How To React To Extreme Gossip
Back in college, I had a set of roommates in the fall when I first moved to my school, that really had it out for me. They spread many rumors. Some were like I made myself a whole enchilada and ate it and about how resourceful I was back then. Other rumors went around that I can’t remember anymore, but that I got paranoid about, back when I didn’t know I had schizophrenia because I wasn’t diagnosed properly until I was 30. My family’s reign of terror ended when I decided to get proper treatment. In college, I was on meds, and off meds, trying to experiment.
My reaction to gossip was to take a Zen approach. I didn’t let it bother me. I thought, how is a Zen Master supposed to deal with this? I walked around, not paying attention to the gossip, making friends who didn’t believe the rumors that went around in the classes my roommates were in.
What I do remember is they received considerable backlash for being mean to me. Gossip in either direction was something I had not to let bother me, period. I do not respond in kind to mean people unless they seriously push me to be mean like one roommate I had done. She made me say something mean to her that hurt her feelings. I was refusing to repeat her behavior back to her, though. I don’t like returning aggression although I have learned since this experienced that it is necessary sometimes, to respond in kind.
So the roommates spread vile gossip about me, made for a very hostile living situation, and in general, made me crazy. I learned to be hostile to them back because, like my mother, they wanted to pick on me. All drank too much for their own good. My immediate roommate was a meth head. I witnessed her snorting the drugs a few times. The other roommate was a pre-diabetic who made herself cakes rather than taking good care of herself. Now, she was a good baker, I had a piece of her cake, but that sent my blood sugar soaring because of Zyprexa.
Back then, I didn’t have a mental health diagnosis because of Zod (my family). So in which case, I didn’t know what to tell people. I didn’t get a proper schizophrenia diagnosis until I was 29-30 years old. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy was something I got from 2006-2009 from my therapist. I had a transpersonal therapist who was very good at what she does. In school, gossip went around about things that weren’t truly such as my supposed mental retardation. This was one lie they found out that my parents had done to me.
The roommates thought it only funny. What happened to change my situation was that a classmate said she had only three roommates. I pressured the school to let me move in with a graduate student who would only be more mature than all my roommates put together in the old house. My roommate, who wanted me to be safe, went so far as to talk to the school. My other roommates were pushing me around, making me feel dreadfully unsafe.
Eventually, I found another set of roommates, but I noticed our neighbors were bullies too. Back then, I saw a bully around every street corner. I was right about one neighbor who harassed me until I moved back home for the summer. I now know I have schizoaffective, and I’m a solid bipolar 1. I also have OCD, which I practically diagnosed myself with. These days I’m at peace and feel okay with telling people my diagnosis.