In Which I Speak of Myself in Third Person

She had not planned to be depressed. As a child, when asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, ‘morbidly despondent’ never factored into her answer. Yet here she was, standing apart and marveling that her friends could dance to the discordant music of the universe with such abandon.

When had the darkness moved in? She couldn’t say. It was a slowly creeping cancer, stealing the light ever so stealthily from the room and engulfing her before she noticed. People looked at her sideways when she mentioned she was on antidepressants; they became suddenly wary, as though she was an elephant carcass and they the poachers, approaching carefully lest she rise up suddenly and rend them with her tusks.

She was also diagnosed as bipolar, which was terribly trendy but not nearly as exciting as Hollywood made it seem. Bipolar meant that sometimes the darkness took her to new levels of emptiness that she had previously not thought possible. Or, contrariwise, to levels of hysteria that propelled her to dangerous and damaging pursuits.

It would be great to write The Great American Novel in a weekend, she thought. Or a symphony. Or a masterpiece in oils. Like those other bipolar folks. The ones who do it right. The Poes and Hemingways and Mozarts and Van Goghs and Munchs. Nevermind that they came to violent ends. That was part and parcel with the disease; the uneasy bedfellow to genius was madness, it would seem.

Even at being crazy, she felt like a failure. Not quite mad enough to be brilliant, but too unbalanced to focus on living life successfully. The small white pill she took every night seemed only to confirm her suspicions that she would never vault to the heights required for immortality, and it mocked her with its soothing promises of peace. How would she ever know where the mania could take her if she didn’t give it a chance? The encroaching darkness threatened ominously enough to keep her swallowing them, however; into the pit was not a place she wanted to venture again, and so she felt like a coward as well as a failure, and walked through the days cloaked in a veil of multiplying sorrows.

 

 

 

3 Comments

  1. What a strange thing to one day learn that your distress has a name, a diagnosis, and a prognosis. I suspect I have had various mental conditions for years but lacked the knowledge or inclination to discover who and what was so. It’s great when the juices are flowing, stagnant when things sit still while you watch thoughts attack your center of being with relentless remorselessness. And then to survive each onslaught. Takes the wind out of the old sails I can tell you.
    Great insights here. Keep them coming, JW.

  2. I cannot even begin to imagine…

  3. She also didn’t know how much she’s looked up to by others. Someone who can make it through such trials and sail such stormy waters has an advantage over those who choose to view life through rose-colored glasses. Thinking too hard sometimes has its advantages… at least that’s what her younger brother thinks. 🙂 I don’t like to think of these issues as depression and/or bipolar but rather unharnessed superpowers.

    Lets learn to control them together 🙂 love you sissy

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