|Image: The Keep Calm-O-Matic|
Being artificially calm is mostly good. It has allowed me to reach many of my goals, but it has also alienated me from some potential friends and has made me a target of several adult bullies over the years. As a teenager, I was a person who would speak up and fight back, but that is not my first inclination now - unless I am off medication, and then I suddenly take everyone by surprise and end up doing many things I regret - especially because I am not used to acting in such ways regularly. Because I am not used to dealing with my strong emotions, aggressiveness, and rage, it is easy to get overtaken by them.
Because I am artificially gentle, I have to make sure I am around good people, who have my best interests in mind, and won't try to take advantage of me or torture me. I have found that there are certain sadistic people who enjoy finding people they think they can pick on, and they can be relentless. I don't know how naturally calm and gentle people feel. I don't know if they seethe inside. But, I know that I do, and that if someone has wronged me repeatedly, and I am off of my medication, they need to watch out, because although I am not proud of it, I have lashed out physically by fighting and throwing things. This is one reason I need to stay on my medication. I don't have experience with my extreme emotions anymore. Since I have been diagnosed with a severe and persistent mental illness, I don't know if I could ever get control of them. I would love to be off of medication and be free of all of the side effects, but being off of medication has never gone well for me.
I have missed a lot of partying. Although I occasionally have one drink, I don't drink and let loose with my friends, as many people do, because it can be devastating to my stability. This might cause me to take things more seriously and be more bothered by things such as that bully in many workplaces. Other people just go out with their coworkers, drink, and laugh about the awful people they have to work with. I tend to stew about it. In some cases, for years, and that has made work very hard at times. I have usually not been friends with my coworkers, because I haven't been able to party with them, so I haven't had the lighthearted work relationships I imagine that others have. I have only been good friends with one coworker in all of my years of working and I am grateful that we are still friends. It has been an important friendship that has lasted for almost 20 years. I appreciate all of my friends a great deal, I just haven't made them at work. I try to blow off steam by laughing, exercising, praying, and meditating, but sometimes I feel that I have missed partying and just acting goofy in the way that adults only do when they've been drinking.
Because being artificially calm has made me overweight, I don't think it is much appreciated by my family or by society as a whole. However, it has made my friendships stronger and has made it possible for me to have a healthy relationship with my wonderful fiance. He is the greatest source of happiness in my life, and without taking my medication, I would not be able to be the good partner that he deserves. I work hard on giving him my best every day that I am well because he does the same for me, and I appreciate it immensely. He wants me to be healthy and doesn't really care how much I weigh and neither do my good friends. Weight gain has been an interesting way of weeding people out of my life. I feel there is almost more of a stigma with weight gain than with living with a severe mental illness, although, because of the treatments available, the two often go hand-in-hand.
The most important things to me, outside of my relationship with God, are friendships, my relationship with my fiance, my community, my health, and my happiness, and my artificial calm helps me nurture these things and find my place in them. It is hard to accept, but I have accepted the fact that I am not naturally calm and probably have no idea what that is really like. I know I fool a lot of people. Many people have said that I am the calmest and most rational person that they know. They have not seen me off of my medication!