"How are you?"
I am sinking into the despair of knowing this is never going to change, that this is my life forevermore, scrabbling to be happy and never reaching my goal.
I am soaring with the knowledge of some good thing - today, the solo travel trip I just booked, tomorrow maybe a cute boy flirting with me - and feeling hope renew, precious, dangerously small, in my chest.
How do I communicate the truth that both of these coexist at once in my soul? How do I say I am both terrible and amazing, and how does anyone understand that as much as I crave death, I ache for a full life even more.
When they ask, they are just being polite, but my problem has always been that I desire so badly to be seen. To be known and understood. I must really show them my pain, I think; then...oh yes, then they will have their answer.
“How are you?”
It is the quick question they toss my way as we pass off shifts at the office, and I grimace then laugh because the truth is I’m both terrible and great and there’s no time to explain that I have never been okay, I never will be okay, but sometimes, for just a moment or two, I am not terrible.
I don’t know how to explain it. I don’t know if it’s even real, if it even makes sense. My doctor tells me I have Bipolar II and that makes sense but sometimes…
Sometimes it is 11:15 p.m. at work and I am smiling and laughing and I feel like things are okay, I feel powerful, I feel beautiful and like I have finally found my niche, the thing I am good at and the people who believe in me. I blink and it is 11:45 p.m. and my fists are clenched onto the top of my desk and my heart is racing a thousand-miles per minute, I can’t breathe, I can’t think, there are so many emotions in my soul and in my brain and sending tremors through my body.
In the blink of an eye I go from life of the party to party pooper. I am fine until suddenly I am calling the Lifeline for Suicide Prevention, begging them to save me, save me, save me.
“How are you?”
Right now I am good but in 30 minutes I might be crushed by the heaviest of weights on my chest and it’s going to kill me, except…right before the moment it crushes me entirely, it lifts. And I breathe again, freely, completely, unburdened and full of unhindered joy.
So how am I?
Truly, I haven’t the faintest. It comes, it goes, but the only steady truth is I am chronically mentally unwell, and I am fighting it. Daily.