My name is Joe The Sicilian. I grew up in a Bipolar family. My family’s Bipolar Disorder seemed normal to me for much of my life. The only person who doesn’t have Bipolar Disorder in my family is my mom, who finds it extremely hard to understand the disease. All of my grandparents had it, my aunts and uncles had it, and my dad had it. Because of this, I thought cycling through feelings of being happy, then angry, then sad, were normal. It wasn’t until I became older and realized that I wasn’t function well in society that something was wrong with me. So, now, at 39 years old, I am a mental health advocate and try to let people know they are not alone as a blogger. I do this by trying to help fellow sufferers and their loved ones to understand themselves and this disease.
Our illness doesn’t define us. We are complex people with feelings that need to be seen as more than just mentally ill. Mental illness is not a choice, our brains function differently, and when we are forced to suffer stigma and shame by an ignorant society, it compounds the problems and intense emotions we have to deal with every day.
Having a crazy family and not fitting into society has taken its toll on me. I have an extreme awareness of peoples’ character, or lack thereof. My feelings are extremely intense, and because of this sensitivity, I notice peoples moods and feelings immediately. I am extremely empathetic, which immediately triggers some intense emotion for me. I know what it is like to feel alone and misunderstood. I cannot hold down a job, I have to distance myself from insensitive people, and have lost many friends as well. Even though I suffer on a daily basis like this, I want to help others who have the same experiences and feelings that think they are alone or have no one to talk to. It is my new crusade. http://joethesicilian.com/ TO BOLDLY EXPLORE MENTAL ILLNESS LIKE NO ONE HAS DONE BEFORE!
In college, I started to realize I had a problem with the insane structure of society and authority. I was a professional musician in a band and did a lot of drugs, so I was able to avoid having to assimilate into society for a long time. When the party was over, I could not adjust to anything. I couldn’t hold down a job, or deal with any sort of authority at all. I was truly lost.
That is when I realized something had to change, and that I needed help. The journey of self discovery and the pain that society inflicts on mentally ill people had just begun. Years went by, and I bounced from psychiatrist to psychiatrist, therapist to therapist, and hospital to hospital. I would work for as long as I could at some meaningless job until I couldn’t anymore and the whole process would repeat itself… over and over, and over again.
Not all disabilities are visible. Our actions from those disabilities are visible however. So people shunned me and it got really bad for a while. I became a huge drug addict and turned my back on life and myself for 2 years. I was broke, had no job, and lost all of my friends. So I moved back in with my mom and had to make a decision. I had to think about mental illness in a whole new way. I had to stop fighting who I was, and not let society tell me who I should be. I not only had to accept myself, but embrace myself too. Once I did that, it all became clear to me. It is my job to reach out and help fellow sufferers. So that is what I do now.
Imagine a jigsaw puzzle factory. This particular factory produces only 2 puzzles. One is a blue puzzle, and one is a green puzzle. All the puzzle pieces represent people. The box they are in represents the world they live in. However, I am a green puzzle piece that somehow got placed in the blue puzzle box. I have curves and notches like the other puzzle pieces, and I have edges and angles like the other puzzle pieces. When you put the puzzle together however, there is nowhere for me to fit in the puzzle, because I was supposed to be in the other box with the pieces like me. This is what it is like to be Bipolar and to have mental illness. When I look in the mirror I see a person. I walk and talk like a person. Other people see me as a person. However, when it comes time to assimilate and be part of the whole picture, I don’t fit in. I feel there is a whole other world I am meant to fit into, but I will never find it because that green box has been shipped far away.
It is time to stop making mentally ill people feel this way. The way to do this is to educate people about mental illness so we can eradicate the stigma that in unfairly thrown upon us. We also have to reach out to each other and let our fellow suffers know they are not alone.
My name is Joe The Sicilian, I am a writer and occasionally make YouTube videos. I’m originally from East Detroit, Michigan. It’s called Eastpointe now, but I refuse to accept this. I moved to Kalamazoo, MI where I attended undergraduate school at Western Michigan University, obtaining a BA in English with a minor in Philosophy. Then I decided it was time to be a grown up and worked a bunch of crappy jobs for a while, none of which worked out. I was a true factotum. I started to write about my life and make some YouTube videos. People liked them so much, they suggested I start this blog too.
You might be wondering who I am and what I’m about. Well, I am a person that suffers from Bipolar disorder, anxiety, and depression. So naturally, I’m hilarious. I blog to help people just like me. I want to let people know that they are not alone. I want to give people a voice and let them know that there are people in the world just like them that understand. This blog is also designed to help family and friends of Bipolar people to cope and understand as well. I will explore the idea that mentally ill people are not just defined by their disease, but also have very complex and positive aspects to their personalities as well.