Sunday, October 6, 2013

Broken vessels

I've been trying at poetry all day and nothing will gel. I think anger may be barring the pathway for the words, so this, as much as I have second guessed posts on Facebook, is my General Conference Fallout post.

This was a hard weekend. I don't want to get specific. I doubt anyone really cares anyway. And why would I give anyone another opening to point fingers? So here it goes...

I am a very healthy mentally ill. I told Empedocles so at our three-hour-long coffee this morning and I know he believes me. Empedocles, anxious as he is, sees the world with acute detail. He's one of my favorite people of all people, and it seems I can be my honest self around him. That's something. 

I am Bipolar I. I've tried to not be. I've followed the prayer/scripture/service model. It helps as long as it lasts, and then I'd better have Lithium in place to take over. I've also tried to convince myself that life without medication wouldn't feature the swings that it used to. I'm not certain why I tell myself this. 

But, I am not crazy. Even after two hospitalizations, I refute that I am the mentally ill mess that's been portrayed by my mother and my last ex-husband, though I can see how their claims have removed elements of responsibility from situations that we shared. Mental illness is convenient that way for people who resist diagnosis of their own. Fact is, most people can be diagnosed. Empedocles knows this; he refuses to allow them to affix the label. I respect his resistance and his conscientiousness. If only my mother and my ex were as skilled in self-moderation.

I had a bishop who failed me, sided with the priesthood, bought lies about my mental state and did not protect me, when ironically all I wanted was to fill the traditional role of an LDS woman. It's funny how I now have one foot firmly planted in the camp of feminism while the other shuffle-flaps in and out of that foundation of fascinating womanhood. That is definitely binary—Empedocles was the first to wake me up to this pattern of thinking that I dance through.

I'm still reeling from the abandonment of that bishop and my ex-husband. It would be nice for an apology. One from my mother would also be helpful. (That woman thinks she can feign perfection and that absolves her of any responsibility. She always has, and although I asked her months ago not to contact me she won't respect my boundaries. It's sickening.) Realistically, these are not going to happen. So I've spent a summer trying to climb high enough, often enough that I wouldn't feel the tears welling up. I tried to avoid General Conference. I wish I could remove myself from the pain I'm feeling tonight. None of these things work. I'm certain Jesus Christ and the atonement would work if I felt like I could access that. Unfortunately, I can't find faith in the current of anger and hurt. It's been fading for a few weeks.

Elder Holland spoke on mental illness and all of my friends freaked out and urged me to listen. I'm not going to minimize depression, but it's depression. It's so common that the fact that people haven't gained understanding and acceptance of it is laughable. Bipolar I? Let's see. Charlie Sheen. Britney Spears. Mass shooters. And politicians who are picked up on embezzlement. Elder Holland didn't talk about us.  

And then there's Elder Oaks. Wow, talk about gut-wrenching. First off, he corrects my old bishop and ex-husband in everything they tried to play off as not very important in the Plan of Happiness, and then he goes after my LGBT friends. I guess you'd have to understand that when you have a family like mine, the people who become your close friends are your family. So at first I'm cheering the fact that my righteous desires are being vindicated, and then I'm crestfallen as I'm told members of my faith can't support gay marriage, and this time it's worse than Prop 8—it's from the Conference Center pulpit.

I'm struggling. I'm not hiding anything. I feel like I have love and support to offer people in the Church because I just love people. I have major doubts about the "truthfulness" of this gospel that I won't go into here. I am hurt to the point that I don't know what holding on is worth. I can be a good person and serve people without the structure of organized religion. Is it my culture? Yes. I don't think I'll ever be able to escape that, and I don't know that I want to. But this General Conference was not uplifting; it's more like a weighted blanket that is slowly wearing down my ability to move forward.

I haven't made any decisions. I'm just grateful that after I hugged him goodbye this afternoon, Empedocles called after me, "See you Monday?"

Why this surprised me, I can't say. But I called back, "I hope so!"

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