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This is a nice demonstration of what it’s like. I honestly couldn’t watch it all the way through the very first time I saw it, and I don’t care to watch it again. It’s too close to what I feel, see and hear on a daily basis.
To answer your question more personally: Lonely.
If I didn’t have my wonderful wife, of course, I’d be a lot more lonely and self-defeating, and I’m sure my symptoms would continue to gradually be worse and worse, but it is lonely. When I have an episode that’s stronger than usual and I push her away, I’m soul crushingly alone and hollow.
A stigmatized disease is the worst kind of disease, and I have the added pressure of being in a same-sex relationship, which people have told me countless times just lends credence to “only mentally ill people are gay” (which I don’t agree with, I just happen to have an illness), so it’s very hard to find common bonds, and even if I did, I probably wouldn’t trust them.
My elementary school teacher once asked me: “Do you ever feel like you’re an island amongst yourself?” Granted, she was trying to emphasize that it’s hard to get 20 4th graders to shut the hell up before the bell rings, but it still sticks with me, because even then, I was the quietest one in class, and I still am the quietest one in my life. Some days I wish I could speak up, but I can’t.
So, instead I write, or focus on some other activity, and try to tell my head to be quiet, and stare at the paper or computer screen instead of at the whatever-it-is taking place next to me, and it’s okay, and my wife is at least still here, even if no-one else is, and I’ll be alright, if I can just write these lines, if I can just imagine this scene, if I can just be still for a little while…
Some days are worse than others, mostly they’re just lonely. I’ve grown fond of lonely, though. It’s better than the alternative.