Tuesday, January 29, 2013
We're Not That Different
I'm trying to remember the last time I posted a commercial - Oh, I know - never. But I see this one every night when I watch the news, and I enjoy the fact that we hippies are now harmless and charming in the popular mind. And how about that message - we're connected. Buddhism selling car insurance.
You may think you are very unlike a crazy person, especially if you have one in your life. We can be hard to take. I have never found a good program to teach me the techniques of managing my spectacular feelings. I think such programs could exist, but they'd have to be extensive and expensive. I've had to work hard to keep myself from blowing up my life periodically. Nevertheless, I think I am like other people who are considered sane (or undiagnosed), but enhanced. A sort of high-def version, which is not always fun. And not always possible to medicate away. Don't believe those stories celebrities tell about being all fixed up by a little lithium. At least, I've never personally known a bipolar who could be magically turned into a Muggles.
When we’re manic, we have to manage a creative flow that can be strongly impelled, a desire to talk that can be so hard to stem it's a symptom called "pressured speech." (Doesn't everyone have an aunt like that?) Much difficulty sleeping, concentrating, finishing things. Feeling really good can lead to giving all you have to the poor or, on the other hand, buying yourself a brand-new Lexus (I know a woman who did that). It can lead to being so excited and intrusive you get every single person in your life mad at you, and that's a shame. It is a disorder, but hardly anyone cuts us some slack.
When we're depressed - you know how that is. It can be like the worst break-up of your life. It can mean really really not wanting to bother getting dressed or anything else, just sitting trying to read something but feeling distracted by pessimistic thoughts, trying to distract yourself somehow to just get through the day. Sometimes depression leads to easy anger and ill-advised obscenity. And, not so funny, there are the dark, quiet depressions that give rise to thoughts of escaping your misery through suicide. I've been there, too (and would like to comment, parenthetically, that another person's suicide attempt is not about you).
The big difference between me and formerly-normal me (my bipolar broke out in my mid-thirties) is that my moods may not be connected to any situation in my life, may just turn on and off with chemical switches nobody understands yet, like clockwork, or in respond to a change in air pressure. Or they may be connected like anyone else's to life events like a lengthy power failure or a beautiful spring day, but more extreme.
In other words, a bipolar is basically a human being, like you, but maybe with special needs. Special needs programs for the mentally/emotionally challenged. That's a thought.