Mood swings can take me under faster than blinking. One minute I'm fine, humming and clipping freshly washed sheets to the clothesline in the morning sun; then suddenly I'm standing stockstill, flooded by a wave of melancholy so intense I hardly have the energy to lift the next clothespin. For the most part, I try to take one day at a time, sometimes one minute or one breath at a time, and I go on. I'm lucky in being able to do so. A few years ago a very good friend was diagnosed with Bipolar I, and through our friendship and my own research, I've come to realize how very lucky I am, indeed. Mood swings I have, yes, but nothing like what she has to deal with, nothing that turns my own mind back on itself without some serious medication to hold it in check.
I've nothing but respect for people who live with manic depressive illness. People like Bruce, who use their hard-won personal experience with it to encourage better understanding of the condition within the church (which all too often tries to cover it up, exorcise it or poo-poo it away) are to be heartily commended. Another bipolar blogger I've found is David, whose entries documenting unreliable moods and his efforts to walk through them, I've found to be diligently honest without tipping into the self-pity that is so easy and so deadly. As I get more adept at blog surfing, I'm sure I'll find others. For now, these two are a couple of my daily reads.
Jane Kenyon's poem, "Having it Out with Melancholy" is a great comfort, an accurate expression of the struggles of the person with bipolar. Although it deals mainly with the depressive side of the disorder, the poem does convey the helplessness and frustration, the inexplicable and often frightening elements that for the bipolar person are. . .well, quotidian fact.
There's got to be a purpose, I keep thinking. I know the world's a broken, messed up place, but even the broken parts make sense, if you can trace their origins back to what they must have been intended to be in the first place. What about intense moods? I can't accept that their intensity is itself a result of the shattering, although I have no problem believing that their uncontrollableness is. Things happen in these highs and lows--startling, amazing, perplexing things--that don't in the inbetweens. I'm not talking about the obviously rotten stuff (despair, psychosis) but about the inexplicable (enhanced insight, creativity), things that happen during both poles of mood.
Pondering. . .