Madness Revisited: Looking Back on Bipolar Disorder
By Sky W. | Date
bi-polar disorder, psychology, mental illness, suffering, manic
depression, depression, self-help, bipolar
Summary: A provocative glimpse into the chaotic world of bipolar
Like your little
brother invading your room, mental illness sneaks into your brain and
rummages through all of your thoughts, no purpose other than to mess with
your ďstuffĒ, like your paradigms, hopes and fears. When your theories
about life are abruptly scattered, you walk into your room to find
everything misplaced, broken or lost. The first time I was ravaged by
insanity, everything was lost. It is only now, five years later that I
truly understand the damage done.
Thereís a certain intensity to severe
depression, but nothing tears at the soul like the recovery. The slow
painful process of searching through the various drugs and other
devastating treatments degrades even the most resilient minds. Itís like
approaching a disaster area with a plastic fork.
The odd thing is, you want so much to
get better, but itís tough to stay motivated when thereís no quick cure.
The drugs take weeks, the hospitals hurt and the therapy is enough to
drive anyone mad. By the time anything works, you never know if it was the
treatment or your will to make it all stop. I think Iíve actually solved
my own problems just so I wouldnít have to tell some stranger how it makes
The best part about therapy is when you
finally do feel better, the mail comes, complete with a hefty fee for the
doctorís magic touch. Insanity is expensive. If itís not the irresponsible
spending of mania, itís the pharmacies and doctors all profiting from your
despair, demise. Maybe itís a plot. Maybe Iím psychotic, but perhaps itís
all a complex plot of a society who doesnít accept diversion. You canít
function in a world of schedules and responsibilities, the everyday
mundane existence so many people call a life. What else can they do but
weed you out and medicate you until you fit their scheme. Itís tragic and
scary. The world has benefited immensely from the creative, yet unbalanced
individuals who choose to reject the ordinary and create a life
If thereís anything Iíve realized, itís
that shit comes with the shine. When times are good, the inevitable crash
looms on the horizon, but the sun will return more fervent than ever. With
the decline comes the breakthrough, a greater understanding of yourself
and the world. The blues are ephemeral, evanescent, but joy is eternal.
Whether sooner or later, the joy of living is enduring. Only thirty seven
percent of manic depressives commit suicide because the other sixty three
refuse to release the idea of relishing life. Itís beautiful and
unpredictable. The problem is it becomes simply existing, not worth the
effort. Living with madness really does take effort. Itís a daily decision
of making it work, whether it be your job, your family or your current
place in the world. We choose to stick around. We choose to not give up.
We choose to fucking be.
Caught between the diagnosis and your
own personal reality, itís tough to draw the line as to who you really
are. Itís easy for a doctor to say itís just a diseased mind that makes
you that way, but what if that is all you know? I donít know what it feels
like to be normal. Hell, Iím not sure normal even exists, except on some
graph somewhere. The bell curve, the bell jar, itís all just a trick
convincing us to feel bad about ourselves and our predicament. Why canít I
just be myself? If ever before, this generation believes in pure
individuality. Bullshit. The Gap ruined that one for me. Be yourself, just
like everyone else. Has there ever been a time when eclectic mentalities
were accepted? Post-mortem, maybe. Maybe thatís why we all cut our
throats. Only then is our genius and joie de vivre appreciated. Picasso
never had a dime. Hemingwayís family hated him. Weíre just cursed to be
legends, I guess. Like a forgotten manuscript found dusty and torn years
after itís written, a manic depressiveís soul is finally perused through
their numerous journals, only to be lauded as truly magnificent, while a
body rots quietly in a grave.
I am scared for the future. Iím scared
of deterioration. Iím scared of atrophy. Every doctor Iíve talked to tells
me Iím getting worse, Iíll get worse, I am worse. Arenít they supposed to
help people? How does it help to foster self-fulfilling prophesies? Will I
get worse simply because Iíve been told that I will? Will the younger
sibling I earlier alluded to grow in rage? The concept of self-destruction
is pervasive and encompassing. Perhaps Iím making myself worse. Isnít will
the strongest force there is? If your will is intoxicated by the lure of
the downward spiral, you slowly seep into the statistics.
I refuse to be a statistic. I refuse to
give up on myself and my brilliant, yet plagued mind. Fighting the
disease, I struggle to maintain some sense of normality. Iíll never be
normal in the sense we all know it to mean, but alive is normal.
Functioning is normal. Creatively expressing myself is normal. I will
fight against the predictions. Iím still here, arenít I?
Iím still here.
Sky is a bi-polar survivor eager to share her experience to help others
cope with such challenges. She is currently working toward certification
as a Chemical Dependency Counselor.