What price do you pay for being high-functioning?
Upfront, once again, let me be clear on how grateful I am. OK. With the exception of most psychotic symptoms, most people experience something akin to the symptoms that get us diagnosed as “mentally ill.” The difference between the MI and the non-MI is the extent to which sadness, anxiety, dissociation, elation, fear, and a variety of other things interfere with one’s ability to “function.” I do not believe there is a clear-cut threshold that some cross and others do not. There’s a grey area in there, a No Man’s Land between the trenches. The price I personally pay is in that grey area.
By that I mean that I experience a level of confusion about my self. My self-conceptualization is neither here nor there, neither black nor white, not always “functioning” or “not functioning.” For me, personally, that is a significant price. While it has real-world implications, I acknowledge that this is a seriously vague answer. My hope is that the answers to the following questions will clarify.
How hard do you work at being high-functioning?
Well, now, that really depends on how I’m defining “functioning” at any given moment. Sometimes, if I’m being completely honest, I’m not working too hard at all. Those are generally the moments wherein my definition is based on how others see me. I can work at almost any time. I am NOT complaining about that, and we know that work is therapy for me. When I’m defining “functioning” in terms of how I feel or the extent I’m able to actually take care of myself or do things like, say, the dishes, then I have to work really fucking hard.
Do you ignore parts of yourself?
Everyday — ignoring a different part at different parts of the day. In the interest of conserving space in a longish post, I’ll just say that I ranted last weekend about Inside Me versus Outside Me (along with a stupid amount of mathematical allusion) on my blog. Self-sacrifice for self-preservation. (That seems to be my thing this week.)
What price do you pay for being in the closet (this may not apply to everyone)?
Ditto. Self-sacrifice for self-preservation. Confusion regarding my self-conceptualization. I feel I give up a level of comfort in who I am. I feel I give up a level of validation — particularly from myself.
How often do you pay it?
I pay said price when Inside Me doesn’t so much look or feel like Outside Me, which is to say that I pay that price when I’m experiencing some episode. That’s the answer I would’ve given four months ago.
The strange effect this forum is having on me is a growing dissatisfaction with my Closeted status. I’m starting to notice more times when I self-censor. Having a place to discuss where my head is seems to have a side-effect, namely that I’m noticing how frequently my head is in one place and I’m pretending it’s somewhere else.