Yesterday, like most Americans home and abroad, I had a little BBQ with friends and family. This was the fifth annual iteration that we’d been doing it with one of my ‘local’ ex-pat friends (she lives a couple of hours away), and at my eldest’s suggestion, we extended the invitation to her best friend’s family. As we match up as well with his parents as we do with my friend R and her husband, we’re always happy to hang out with them. And as the matriarch of that family is my closest local friend (both in physical proximity and friendship ‘importance’), I definitely wanted her and R to meet and make friendly. All in all, all six adults had a great time, all three kiddos had a great time, and my eldest declared it to be the best day ever.
While we were chatting and knitting (because yanno, I have to get everyone in the world hooked on knitting), the subject of having friends who also have mental illnesses came up. And I commented that pretty much the entirety of my inner circle(s) have mental illnesses, and most of them of a chronic nature. It was agreed that having friends who are also living with such made for a more empathetic support group, and on that I agree. I hadn’t intentionally acquired a bunch of bipolar friends on purpose (well, until I set up The Bipolar Blogger Network, ha ha), but it helped me be happier with my diagnosis and what it meant, and it’s helped me since in knowing that friends with similarly broken brains can understand when the brain weasels are being stupid (brain weasels compliments of bat).
But What About ‘Normal’ People?
This came up in a big way when my sister was visiting last month. We haven’t been on the same page as each other in a really freaking long time; I’m pretty sure the last time were was in the 90s. And we totally had a blow out fight. We also finally had a point where we deconstructed it after the fact and managed to make a lot more sense to each other, but it proved a point to me — it is hard to explain things to someone who isn’t mentally/chronically ill. Even if someone is empathetic (and it turned out she was to a much higher degree than I remembered from recent years), there’s so much of the experience and the verbiage and such that goes into clarifying things to someone who lives and speaks a different language, and well… spoons? What spoons? And I did manage to clarify that — that we didn’t speak the same language, so we were just raising our voices at each other trying to make things make sense that way. Yeah, that doesn’t work. But as many of us know — it’s just easier to take those non-existent spoons and stay with people who don’t need extra clarification. That isn’t to say that a normal person is ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’, obviously — just that there is so much they take for granted in their functionality that they might not be able to easily understand that not everyone can talk so heatedly, or defend their positions deeply.
Anyways, I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir, but my brain needed to noodle over it. *nodnods*
Hope everyone is well.