Oops. Scratch that last post.

“Creating happy memories” is a new idea for me that I culled from Korean romantic comedy. Consciously setting out to create things that you are going to store up for a rainy day. I had never heard of this. It is a useful idea, my favorite kind, and I’ve been futzing with it in the back of my subconscious. The thing that I like best about it is the fact that it appears that this is how my memory works. My memories are never exact video footage. Instead there is a collage of photographs and video clips, just like they show at the end of these shows.

This week I lost my service dog, after more than 13 years. A black mouth cur, he was fearless, intensely loyal, and protected puppies at the dog park. His loss echoes through my home and my heart. Farewell, Samwise. May you chase those celestial squirrels and rabbits along the starry trails in the canine nighttime skies.

“Those who know do not talk. Those who talk do not know.” This is food for thought for those of us who write blogs, talk more than our fair share, or have been told that they write well. What does Lao Tzu say that is specifically uplifting and useful for those of us who choose to write publicly? Not just in a beautiful, abstract-chinese-landscape-philosophical way but also in common sense, nuts and bolts fashion? And what would Lao Tzu say about writing about bipolar disorder?

Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone.
For the sad old earth must borrow it’s mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.

This is part 2 of 3 in the “Bipolar Irritability” series. These three videos were created in an attempt to convey what it is like to experience teeth grating irritability in extreme bipolar mood states. This second clip attempts to express how this irritability is a feature in manic states — hypomania (beginning of clip) and full blown mania (images at the end of the clip). The soundtrack however is Beethoven depressed irritability at its most impressive, creating a nice mixed state ambience.

“There is a silence where hath been no sound.
There is a silence where no sound may be—
in the cold grave, under the deep deep sea.”
— From Thomas Hood’s poem “Silence”

This is the first of a multipart series on “Bipolar Irritability,” a descriptor I am using to refer to a deadly cocktail of depression, anxiety, and agitation. The video clip attempts to convey what it is like to experience this combination, primarily through sound. Some viewers won’t understand terminology or why this mood is hellish and important, so I’ve added a beginner’s primer to mixed mood states and the result of combining depression and anxiety.

This is the first of two posts about the myth of Skylla and Charybdris. In this first post the myth itself is detailed, with many beautiful illustrations. The second post will explore what lessons this myth can teach us about living with bipolar disorder. What do we do when faced with what seems to be a forced choice between two dangerous outcomes — the dilemma in which Odysseus was placed on his long journey home. As Odysseus asks Circe, “Come then, goddess, answer me truthfully this: is there some way for me /to escape away from deadly Charybdis, but yet fight the other one off, when she attacks my companions?”

When I am moderately to severely depressed, my brain is mushy enough that I have trouble remembering how to take care of myself. So I keep a list on hand to remind myself what to do when I’m in trouble. When I’ve done everything I can, then I cry uncle and ask for drugs, but before that point I need to rely on these antidepressants. 

Looking for images for the last post, I stumbled upon these two works in the same series, “In Silence,” by Chiharu Shiota. The fiery self-destructiveness of mania and the deadened, isolated experience of depression are skillfully evoked by these images.

It is daunting to try and talk about experiences that cannot be put into words. There are many parts of the experiences of mania and depression that are impossible to describe accurately or in a way that can jump across the interpersonal void to someone who has not experienced it themselves. What is it like to have lightning course through your veins? To be caught in the timeless, hopeless, prison of depression. Or more practically, how can we describe the ripple effect that bipolar disorder has through all aspects of a person’s life and throughout their lifetime? It is good to remember that the task set forth in this webpage is fundamentally impossible but worthwhile nonetheless.