-social person. He gave you a piece of his mind about that but when he told me it still hurt like a mother f*cker!!
The one thing I've learnt from you is how not to be afraid 🙂
It's a gift you have given me and I'm sure so many others. Your greatest asset is your honesty and strength of character. Even when you feel you are at your weakest you still manage to let everyone know how much you care for them. That is a gift that I hope you will take forward as it something this world of 'oh poor me' is sorely lacking. I know finding a name for what ails you will bring you one step closer to the peace you have been searching for. When you fall I will be there to pick you up and carry you when you can't take another step. It's the least I can do for such a beautiful spirit… And you have one of the purest .
Maybe I'm a sap but I can't help it. My daughter turned on the radio whilst I was reading your post and Imagine came on… It's the only song that can make me cry. It's my song.
Oh great now my veri word is cosmos… I swear I am giving up the Wicca books… I have to my grimore is getting full 😉
First of all Kris, I'm sorry that you suffer from Bi-polar disorder. Mental illness can be dreadfully debilitating at times. Considering I grew up with a mother who suffered from debilitating anxiety/depression; I've diagnosed with severe chronic and acute depression and both of my daughters are bi-polar, I feel qualified to address this issue. Mental illness is a real problem because, as you said Kris, people can't see the way they could see a broken arm or some other visible ailment. They simply see the bitchy, crazy, irrational behavior instead. However, even though mental illness may be a reason for our behavior, it should not be used as an excuse. Ultimately, it's up to us to learn how to be aware of the signs that we are 'off' and do what we need to do without expecting the rest of the world to overlook it because we are mentally ill. Other people can only hurt us as much as we allow them to and, IMHO, there's never a reason to strike out or expect apologies from those who don't know or understand. I talk openly about my mental illness because I hope that it will inspire even one person who is suffering to find a way to make themselves take the action necessary to help them live better lives. It's a long, hard road, but with determination, a positive attitude,and a lot of help from family, friends, medications and counseling, your condition can be reasonably managed. I wish you luck in learning how to do so.
Leo: Yes, I understand what you mean. Thank you, Leo. (((HUGS)))
It would have hurt like hell to hear that. A good friend of mine went through hell with IVF too and it was an exhausting emotional rollercoaster for her. Like you, she had an amazingly supportive hubby who ripped some new ones when anyone ever went to far with her. Good hubbys rock. <3
Tish: I'd love to take all the credit, but I don't think you realise how, well, easy it is for me to be there for someone as open, caring and generous as you, Tish. *tight hugs*
We've been there for each other in the past and there's no doubt in my mind that we'll be there for each other in the future. It's quite the journey we're taking. 🙂
Arlene: Thank you for commenting and sharing your story.
“However, even though mental illness may be a reason for our behavior, it should not be used as an excuse.”
I totally agree. It is extremely important for me to learn how to manage my mental illnesses and associated behaviour. I don't want to be judged or, more importantly, to judge myself as 'just being bipolar'. That has happened too much already and is one of the reasons why I am so critical of myself and end up doing things like self-harm.
“I talk openly about my mental illness because I hope that it will inspire even one person who is suffering to find a way to make themselves take the action necessary to help them live better lives.”
That is what I hope too, especially as I've really only begun my journey and hope that by sharing others will learn more about mental illness and themselves.
Writing about it not only helps me to increase my own understanding about my behaviours, it is cathartic, hence this post. When I realised how much the rage was building inside of me I knew I had to get it out. I also needed to share it to try and make people realise how much impact their words can have.
Now that the intensity I was feeling is out, I know I can look at the situation with much clearer eyes and move on as best I can by talking about it openly and honestly with my family.
“It's a long, hard road, but with determination, a positive attitude,and a lot of help from family, friends, medications and counseling, your condition can be reasonably managed. I wish you luck in learning how to do so.”
It is and thank you, Arlene. I too wish you and yours luck in your own journeys.
“Writing about it not only helps me to increase my own understanding about my behaviours, it is cathartic, hence this post. When I realised how much the rage was building inside of me I knew I had to get it out. I also needed to share it to try and make people realise how much impact their words can have”.
Just a word of caution…be as sure as you possibly can that what you write and say or do are your true thoughts and feeling and not the 'chemical demons' at war in your mind. Those demons will say and do anything if you let them run rampant, so you need to be especially vigilant and not get so far afield that all our bridges are burned behind us. Some things, once unleashed, can never be taken back. I'm a firm believer in what kind of energy I give out to the world is what I'll get back. Again, good luck in handling this.
I understand, Arlene, and you're absolutely right that some things can never be taken.
There have been several situations when I've apologised to my immediate family because i've not been able to control myself. One of the things I'm learning to do is steer away from potentially tense meetings, moments, etc when I'm feeling 'off' because I know it's quite possible that I will do or say something I will regret and which will have a flow on affect on others.
That is one of the reasons why I like writing so much. Because it helps me think through the emotions to the heart of the matter… if that makes sense.
Thanks for giving this advice, Arlene. It's an extremely important thing to remember.
It is a sad thing that something bad that happens for a short period in time takes such a long term effecr. It took me years to get to know the “normal” me.
Ingrid: Yes, words have a particular power when they are repeated and, especially when they are negative words, are even harder to shake off so that the truth can be revealled. I'm sorry that you've had to go through it too, Ingrid.