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.
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.