Writing

Cutting the Shit About Bipolar Depression

I’m a big fan of lists when it comes to explaining something to as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. So that’s why I’ve written a list of what Manic Depression “is” during the spring and summer. This season is a toss up for me; sometimes it is euphoric, other times it’s a three-month-long panic attack on steroids. Lately has not been so kind, and I feel like I’m running in circles with no catharsis. So let’s cut the shit. Let’s be frank about Bipolar Disorder.

Spring/Summer for a Manic Depressive means: 

  • Right now is insufferable but so was yesterday, and tomorrow isn’t looking very good either.
  • Time is Hell. If one could shoot time, one (I) would shoot it with a 12-gauge. Time brings infinite anxiety.
  • Pills Pills Pills. Pills in the morning, Pills in the evening. Pills everyday.
  • Having an indescribable rage quelling inside my chest, and sometimes exerting all the strength within me not to throw things at the cashier in the gas station or get out of my car and tell the lady that cut in front of me in the drive thru what kind of person I think she is.
  • Trying to control that rage as I walk through the house trying to find anything, something, to destroy, smash, shatter, and warning myself that busting holes in the wall or catching my boyfriends clothing on fire will only make my life worse in the end.
  • Having nightmares (or at least that’s what most people call them; they’re the standard fare for me) every night that are filled with morbid, gruesome imagery that won’t leave a person’s psyche for years to come.
  • Feeling EVERYTHING to maximum capacity, crying during a touching trailer, feeling sheer bliss while watching the sun rise.
  • Having my foot on the gas for days on end, and my back tires have finally turned a rut into a massive pit.
  • Feeling an emptiness that deepens each year, and begins to chip away at the very ground I’m standing on.
  • Wondering whether or not I can even make it to 30, seeing as I’m nearly incapacitated at 22.
  • Wondering whether or not I want to make it to 30, since the world seems to get a little gloomier each year.
  • Craving drugs, any drugs, that might alleviate my unrelenting suffering, while simultaneously injecting that intoxicating mania that makes life oh-so-sweet.
  • Feeling a strong sense of superiority, yet remembering that just a few months ago I was certain of my profound inadequacy.
  • Watching myself go from ugly to beautiful to average and back to ugly all within a single year and cycle through again next year.
  • Not having any friends since I am never the same person. Or, because I don’t know how to manage relationships. Or because I’m bipolar.
  • Paying 20% of my already inadequate income to pay for the prescriptions that barely keep me afloat.
  • Having each bill from the doctor land in collections, since I have no way of paying for any of it.
  • Staying awake until 6  or 7 in the morning EVERY SINGLE NIGHT, because I can’t let the sun go down on another shitty day, and I just don’t feel like sleeping.
  • Having a thousand ideas, yet feeling too discouraged to follow through with any of them.
  • Feeling the sensation of spiders crawling on me all the time, or electric shocks at a constant buzz just beneath my skin.
  • Yearning to let out all of this energy, but having nowhere to do so.
  • Hearing words that weren’t said, and seeing moving shadows of inanimate objects.
  • Getting so flustered that I hyperventilate into an incoherent stutter for several hours, or fail to recognize my own reflection in a mirror.
  • Putting too much of a burden on the few people that stick around to care for my crazy ass.
  • Rejecting most of those people from my life because I feel too weird when people care about me.
  • Waiting for doomsday (winter) to roll around so a depressive episode can annihilate my already fatigued brain.
  • Sensing the delusion of all of this pain, and wondering if it’s real or if it’s all in my head.
  • Knowing that I probably will never be free from this suffering.
  • Not knowing if Bipolar is even a “real” thing.

 

The list goes on, of course, and is quite different from episode to episode. I have read the DSM’s description of Bipolar Depression a million times over, and yet I still know so little but feel so much.

 

Cheers to suffering, Cheers to Manic Depression.

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I recently discovered Daniel Johnston, and in case you haven’t heard of him before either, I thought I’d share this song. Daniel Johnston is a manic depressive, maybe that’s why I felt so taken aback when I first listened to his music.

This song in particular is most likely relatable to everyone on some level, since everyone probably deals with existential boredom at some point. Maybe that’s what it means to reach adulthood; realizing that life is often boring and youthfulness is ephemeral.

Manic depressives might find themselves exceptionally resonating with this song because it almost seems impossible to ever accept those aspects of life. Must I bored all the time? Can’t I be high all the time?

Boredom is homeostasis. Boredom is the fine line between frenetic chaos and catatonic chaos. To be bored is to be on the cusp of complacency. Maybe it’s only true for me (although I doubt it is), but boredom and complacency are insufferable. I find myself scheming for an exit strategy. Cocaine? Sex? Another runaway trip? Except, adulthood shows a person that there is truly no escape. I am rendered helpless in my suffering, and am too aware of the futility of my own escapism to try anything at all. Mania is intoxicating. It gives zest to my life. It brings me thrill. Euphoria. Bliss. Desire. Ecstasy. I want it always, but I know better than to try pinning the tail on the donkey, because the donkey has kicked me in the face more than once. At the end of manic happy trails therein lies a tomb of anxiety and psychosis. At the end of that, a catastrophic mess to clean up.

Daniel sings “Maybe if we were in the movies we wouldn’t be so bored” towards the end of the song, and I think that we all just want to live in a movie. Movies are evocative, otherwise we wouldn’t watch them. But we are not in the movies, and sometimes life is bland.

In another song called “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Your Grievances,” Daniel sings, “Do yourself a favor and be your own savior.” He is a creative 52-year-old manic depressive that’s still alive, and let’s be honest; that’s an impressive feat considering 25-50% of manic depressives have or will attempt suicide. He is inspirational to me, as he has learned how to manage his own illness and wrote a plethora of music so people like me could relate to it and find solace.

Poetry, Writing

She Hides

She felt her frown as she wore her scowl
And ached her sad while showing her bitter,
So it’s easy to see why no one knew her blue,
and often mistook her for red.

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Writing

Black man with a crossword puzzle

A man politely asks to sit across from me at a table in the library near the reference section. 

“Do you mind if I have a seat at your table? I’m waiting on a fax and this seems to be the only place I can keep an eye on the fax machine.”  The black man has a jean jacket and a gray hat with a construction company slogan on the front.  He’s around 60 years old and has a few dark freckles under his eyes.  He seems like a nice old man, the kind that sneaks his grandchildren cookies when grandma’s not looking.

“No, I don’t mind at all.” I said with politeness, but not inviting conversation. Continue reading

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