This blog is not FDA approved
I’m toxic. I’m a poisonous plant, growing slyly in the garden of my peers. I slowly poison anyone who unwittingly– or gallantly– sets down roots within reach of my coyly venomous vines. My toxicity leaks out of my bipolar brain and poisons the soil that I share with my plant-friends beside me. My disease makes me weak and so like a parasite, I feed on others. Below the surface and under the ground, my roots entangle themselves into the roots of my peers. I latch onto them, deep within the earth, because I need their strength, their support, to survive.
I am self-pruning: I cut myself. This scares the ones that grow beside me, as we thrive together and weather each other’s storms. While our roots remain entangled we hold each other fast, because at some point we all become weak. And although at times we all become weak, we are not all toxic. I am the toxic one. The one that makes late night, crying phone calls; the one that gets out of control; the one they are tired of taking care of.
I am bipolar, but I am not self-loathing. I leave the loathing of myself up to those who have the time to devote to it. I leave this up to those who I’ve poisoned, the ones that weren’t strong enough to survive my toxicity. They’re better at it than I am anyway, as true hatred of myself would be fatal.
I’m not a Venus fly trap– I know better than to frighten at first glance. I’m a daffodil, an oleander, an azalea– pretty to look at but fatal if ingested. I have to attract others to my side, to lure them in– unsuspecting– as coy as a vampire seducing a naive victim. Once they’ve planted themselves near my side I begin my slow, toxic attack. The poison works its way ever so slowly through their roots to their stems until they can’t take any more. And they die.
But of course they don’t really die. They simply leave me. They untangle themselves from my sick roots and move to a fair weathered climate, far away from me and my toxicity. My poison has zapped their reserves and they can no longer weather my storms. The storms that roll in, my storms, are big, dark and ugly. They are hard to weather. And after weathering too many, my friends give up and walk away from me and my poison.
But I’m not really poisonous, despite the warnings they issued to the world, they that uprooted themselves and fled to sunnier skies. Maybe they didn’t know that I needed them, and their support, to survive. I’m not poisonuos; I’m bipolar. And without the strength of their roots, I wilt in the hot sun and bend even in the mildest breeze. Without their strength my illness overcomes me, the sickness of my bipolar brain. Perhaps I’m a parasite, a sick and rotten one, living off the strength of my friends– but I am not poison.
And so, to my fair weathered friends– you who blame your abandonment of me on my toxicity, my poison, the venom of my disorder; you who left me on my birthday, fresh out of the hospital and struggling through my darkest days– I know why you left. You simply weren’t strong enough to survive. You allowed your roots, the ones entangled in mine, those roots that held me firm to the earth and kept me from being blown away by the storm of my despair and my disorder– you allowed those roots to shrivel and die. You became scared for yourselves and feared that you’d been poisoned. And the antidote you chose was abandonment. You forgot the times when you’d been toxic too. You forgot how my roots, the ones you call poisonous, were entangled with your own and kept you firmly planted during the gales of your own storms.
You may be gone but you will not be forgotten. Perhaps I do have some poison in me after all, your poison. The memory of you– you who abandoned me and branded me as toxic– is a sharp stab that still hurts, a thorn that can’t be pruned because it always grows back. I’ve managed to survive, mainly through the strength of those around me– those that didn’t leave me alone during the storm. These are the strong ones, the ones who are better than me, the ones that never believed that I was truly toxic– even when I thought I’d poisoned myself.
I’ve been labeled dangerous and warnings about my toxicity have been issued. It’s been said that I’m unsafe for public use. Nevermind the fact that my disease isn’t contagious; that I bark but do not bite. You have been warned, so approach me at your own peril and handle me with care.
After all, I am toxic.