Taming the Polar Bears
The Final Chapters
This is going to be blunt and is likely going to hurt. But so be it.
Why am I closing down this blog and likely removing access to my writing? As always is the case, there are numerous reasons, the most important of which 99.5% of my readers will not be able to get no matter how much they “think” they “get it”.
I may write very openly and honestly but I remain a very private person and I expect personal privacy. That boundary was being crossed too often.
I take a good deal of responsibility, however. At various times since I first started doing the work that would become the basis for Taming the Polar Bears in its current incarnation, I've very much wanted to get involved with helping others. I knew very early on that I had something very special and very powerful; more personal experience with living with a mental health disorder and more experience being within the mental health care system AND being deeply and widely read on not only psychiatric medications but everything to do with psychiatric conditions AND neuroscience. I also knew my writing was very powerful. I also knew I possess unusual levels of empathy and understanding for those who suffer (I had all my life, my family is just that way, but especially since going through everything I have over the past seven years).
So when people reached out to me for help, I found it not only very hard not to want to try help as best I could, I felt it was very much something I wanted to do.
So yes, I can blame myself for appearing to be accessible.
But this quickly spiraled out of control and at some point I could see that though I was very knowledgeable and uniquely understanding and empathetic, in no way was I qualified for helping people deal with their issues. And in various emails and blog posts, I thought I made it clear that I was not available on a personal basis.
I also thought I made it clear that absolutely NOBODY - that would be ZERO people - have access to me regarding my mental states or mental health status.
Yet my boundaries continued to be crossed, people felt they could email me or message me in ways they had absolutely no right to do.
“Have a Kit-Kat”
These are words that I will never forget. I probably wouldn't have forgotten them anyway, such is the way my memory storage system etches things into my mind, but I won't let myself forget.
This was the heading of an email I received in response to a private post I wrote on Taming the Polar Bears.
This from a regular reader of mine, one who's always proclaimed to “get it”.
I am, even as I attempt to write this three days later, at a loss to understand this or explain it. I can say a few things that I can only hope might be clear. One, is that an off the cuff dismissive hurtful line like this is so far away from the message I've tried to get across in Taming the Polar Bears, it pretty much demolishes any faith I had that my message was getting through. This is exactly the kind of bullshit I've put up with for years and is EXACTLY the kind of thing that greased my skid downwards towards suicidal hell. I would be devastated by hearing this from the most ignorant person in my life, let alone from a regular reader of my blog.
Then, further in the same email, I get “just chill out and enjoy Christmas with your family”.
This would be the “family” (ex-wife, daughter) that looks at me as a pathetic loser, that kicked me out when I had nowhere to go and wouldn't so much as give me $20 for gas. For fourteen years I worked my ass off and made great sacrifices to keep a roof over these two ungrateful wenches' heads and who “loved” me all that time but when I'm down and out and essentially homeless, they can't get me out of their lives fast enough.
And I'm airily “advised” to just “chill out and enjoy Christmas” with them.
But the defense of this ill fitted “advise” is that it was “well meaning”.
Let me give you all some background about “well meaning advise” and me.
In the seven years I've gone through this, I've never hid anything. I had dozens and dozens of friends who had “front row seats” to my long, sickening descent from successful, financially secure home owner into madness and then poverty. None of that was necessary and it was largely facilitated by people who had no fucking clue whatsoever what they were talking about bombarding me with “well meaning advice”.
I could fill a book with the “well meaning advice” given to me and occupy a condo building with the people who shoveled it to me. All of it completely useless and mostly harmful bullshit. Because NONE of it applied to a person of my unique situation.
And I'd explain and explain and explain and yet the fucking bullshit kept coming. And all the more my skids were greased and the further I descended into hell.
Meanwhile, I've seen twenty or more psychiatrists and dozens more mental health care workers of all kinds and NONE OF THEM could help either.
Meanwhile, I've attempted to make it abundantly clear that I have about the worst form of the worst psychiatric illness (I'd argue that in some ways my advanced form of bipolar is worse and harder to treat than schizophrenia) and that the likelihood of ANYONE going through ANYTHING similar is remotely, remotely slim.
Yet for reasons that I just utterly CANNOT fathom, people feel they're “qualified” to write me and give me “advise”.
This is not only with online “friends” but people in real life. There is no possible way on earth anyone could have any idea of what I'm going through let alone what to do, yet everyone seems to think they've “been there” and are thus “qualified” to say something.
This went on for years and greased the skids for my descent into suicidal hell.
Then at some point I just had to firmly say enough was enough (by this time I was finally beginning to get my mind back) and I established a ZERO tolerance policy for any “advice” or “input” into my condition from ANYONE.
I try to establish these boundaries yet people still feel entitled to cross them.
All because I “put myself out there” on my blog.
So this tells me two things:
People SAY they read my blog and get something from it but this crossing of boundaries tells me they don't. Getting told to “have a Kit-Kat” confirms that they don't.
That makes me feel, quite reasonably, that my writing has been a waste of time and my precious, precious energy. But more on this later.
Two, is that if people continue to cross the boundaries I try to establish and further tax my very, very limited energy resources – not to mention pound me down further with ignorant bullshit “advice” - then I simply cannot afford to “put myself out there” as I have.
You see, unlike the majority of you whose “suicidal thoughts” are just boo-hoo feeling sorry for yourself “I can't go on” bullshit, I – for reason that are VERY unique to my RARE form of bipolar – face real suicidal danger. If I slip down there, it's NOT because I'm feeling boo-hoo sorry for myself.
I don't know how many posts I've dedicated to this and people “claim” to “get it” and then I still get bullshit like “have a Kit-Kat”.
MEANWHILE, I have to put up with harassment bordering on stalking from someone who claims to “love” me. And this person too is full of ignorant assumptions and “well meaning” “support” and “input”. And none of this is welcome, none of this is needed, none of this is useful. Yet if I try to explain this and make it clear, I get all this passive aggressive guilt trip boo-hoo bullshit that puts me on the spot. And then I have to waste valuable and preciously little mental energy on dealing with all of THAT.
There are many reasons people do things like this and why they “think” it's “well meaning” but I'm going to have to get to that in another piece.
Meanwhile, I literally CANNOT afford to put myself out there anymore. I walk a tightrope everyday that very, very, VERY few people can know of, let alone fathom and comprehend. I do NOT need people pushing me off that tightrope.
As for deleting the contents of Taming the Polar Bears, I'll get to that in another piece as well.
I am well, well aware how much this hurts but as Wei Wu Wei said:
So yeah, truth hurts but it takes pain to make some people learn. Then again, seeing the amount of pain some people are willing to bear and never learn anything, I'm not so sure even this will help. But that's not my problem.
I have one criteria and one criteria only for my life now - I do WHATEVER it takes to stay alive. If that means hurting some people, so be it. But don't feel bad, I've cut many, many others out of my life for bullshit I won't tolerate, including, just two days ago, my own daughter (more later).