“Long life stories are best received in bars, and only then an hour or so before closing time, and if you are buying.” – Stephen King, On Writing
Greetings, fellow traveler.
I am diagnosed with Bipolar II Disorder, otherwise known as “oh look, there’s that guy with the mood swings who’s always cranky, complaining about the world and sad over nothing; he’s such a great guy at parties when he’s not such a downer”.
That should pretty much explain it all, correct? Well, unfortunately, I am here to take a lifelong struggle and chop it up into small, digestible morsels, creating a delightful little dish full of tasty treats, an odd-looking full course meal that will hopefully shed some light into the inner workings of what I consider an extremely debilitating disease.
Yes. Disease. I said it.
Bipolar disorder is an illness; not a fad, not a trend, not an insult, not a derogatory term, not a badge of courage, nor an all-access pass to PityPartyLand – it is a bonafide condition that affects millions of people around the world. I’ve read many comments online comparing mental illness to asthma, using the eternal trope of “you wouldn’t tell someone having an asthma attack to just breath right and they’ll be fine, right?”.
Too damn accurate.
Sadly, this is how most people view the state of mental illness – “But he said unto them, except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.” *
“The Incredulity of St. Thomas” by Caravaggio
*I’m a fan of the Apostle Thomas (Lord knows I’ve used his skeptic arguments plenty of times to my advantage), but man, did you really have to be such a doubting Thomas? Dick move, dude, dick move.
Pics or it never happened. (Please, no nudes.)
To this day, even after so much extensive research, there is still much to be explored about the illness, and so much stigma still attached to the taboos of the unknown, untraveled nooks and crannies of the human mind.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.
There are four basic types of bipolar disorder; all of them involve clear changes in mood, energy, and activity levels. These moods range from periods of extremely “up,” elated, and energized behavior (known as manic episodes) to very sad, “down,” or hopeless periods (known as depressive episodes). Less severe manic periods are known as hypomanic episodes.”
Sounds spooky, right? Downright sinister, maybe.*
*Looked it up on Google, it looked official, so I quoted; seems legit, and that’s good enough for me. (Famous last words)
My personal cocktail of cranial spaghetti is “defined by a pattern of depressive episodes and hypomanic episodes, but not the full-blown manic episodes”.*
*In layman’s terms, I see-saw, but I don’t go into full blown Hunter S. Thompson benders, as tempting as they may seem.
So, here I am, an amateur, a simple individual who will attempt to share his slice of life, his “wisdom” obtained through much scrutiny, introspection, loves and friendships lost, through stories of hope, desperation, and humor, to make this world a better place, and if not better, at least slightly more tolerable.
At least for me.
PS. The cake is a lie.