The idiom “between Scylla and Charybdis” has come to mean being forced to choose between two equally dangerous situations. In Greek mythology, Scylla was a monster that lived on one side of a narrow channel of water, opposite her counterpart Charybdis. The two sides of the strait were within an arrow’s range of each other—so close that sailors attempting to avoid Charybdis would pass too close to Scylla and vice versa. For the purposes of bipolar disorder interpretations, Scylla has an acidic, raging, violent fury about her, akin to the worst of mania. In contrast, Charybdis, was simply a large whirlpool. Downward Spiral, end stop. No recourse. In bipolar disorder our choice is not simply between avoiding one monster or the other. It is between becoming one monster or the other. Between the two, is it any wonder that Odysseus chose mania over depression?
It sucks when you are under major stress and the powers that be have a video conference and decide to mess with your head. One of them turns to the other and giggles, “Let’s niggle her a bit by adding a sideways, nerve wracking stressor on top of the pile.” And another power nods emphatically in agreement, “She can take it! Let’s sit back and watch! Where’s the popcorn!”
“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?”