I am Deb’s Bipolar.
And her Anxiety …. And her OCD …. And Any Other Mental Illness NOS (that’s “Not Otherwise Specified” for those uninitiated in the lingo of psychiatric disorders).
I enjoy making Deb ride a wave of many moods, as many moods as possible throughout the day. It’s more fun that way! Plus it brings out my friend Anxiety to have so much change in viewpoint in one day. Sometimes I remind her that she is unstable, lost everything and is starting over, and probably shouldn’t be around anymore. Then I remind her of the trips she hopes to take, the compassion she wishes to show the world and the place of emotional and career and relationship stability she imagines is still out there. I give her hope. And alternate it with despair. It’s quite the ride, really.
But mania, by far, is the most fun part of my ride! I haven’t been able to push her into mania in a while. Must work on that. (drums fingers…) Oh, the places we went! So many possibilities in each decision to be made. The rapid-fire dissemination of ideas nearly every minute. (Other people think so slowly!) The racing thoughts she took for granted. (No, my dear, not everyone has those.) The over-confidence that she could finish every project she signed up for – and I did convince her to sign up for many more than she could reasonably finish without ramping up my manic side to make finishing them possible. That’s where I worked in tandem with my friend OCD. Have to finish Everything, you know?
And then there was the psychosis. Those were fun from my perspective. I gave her freedom from what is a depressing reality around us. I showed her oneness with the world. I showed her how to trust her gut. She still misses the manic highs of everlasting unity with all things, even though she knows several of them were psychotic. A real break with reality. But I helped her feel good. These experiences I gave her more than made up for the racing thoughts, over-commitment, flight of ideas and rush to fulfill a destiny.
But that’s all in the past now. Now I only get the depression side of bipolar. At least I can still convince her to swim deeper into nothingness. That’s the opposite pole, you see. I saw the perfect meme today, “I hate Bipolar. It is Awesome.” See? Opposing poles! I can only offer the racing thoughts of the manic pole, but still have quite the pull for the depression pole. Poor psychiatrists! Mood stabilizers only lessen the top notes. I still have a strong finish with the under notes of depression. And I have a partner! While we haven’t figured out how to push her into Compulsion, OCD and I have gotten those under notes of depression to become obsessive. So obsessive that we get to stay in the hospital and hear war stories from people whose Bipolar is untreated. I have fun, even if Deb doesn’t.
I wish Deb thought of me as awesome… But instead she blames me for losing her career that she worked on for half her life. She blames me for mood instability that led to marital strife. (No, honey, that’s not PMS. That’s Me, Bipolar!) She blames me for Anxiety. But Anxiety is a whole other persona! I can bring Anxiety into the picture with those suicidal depressions that make her afraid. Then Anxiety keeps the cycle of anxiety then suicidal thoughts which cause more anxiety which cause more anxiety, and so forth. When this cycle becomes Obsessive, our friend OCD has walked in again.
We’re a team, you see. Just some misplaced neurotransmitters and connections in the brain, and voila! here we are. You know you wish you were on this ride too!