Dear Loyal Readers,
Sometimes it’s difficult to begin writing. So many ideas and thoughts swirl at the same time in my brain. Often they crash into each other, which makes it difficult to organize one coherent piece of writing. I wish I had a pensieve, or a device in Harry Potter that could magically remove and store memories. Life would much easier if I could view thoughts, ideas, and memories separately with a wave of a wand instead of a push of a computer button. Perhaps the pensieve would capture the voices and suck them out, too. I imagine the silence inside my head would be blissful. Sleep quiets the mind, but the chaos comes alive in vivid, disturbing dreams. Forgive me, if this entry is scattered. Consider it a window to my brain.
I have started following other bloggers, who capture their bipolar experiences in writing, on WordPress and Facebook. My JPC Jen post states that less than 5% of the American population is Bipolar. I have just concluded that 100% of that 5% has a blog about being Bipolar. Even in my uniqueness, I’m not unique. We all know that’s a lie. My thumbprint belongs only to me. Actually, from what I’ve read thus far, what makes me unique is my humor, which is why I feel I must clarify a few things.
Mental illness is no joke. Society is being forced to examine mental illness thanks in part to the news media. Though I joke about celebrities “coming out” about their struggles with mental illness (never thought I’d thank Kanye West), their willingness to shed light on the darkness through the mainstream media does indeed open eyes and focus attention on a subject often stigmatized and considered taboo. And then there are those celebrities who suffer in silence until their suicides hit the media with a sonic boom. I hope Robin Williams, Kate Spade, and Anthony Bourdain found the peace for which they were willing to sacrifice themselves.
Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary feeling. Many people probably believe committing suicide is cowardly and selfish. I know I do when I’m well. Actually, when I am well, when all my demons are asleep, when my mind is clear, I recognize the ridiculousness of my suicidal ideations and my self-harm tendencies. However, when the demons are awake and raging and I’m in the heat of battle, the realization of the ridiculousness of those ideations and tendencies vanishes in the exhaustion of the fight. Suicide becomes inviting, even welcoming, if you will. In the darkness and under the weight of unrelenting depression, suicide seems light and freeing. I know. Ridiculous, right? I see it, too. Now. Today. Because I am well. Because the demons sleep. Yet, as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, I know I will eventually find myself engaged in a battle for my life… again.
Mania also presents a battle, but the beast is much different. The manic beast presents itself as my most fun friend, or my MFF. Despite its sheep clothing, it’s still a dangerous demon. Mania is the ultimate paradox. Too much fun isn’t good for my health. Let me explain. Let’s say my Manic Fun Friend is the guy who is the life of the party. (We all have that friend, right? You know. The life-of-the-party-lamp-shade-on-his-head-drunk friend.) That friend is a blast, and I’ll drink with him all night long. But when the party ends and the sunrises, I am left alone with a mess to clean up and a crippling hangover. Same is true with my Manic Fun Friend (MFF). The only difference is that my manic hangover starts when the sun sets and the moon rises. (Hence, depression is night and mania is day. For every yin, there is a yang. What goes up, must come down. Etcetera, etcetera, and so on and so forth. And the cycle continues.)
Different demons require different battle weapons and techniques. What keeps me from committing suicide? Not my family, friends, or pets. Not any form of medicine. Not any doctor or rehab program. But rather a simple horrifying thought: purgatory. (Did you know there is a Purgatory, Colorado? We were supposed to visit Purgatory at the end of the month, but, due to uncontrolled wild fires, we’re not because literally THE ROAD TO PURGATORY IS ON FIRE.) The fear that keeps me alive and in the battle is the unknown answer to the following question:
What if my punishment for taking my own life is to live in purgatory (which is now on fire) in a constant state of deep depression while engaged in a perpetual war with myself?
Oh the horror of perpetual whispering in my head. No thanks. I choose to live another day.
What keeps me from being a Manic-A-Holic? Simply put: the hangover. There is no amount of fun that can equal the amount of work it takes to put the pieces of life back together. And remember, I already have missing pieces. The fear of losing more keeps me sober.
My greatest weapon in my fight against bipolar is my humor. The struggles are real. The battles are fierce. The emotions are overwhelming. I can’t beat the illness. I’m sure as Hell (or should I say Purgatory) that I don’t want to join it. The least I can do is laugh, even though there is nothing funny about bipolar disorder. So please don’t misunderstand me.
Remember, assuming that my stories and my tools are the same as anyone else’s who fights a similar battle is just plain crazy.