EXPLAINING MANIC DEPRESSION TO MY LOVED ONES:
Manic Depression is very difficult to live with –both to suffer from it, or to be affected by it. It also comes with a stigma, which those with Manic Depression feel forced to wear like a shame they have to conceal. Had we been afflicted by a socially acceptable illness such as diabetes, we would simply say: I have diabetes. And everyone would become sympathetic, and ask what type we have and how we are coping and if there is anything they could do to help us? But we don’t have a PHYSICAL illness. We have a MENTAL illness, so we cannot just say: I have Manic Depression. Because then people are scared of us, not sympathetic towards us.
So, what does Manic Depression feel like?
Some of the time, it feels like nothing. My emotions are relatively neutral, and I can adjust to and function in the same environment as any ‘normal’ human being could.
But then at other times, it isn’t so neutral. It is a little happier. I want to say a bit more when in conversation, stay out a while longer when socialising and interact more openly when in crowds.
Until suddenly I am a LOT happier. I don’t want to keep quiet; I garrulously speak a mile a minute and want to mingle with every single person whose path I cross, engage everyone in frivolous small talk or deeply intimate heart-to-hearts…
I want to go EVERYWHERE
And do ALL OF THE THINGS
all of the time!
Everything I do is spontaneous, and very impetuous. I make impulsive decisions, I act without inhibition…
And make extravagant plans for events in the future.
I look great. I feel great. I do great. I probably am great!!
I am a well of strength to all of those around me, and spread a seemingly infinite source of love and encouragement to everyone that I encounter.
I have the most fantastic ideas, and enough stamina to start any project that I put my mind to…
Which works out fantastically, because I cannot sleep at night so I have PLENTY of time to finish any and everything, right…?
Until I slowly stop wanting to do anything. At all. Anywhere. For any reason.
I communicate much less, and replace long nights out with endless days in, confined alone in my bed.
My well of love and support has run dry…
And it feels like I have fallen into the bottom of it.
Everything is dark and cramped and constricting,
And I am mostly alone with my own thoughts
But I WANT to be this way.
Both mind and body are destroyed from my mental fall, and don’t want to get up, nor change out of these pajamas. They’ve accepted me as their own. And all I need right now is to be accepted.
Maybe I eat a whole cake at once
Maybe I eat nothing at all
Maybe I shower
I probably won’t
All I know is, I may have had the stamina to run a marathon last week,
And I may have made well-meaning plans –
BUT I CAN’T FOLLOW THROUGH WITH ANY OF THAT TODAY.
And I might not be able to tomorrow, either.
In fact, I might not be able to for quite a while…
But eventually, I will be neutral again.
And then manic, too.
And depressed once more.
All that I ask… And all that we need…
Is that you try to understand. And if you cannot understand,
At the very least
LOVE US THROUGH IT ALL, ANYWAY ❤
Loneliness. Each individual has a unique interpretation of loneliness as they experience it. Is it the lack of companions that imparts a sense of aloneness in you? Is it the act of being ostracised by your community, rejected by your peers? A feeling of being misunderstood? Or is it solitude itself?
To me, my loneliness stems from the belief that I am irreparably damaged, that I have been so broken by life that I can never bind the cracks of my shattered self together –let alone deeply bond with another! – that I am so misshapen my psychological model is considered defective, and discarded. My imperfections are not the quirky foibles one can consider endearing, but rather abominable deficiencies so dark the light of day would not hazard an attempt at illuminating them. A sense that although all my broken pieces play hide-and-seek in the mansion of madnesses and I am able to use them to witness, understand and relate to the inhabitants of each room, they are all entire yet fractured whilst I am partial and wrecked. I wander the halls of life, laden with lockers all protecting the treasures of complete existences, holding the promise of potential connections, taunting me with the knowledge that at any moment I could reach in and discover the depths of another. There is no place for me, I am but a tourist, a foreigner –wherever I go, all I am is temporary. Few can get close, and those that do are almost guaranteed to injure themselves on the razor edges of my fragmented remains. In their haste to draw back from the sudden pain, the probability of their mishandling me is likely to multiply my pieces into smaller, less manageable shards whilst inflicting unintentional further harm upon themselves. Broken people break people.
The solitary life has been my default mode for as long as I can remember –I bond, and in intensity, but generally it is exclusive to one person during a given period, and at the exclusion of any other notable attachments. This is sufficient for my needs, but it isn’t uncommon for me to oscillate between being involved and being isolated. Withdrawing into myself and warding off interaction becomes my modus operandi with alarming frequency, and those I love become the ones I lose. The more the pain accumulates, the further I retreat into my own shell. And although externally I inhibit my expression of taste, my inner world is a rich and colourful haven –even when those colours are varying shades of black, with a burst of vehement crimson and an irate blush of scarlet to break the monotony. It is here that I find my solace, and it is here I feel a sense of acceptance; for in my complete unacceptance I am sure, in my faults I am certain, in my failings I am aware.
Loneliness? It isn’t a lack of people with whom you spend your time, but rather the absence of understanding even among those with whom your time is shared. It is a self-imposed sequestration, a selected introspective isolation. And yet in it I have found there is serenity, there is splendour but most importantly? There is safety…