Update: As of 2010 I am doing much better. My own life really has restarted at 40, which is strange. This screed is still relevant and speaks to challenges I have survived. Paying attention to my health by exercising, eating, sleeping, and living better has made all the difference. I recommend others explore similar strategies, and I have summarized my methods on a Health and Wellness page. Share and enjoy!
I have pretty severe post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that I got from being abused as a child as well as bipolar affective disorder. Being both bipolar and having PTSD means that my boat is usually being severely rocked by something or another that most happy, well-adjusted normals wouldn't even think twice about. Both the PTSD and being bipolar affect my sleeping greatly, and I rarely sleep well or for very long and am well known for getting up in the middle of the night and going about my business, much to the annoyance of those around me.
Interestingly enough, having these things to deal with has given me at least as much as has been taken away. The hyperawareness that comes from PTSD can be annoying and harmful, but most of the time it allows me to observe and learn from minutia that pass most people by. The sleep disorder can make things difficult for me, but it allows me to appreciate times when others are either asleep or too fucked up from partying to notice the world around them. Of all of the problems that have emerged from all of this, the worst are those caused by people's reaction to me. To me it seems like it wouldn't be very hard to ignore someone who has a very different lifestyle or who often goes without much sleep for days, but people often get really bothered just by the idea of someone being so different. I can't even begin to count the number of times people have told me that I should go see a docter or check into rehab and get myself a steady. It doesn't occur to people that I might have already tried these things. They are just terribly bothered by having to share a world with someone who is so different from them.
I think it will be a great day when people who are fucked up in some way or another for whatever reason can live with happy, well-adjusted normal folk without constantly being heckled and hated. There are plenty of real threats in the world and people who are harmlessly freakish aren't among them.