Gratitude. Yes, I am either bipolar 1 or 2. What ever it is, it can mess
me up sometimes. "Mixed Episodes" are really scary and difficult.
Finding meds that work can be scary and tedious. On occasion, it's real
bad! For some odd reason, I am happy to be me, warts and all. I think
that those of us who depression, bipolar, ADHD or whatever often are
blessed with gifts as well as deficits. This website demonstrates the
level of love, compassion, intelligence and empathy that those with
mental illness have. From another perspective we see the world
differently than the average Joe or Joanne. Sometimes we just don't seem
to fit or at least we think we don't. I have found that people like us
are giving, creative and intelligent. Why do we have to suffer
sometimes. I am not sure. I know that I usually have triggers that start
me off. Bad experiences. The other day, I was re-hashing my bad
experiences such as the demise of a relationship. Damn that relationship
with the bipolar girlfriend and drug addiction was so bad, or was it.
Perhaps my pain wasn't punishment for me but some sort of care and
inspiration for her. I am starting to come to the conclusion that all
things are for a purpose, even the suffering. I think my higher power
puts me in just the right place at the right time. I think I am a
better person for all of it. I can talk to people openly (if they are
open to listening) and they are often comforted and relieved. Being open
is like looking in the mirror and seeing who is really there. Not some
sick or bad guy. Not someone who has failed to meet any expectation.
Just me and I am okay. I actually like me, even though I sometimes feel
overwhelmed, hopeless and worthless. Somehow, deep inside, I still like
Here's a silly thing I wrote about being
bipolar. It's just a chapter of my observations. You youngsters might
not be able to relate to the analogies but maybe you will -
"What's Your Sine?
The Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat-
a child the family always watched the Wide World of Sports. What a
memorable intro to this wonderful program. Athletes running to victory,
Football players being crushed by their opponents, race cars taking the
checkered flag or crashing violently. It was all culminated by the
famous ski jumper who fell violently while still on the takeoff slope.
ABC aired this sports show so craftily. Their intro line, "The Thrill of
Victory and the Agony of Defeat" was brilliant because everyone could
relate to that. Everyone's life has these victories and defeats. ABC
concentrated on the most thrilling of victories and the most agonizing
defeats. It was entertainment. Only some of us could really relate to
this because we know the most thrilling victories and the most agonizing
defeats in our personal lives. Manic Depression feels this way.
Evil Knievil -
it was on TV, the wonderful, Wide World of Sports. Evil Knievil revving
his Harley and doing laps around the Caesar's Palace fountains. This
man seemed so sure and brave. Knowing the the severity of the risk, he
carefully calculated his plan. He figured the math, tuned his mind and
machine to perfection for months. He practiced but no amount of practice
could prepare him for the enormity of this task. He was going to risk
his very life trying this. He was hyper focused and determined. Everyone
looked upon him in awe. What consumed us by this man who was putting
everything on the line. Some saw him as foolish. Others like me, saw him
as a hero. I was 10 years old.
a series of commercials the viewing audience was whipped into a frenzy.
Evil made his final preparations and tested his machine on some
practice runs, hitting the brakes just before the enormous take off ramp
that would propel him high above the beautiful landscape at Caesar's
Palace. The cameras zoomed in on the intensity of his face as he readied
himself. Finally with everyone on their feet, the Harley roared. We
collectively held our breath as Knievil approached the ramp. Soon he was
high above the fountain, flying in such style. The crowd (now silent)
watched as he near perfectly approached the landing ramp. The back tire
missed the edge off the ramp by a mere six inches. I gasped as the
motorcycle's rear was thrust upward, catapulting my hero to the asphalt.
He and his bike violently tumble down the runoff. Soon, he lay there
broken and twisted. Only moments and months before he was in the
blissful heights and now, seconds later he was so low. Was he alive? The
announcers waited in anticipation. Their once frenzied tone was now
silenced as we awaited the news. He was alive but very broken. The crowd
cheered because he made it. He made it? Well he survived it, is more
like it. Then we replayed this event countless times, often in slow
motion. It was a spectacle. Each time I viewed it, I was wrenched,
excited, terrified and thrilled. It was analyzed from a technical and
mathematical viewpoint over and over again.
was a daredevil but never once did I realize what was going on in this
man's mind. Never once did the commentators analyze the psychology of
his pursuits. We dismissed this as a brave and heroic act.
months he laid broken as he recovered. He did recover as best he could.
He had broken almost every bone in his body over the years. Soon
enough, there he was again on that Harley Davidson looking for the
extreme high. He was jumping Greyhound buses and cars. We were once
again wrenched, excited, terrified and thrilled. The depths of the Grand
Canyon now lay before him. It was a rocket powered motorcycle this
time. With a blast, he was propelled into the sky. Soaring for a moment,
then it went bad. This time, he packed a parachute though. He glided
safely onto the Canyon floor. The crowd and commentators were so
disappointed in his failed attempt. No successful landing and no
terrifying crash. Evil was total failure.
Forty years later, I start to understand this man. I contemplated why
he soared to such heights and why he laid broken. Over and over, he
reached for the high. Was it money? Some think so, but I think not. I
think something else was going on. I began to wonder why I identified
myself with man as a child. Now as an adult, I still identify myself
with him but in far different way. In many ways Evil and I are much
alike. Heroic, brave and determined but stubbornly mad at the same time.
Reaching for heights then laying broken. On Evil's last pursuit over
the Grand Canyon, he did pack a chute though! Perhaps Evil's biggest
triumph was the Grand Canyon jump, because for the first time he was
thinking of saving himself.
and over we go like a dramatic sine wave. The highs are short lived and
the brokenness seemed to last forever. I call it Knievil sine wave,
after my hero of old.
Figure Eight Races -
spectacle of the Wide World of Sports was Figure Eight Racing! Racing
around the figure eight track, the drivers sought the checkered flag but
had to go through the perilous intersection where many had crashed
before. No driver expected or wanted to crash. They all were confident
that they could navigate the track and oncoming crashes that they all
knew was imminent. Before the checkered flag was waved, there were
terrifying crashes that both thrilled and scared the onlooking crowd.
Drivers often walked away disappointed, some broken. The cars were were
mangled and dragged off the track. Some of the cars and drivers managed
to survive the crash and continued perilously around the eight in
pursuit of the checkered. I loved this. Why? At one moment they were
zipping around the track at high speed. The next mount the stopped dead
in their tracks, broken. Some survived the race only to continue on to
the next, knowing that a crash was imminent. They couldn't wait until
the next race. The broken cars and drivers hauled their mangled vehicles
away. They somehow weathered the terrible disappointment and loss. Soon
enough they were spending all of their money fixing up the cars or
preparing new ones. They were going to win the next race. They couldn't
wait! Like so many that we think of as heroic, they were destined to
crash again. Sometimes they made it through a race but it took a lot of
crashes before they finish one much less, win one.
later I understand their brief highs and not so brief lows. Oddly
enough these races were a lot like my head. Hundreds (maybe thousands!)
of thoughts racing in figure eights at once in my mind. Mayhem! Like
different kinds of cars, these contradictory thoughts keep crashing at
the intersection. Over and over, again and again. Once in a while a
strong thought would be skillfully driven through with a hyper state of
focus. Sometimes it survived the race and sometimes it took the
checkered flag. What miraculous results were produced intellectually,
physically and creatively. Wow, I was amazing! I was a winner. The
champagne would flow for a time. It was wonderful. Depending whether I
had one bottle of champagne or a whole case it finally ran out.
Deflated, I was off to the races again. Most times, I was just trying to
survive but I hoped that once again someday the champagne would flow
my silly story. I have lost my career. My finances are hopeless. I may
lose my home but still I remain hopeful. I have no bitterness toward
anyone. I do love who I am. I love myself so much that I am determined
to take good care of myself. This forum is one way that I do that. As
they say when the plane is going down, put on your own oxygen mask
before tending to others. Yes, I really want to help others, so I am
taking care of me.