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.
“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 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?”