Questions & Ambiguous Answers

For nearly two months, the familiar faces that I worked with at my weekend retail job were replaced with those of the doctors and nurses at the hospital. It has been five weeks since that 15th little spark. Gradually, the faces of those nurses, the hospital receptionist and the doctors have changed back to those I saw until two months ago as I finally began going back to my 4-hour shifts last Saturday.

I had told some friends at work about this journal prior to the ECT, so though my face, visually-speaking, wasn’t around at work, etc., they knew where I was and what I was doing (and perhaps now know more about me that they ever wanted to know).  But for others, it must have been a bit of a surprise to see my face back at that stock-area of the store, wrapping those gifts and fetching for those items.

Where have you been?  How have things been?

Several have asked me these questions. This afternoon, a surprised “Amber” asks me what’s been going on when she sees me for the first time in  months.

I pause for a moment. What do I say?

It’s odd. This journal is not private. There are some things I’ve thought or have happened that I’ve only scribbled out in my other, paper-based journal, but for the most part, anyone is able to access the basic personal facts like: a) I have bipolar disorder, b) I’ve been suicidal, and c) I chose to have electroconvulsive therapy. Wasn’t my original idea to write this stuff was to bring mental illness ‘out of the closet’? I guess using this inanimate object to disseminate information makes you feel like you’ve become more open.

Yet, I couldn’t tell  the truth. Instead, I give a casual answer to Amber that I was “out of commission.” So lame, like when Charlotte tells Mr. Big, “I curse the day you were born, ” in that Sex and the City movie. The obvious follow-up from Amber is asking whether I’m okay or if I’m better now. I crack that little Japanese laughter and just force out a “yes.”

I don’t know if I really mean it, but I just say it. Yes, I’m better…I think.

I don’t think I’m ashamed by my illness or the treatments.  But the last two months can’t just be explained away by, “Oh, I had ECT, ” as if everyone knew what that was and why one would be having such procedure that can be shortened to an acronym. In addition to the lack of people who immediately know what ECT is, trying to be even opaque to others and perhaps more critically, to myself, is a very new type of action to me. All of these concerns and experiences all get jumbled up. I also wonder, how much stuff about others do people really want to hear? They don’t want your life handed to them on a platter. Should I just say that I had ECT, and let that determine the rest of the tone of the conversation?

To borrow from Denise Richards, It’s Complicated.

One Comment to “Questions & Ambiguous Answers”

  1. Отличный блог, интересное и полезное содержание!

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