This quote, “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me,” is from the story of Jacob, when he wrestled with an angel through the night, refusing to surrender until the angel blessed him. This deliberate stance is the number one reason that I am still alive. One out of five people with bipolar one disorder tragically killed themselves. I decided that if I have been fated with such a dark and dangerous disorder, my personal choice has to be to endure and to make it pay for itself. If I am going to be affected by an illness that also creates havoc in the lives around me then I am going to learn from it.
The extreme sides of the political divide have been predicting almost cataclysmic disaster if the election results do not go their way. But listening to extremism can arouse feelings of hopelessness and create the perception that our situation is not safe. If we do not think that we have any impact on a dangerous situation we can feel helpless, depressed, and even give up.
Odysseus had to navigate between the two destructive forces — a ferocious six-headed sea monster and a downward spiraling maelstrom. If you read the Odyssey and work through the analogy there are similarities to navigating between mania and depression. [This is a reissued version of my first post. A reader referred me to a George Harrison song, which I felt was a useful addition and so added it to the end.]
Bipolar disorder strongly affects the brain’s neurochemistry and, our best guess at this point, can create brain damage, probably dependent on how many or the extremity of the episodes that we’ve have. My brain has been burned by too much hypomania. I used to be impressively smart. Now I’m down to about 80% of what I started out with, probably just “smart.” And it can’t be undone, or at least entirely undone. I was hypomanic for years at a time. It felt marvelous at the time. But, hypomanic as I was, even so I would have listened to the following information, especially the graphic pictures.
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.
I bought a hummingbird feeder recently. It warms my heart to give these little guys with the manic wings some sugar water and the chance to take a load off. I have fluttered my wings a million miles a minute, but to ill effect. So I chose a feeder where they can sit quietly, dipping their beaks into the syrup and resting for a while where they feel unthreatened. This reminds of the blurred speed in my manic episodes and the fact that the fastest way to induce a manic episode (in someone wired that way) is to seriously threaten them.