The Oprah Story

Did I ever tell you about the time I was on Oprah? Well I was. Sort of. There was an episode closely following the Columbine massacre regarding teen bullying and I wrote an email. This was about a year after the advent of the email, so I had to actually mail a picture of me to Opie, in the MAIL. With a STAMP. And this was the picture.

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Now, this, in and of itself, was unfair. I didn't look like this when I was being mentally and emotionally tortured in grammar and high school. Think of me more like this:

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AMG, those glasses. No wonder everyone hated me.

Anyway, the Columbine massacre happened. And I was horrified. For one, because of the senseless violence. For another, because I related to those boys who became monsters that day. I know what it's like to be mocked. To be tormented. To wish you were dead, if only to make the pain stop. So I wrote to Oprah. Cause who is going to get your story across more than OPRAH? No one, that's who.

So I wrote a letter. And Opie's producers called me and asked if I could send a picture and read the letter over the air. You'd think someone who was classically trained in theatre for most of her life would have done a better job, but I was seriously awful. I was way too nervous.

Remember, this is 1999. No internet, no YouTube, no nothing other than a VHS tape I have that is in some box somewhere in my apartment, if not in my parents' garage. But it's somewhere, I promise. And I spilled my heart.

I didn't know, back then, that I was bipolar. That there was seriously something wrong with me, in the brain department. I just thought I was a bad person. I always have thought I am a bad person. That's why bad things happen. It's my fault. Cause I'm a bad person.

Wow, that's a little narcissistic, is it not?

But that's my disease. That's why I take fistfuls of meds every day. To try to not punish myself. I know it sounds insane. I'm fully aware. And that's why I called Opie.

The show is lost to history, but today, I wrote again. There was a story, a few months ago, about a 7 year old girl who suffers every day with schizophrenia. You know, it's funny, (not really) how when you have a mental illness like myself, you can think "at least it's not schizophrenia." That's sick. These people are people I know, that live with more torment than anyone, ANYONE should ever deal with. And Oprah's story about this beautiful little girl? Shattered me.

And then I went on the message boards.

"the parents are to blame"
"the parents are obviously to blame, probably drugs"
"It's a demon"
"It's a lack of faith in god"
"She's a selfish child"
"She's a spoiled child"
"She's just a bad child"

It went on and on. And I got angry. SO angry. So I've started to write to ol' Opie. Not in a hysterical, repetitious way, but a way in which maybe I'll be heard again, the way I was in 1999. I'm trying, I'm yelling and screaming from the very tops of the trees. For all those who cannot.

Listen to me, Oprah. Come on. Listen.


Comments

The Oprah Story — 10 Comments

  1. I saw the story about that little girl (not on Oprah, on some other news story), it was gut-wrenchingly awful. People who blame the parents OR the child obviously don’t know anyone who has suffered with a mental illness.
    I’m actually going to be a little bit pissed if you DO get on Oprah, because then I’ll have to watch it, and GAH I can’t stand that damn show. But if you’re on, I will watch. Because you are The Awesome.

  2. I saw this show awhile back flipping through the channels and was floored.I have suffered bouts of mind numbing depression before and with the help of meds got better.I have a son who also suffers but with a form of autism and when I saw that little girl it killed me as I thought I was reliving it.Its not the parents fault,its the trappings of the mind and it sucks.My son is 19 now and has gotten so much better all meds are almost tapered off but the years of being bulled and shit upon by other kids just broke my heart.Today my son is a wonderful,kind and giving person and for the grace of a higher power he learned that he was amazing and wonderful no matter what those bullies did or said.I hope that the assholes who attempted to break him rot in hell along with the people who believe that mental sickness is just BS,fuck them

  3. I have never struggled with mental illness but I have been close to a few people that do. I think those who attempt to blame mental illness solely on extrinsic factors are either ignorant or in denial. Mental illness is the same as physical illness. We all have our weaknesses and imperfections for which we cannot be blamed.

  4. on friday, december 11th, i was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. i have struggled & been medicated rather unsuccessfully for the past 8 years for major depressive disorder. through a series of life events i have ended up with a new psychiatrist that made the diagnosis. on one hand i’m relieved that perhaps this puts me on the correct road to remission of my symptoms. on the other, i’m scared. your post makes me feel less alone.
    i bristle at the comments that you list from the oprah message board. i went to her message board and read some of them for myself and i felt like i was going to throw up. please DO keep up your advocacy for the ones who cannot speak for themselves.

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