How Does It Feel To Be Broken?

This is a long, rambling meta Essay, originally keyed for my friends here at DD, and I am writing as I listen, and when I am finished, I shall do quick spell-check and “save,” may you all have mercy upon my vomitous verbiage…it’s the only way I know how to write, off the top of my head…so here goes…


I love the video “Broken” by Seether f. Amy Lee, because the landscape is so soothing to me.

Let me explain…

Have you ever seen the video?  Watch it on YouTube on the flip, and stay with me while I continue…


I was born broken, you see. (No pity, please, just send money- I don’t need no steenking peety, it costs nothing to provide) Broken in the everyday, run of the mill Joe sense.

I ain’t no Joe.


I see things.  I hear things.

Things that no one else sees or hears.


Don’t worry, I don’t think I’m an extra-terrestrial radio receiver- the things I see and hear are manufactured within my own cranium, which is why I can walk around as normal as the next guy, for all appearances…when I see or hear something and do a double-take, and realize it’s just in my head, I shrug and move on…nothing to see here, folks, just my fucking brain talking to me…

Those who know me from Daily Kos know already that I am a Type One Bipole (I love calling myself a Bipole, it sounds so exotically xenophobic and epithetic* – Hey, you fucking Bipole, get off the bus…), and that I can be quite obnoxious.

Well, that’s me…I’m a real bastard.  Through and through. I have to be to survive.  I live within my head, much as a walking, communicative Austistic.  I consider myself an Autistic with verbal skills…nothing more, nothing less.

Or perhaps an Asperger with slightly more developed communication skills.

I’m not really there, you see.


I can walk in the park, and revel in the green, the colours, the beauty of nature, you see, and drink it in, and absolutely feel it in my pores.

But I would do so alone.  If I am walking in the park with even my wife, you see, so much of my concentration is tied up in simply being “there” to converse, that the world fades to grey.

I only live when I am alone, and so I walk alone amongst you.


I have two personalities.

One, I possess and maintain for public display, which is merely more than an aesthetic facade, and when I don this facade to leave my home and interact with the greater society, the world fades to grey.  I cannot see anything but that which I must do, say and pretend, in order to interact with others, lest they run shrieking from me.

Everything about becomes as you see in the “Broken” video, which is why I love watching it…it makes me feel at home…

I cannot “be” with others and be Me.  I can only present an impression of Me to others that will not repel, anger or frighten them.

The other personality is who I am, and the only one who how knows that personality, the Essential Me, is yours truly.


When I was a child, I read.

And I read.

And I read…

I lived between the tattered covers of my favourite books, The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, The Great Brain, The Dark is Rising, oh, and Big Red series, The Black Stallion series, and all the other wonderful animal novels written for kids…

I had no use for other children, for they had no use for me.  I’ve had friends, and they always invariably bored me.  Everything they liked, I felt, was so drab  and so common…and eventually, I left them or they left me…

Within the written word, I escaped through the Looking Glass, and whole worlds opened before me, worlds in which I was normal, and could interact with other without killing the essential Me…


I love my wife and children, in fact, they are the only things tethering me to this world, and yet, even they will never truly know me.  I am the opaque glass, and all you will see is what I allow you to see.

The clearest vision my wife shall ever have of the real me is to watch me, while I am at peace and alone and unaware that I am being watched.  The problem is, I am never unguarded in the presence of others, even my loved ones.

I can show you anger, joy, ugliness and beauty, but it will only, ever be a glimpse of the essential Me.

The conduit with which to provide this, you see, as you possess and others, was broken or nonexistent when I was born.  I cannot be sociable, I can only pretend to be, most of the time wishing desperately for a teleportation machine to bear me far from wherever I happen to be, and quickly.

I am the one who fidgets impatiently in the Room of Society, looking out the window to my own Society of One, Me.

I was the child who looked inward, who could meet your gaze clearly and impudently, and yet who rarely felt the need to.


An irony from my childhood- My parents’ favourite punishment for me, in my early teens, thinking I was “normal,” was to banish me to my room for weeks at a time, to emerge soley to attend school, eat meals and bathe…they thought that depriving me of the society of others was a punishment.  How cruel that would have been if I had been normal…luckily, for me, I wasn’t…

And, oh, how I loved those times…the only thing I missed sorely was the television, but other than that, in the solitude of my bedroom, with my scores of books, and a radio with which to listen to my favourite music, I didn’t do too badly by myself.  Of course, I couldn’t react too gleefully when the punishments were levied, lest the silly creatures suspect that I didn’t mind…

Take that, Mom and Pops, you silly little “normals.”  Yeesh, I could see them coming a mile away, they were so transparent…

I have no feelings of love for my parents, you see.  They did not instill it in me, only the fear of corporal violence and physical harm.  When I became too big to take to the woodshed without vague worries of retribution, I was relegated to the solitude of my bedroom, away from “civilized” peoples, which, laughingly, my parents thought was them…oh, the mirth…


I tell you all this, because, at Daily Kos, I have often been accused by some idiotic cretins of “playing up” my Bipolar Disorder.

How in hell, I ask you, could I do so when it is the Outer World, and not me, that I find fucked up?

Change? Me?

What the hell for?

I do not love my BPD, nor do I hate it.  I was not diagnosed until 34 years of age, and until then, I thought I was merely the strange-acting product of years of isolation and abuse.

I do not feel sorry for myself, for I do not feel that one aspect of myself was “created” or “shaped” by abuse.  I know myself, and I born different.  I have never been one of you.  And abuse, isolation and racial persecution were merely salt and pepper to flavour the stew of the Essential Me…

I can not be broken, for I was born so…


So, heed this caveat…when I expound at length about my Disorder, I do so to educate those who are unfamiliar with it, and to perhaps let others know that, if they are likewise Bipoles, that they truly are not the only ones out there who have it.

I don’t suffer from my BPD…it is the world’s expectations of me, and it’s reaction to my difference, that is the burden.

I wouldn’t change one blessed thing about myself, I would only change the world to be able to accommodate those like me, so we aren’t pursued with baying hounds when people look for societal scapegoats.


Don’t pity me, for that sentiment would be wasted.  I live in a hell created by society, but, alone, in the vast expanse of my own inner world, I am completely at peace…


So fuck with me at your own peril…





* epithetic is my own fucking word, to hell with your spell-check


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  1. to kick-start my Essays…

    Since we don’t have TU status, there’s no need to beg for handouts, right?

    I’ll just post and let well enough alone going forward…unless this is the required protocol…

    • Pluto on November 1, 2007 at 23:00

    I prefer the early 20th century definition:

    “I’m experiencing an Existential Dilemma.”

    I’m sticking with that. It’s just so…. French.

    (Plus, the meds are/were better.)

    • pico on November 1, 2007 at 23:36

    and you used it correctly.  🙂

    An adjective or short descriptive phrase which captures the particular quality of the person or thing it describes. (source)

    • Alma on November 1, 2007 at 23:59

    when I don’t have to pretend to be someone I’m not.  I have a false facade for when I’m around people too, and it’s exhausts me to keep it up for long at a time.

  2. Only child of parents about 40 (are you an only?) who was precocious right away, had a facial fracture, surgeries, then developed something called Childhood Disintegrative Disorder at around 6/7…  ack, I’m not up to telling my story at the moment except to say I get you.  Living with a mild disability in a mean town with clueless parents was a confusing start.

    I did find a key out, although like you most people in the US I found to be so superficial as to become quite impatient with knowing them… my turning point was reading plays.

    Sam Shepard inspired me tremendously with Buried Child, just wondering if you read that one?  Also reading the Romantics on Shakespeare opened so much up to me about the depth of those classics.

    Playwrights are never “normal” and never come from healthy families, therefore I found mentors in them.

    I recall the first sentence of one of Tennessee Williams’ few autobiographical essays speaking of his father:  He entered the house as though he meant to tear it down from the inside out.  He called the gay young man “Miss Nancy,” rubbish like that.

    Williams’ Night of the Iguana not only defined so much to me, but has become my husband’s (Nam vet) and my byword for those times when we figuratively pull one another’s head out of the toilet:  we “go Shannon.”  It helps to name things.

    Sam Shepard’s violent, drunken father once came to a performance of one of his plays (I forget which), drunk of course, and so identified with it all that he wobbled and bobbed up the aisle to the stage to rage at the actors.

    I figure if he could live that down to win a Pulitzer Prize, I could find a way to balance it all myself.

    Thank you for your candor here, and your courage to speak out.  Honored to share.

  3. so there’s one more I need to toss out for discussion…

    In the US it is so popular to label and medicate “bipoles” and “manic depression,” yada yada.

    My husband and I are both from extremely creative fields, have done plenty of reading on biographies of creative genious (music, literature, science etc.) and have a big problem with this entire social thrust to pigeonhole/shame extreme personalities.

    To the world:  sorry, but it takes an extreme mind to produce extreme art/science.

    Newton for one is in the psych stocade now for manic depression, whatever.

    Well.  Give a creative mind meds, and you might get a suburbanite post-industrial cog out of them, but the great thinking will be gone.

    I know this too well.  At times I took meds to calm down, I lost the painting.  Could not do what I did before.

    Which is not to say extremes in mood/personality do not exist, oh no.  But that maybe in a different time, a different society, it would be seen as a gift not a curse.

    I have a long familial biography to pitch into this debate, working on that essay.  But for now, just weighing in with that opinion.  Medicate Newton, and forego the science.  Likewise Michelangelo, Mozart especially, surely Chopin… the list goes on and on.  Or what do we value, “normalcy” above great and unique thought?

    How very GOP to stigmatize extreme minds.

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