What does it mean to have bipolar disorder?
I was diagnosed with Bipolar I in college. After a clear manic episode while going to Temple University, a psychiatrist working on the campus prescribed me a mood stabilizer, along with the depression and anti-anxiety medications I was already taking.
Take me to the quiet place in your mind
The one near the winter riverside, sitting on the snowy grass
The trees, they’ve always spoken to me
Even when they’re naked and sleeping
I can’t get away from the noise, the persistent stimulation
So, take me to that quiet place, the one in your mind
We’re far from our roots, the ancestral blood-ground
In your mind, the ground is a living being
When I press my hand to it, it melds, touches me
In that quiet place, the one in your mind
The sun is blocked by blue-cotton clouds
The silence is total, like a warm blanket
The quiet place is so still and peaceful
Each new year is a beginning
Though it feels we’ve already lost
Our hope is usually brimming
But lately we feel distraught
The world has changed for good
There’s no going back to before-times
If we could, we certainly would
This new era is chaos defined
For those with mental illness
It feels like the world has caught up
Now everyone has a sickness
The entire world is stuck
Old, faded pictures
Dusty ghosts of bygone times
Lost and forgotten
“What I say is, a town isn’t a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it’s got a bookstore, it knows it’s not foolin’ a soul.” – Neil Gaiman, from American Gods
Out here in the cold cemetery nights, the greenish-blue tint of my death fantasies come alive. I’m not much a fan of the waking hours; the dead are more on my level, the way they hold nothing back when they speak to me and tell me of their underground dreams and experiences. I think it was my father who said, when I was just a young boy, that, “The dead hold secrets the living can learn from, if only we listen to the whispers of the night.”
Cold cemetery nights, not such a fright to me. Others have rebuked me for my twilight walks, stalking among the graves, but I ignore them. The gravedigger works overtime every night; I’m not sure if he’s dead or alive. I see him digging these deep holes most nights, allowing the souls to re-enter the world. The gravedigger’s name is Cain – he has the brightest blue eyes, a slim yet muscular frame, and hands so calloused they bleed every night.
Each new year is a gateway
Transformation takes place
Among broken angels lying face down
In gutters and cracked sidewalks
Misty rain falls in city mornings
The angels sing, sigh sweetly
Not entering this gateway neatly
I am overcome, completely
With an urge for annihilation
Winter is a time for healing.
Cold, gray mornings and a pallid moon hangs in the sky.
Bundled up to protect my heart.
My heart is a fireplace, radiating from the center of my chest.
My lover comes close, we warm ourselves.
Winter is a time for healing.
Birds migrate south, leaving us to think of what we’ve done and how we can make the world a better place.
We take inventory of our souls.
Nature retreats, but it’s only regenerating.
Without winter, there’s no spring or summer.
We snuggle into the season with our lovers, and I clasp my rosary as I pray to the God I want so desperately to believe in.
“But the country folks, if you ask them, would swear on the Bible that he walks: there are those who speak to having met him near the church, and on the moor, and even within this house. Idle tales, you’ll say, and so say I . . . Yet, still, I don’t like being out in the dark now; and I don’t like being left by myself in this grim house: I cannot help it; I shall be glad when they leave it, and shift to the Grange.” – Emily Brontë, from Wuthering Heights
Along the river, the dream skyline beckons to me. Awash in frosted colors of winter, a mixture of cool blues, greens, and yellows, each light is a thousand people burning and dying away. Those high skyscrapers and towers shooting from cold, neon concrete, and those burning people screaming in agony in unison, is the perfect nightmare chorus for this evening.
The river water reflects the shades of my character flaws. A little bit of gluttony, lust, pride, and other deadly sins, a watery grave to put them in. I’m approaching the harbor with my doppelgänger, a slightly deformed version of myself; the eyes are too sunken, the teeth too sharp, and the appetite too large.
My lover chisels away rough edges
Around the center of my heart
But sharpness still remains
I cannot contain darkness sometimes
Lying on concrete in the cold dawn
There’s a man standing above me
I reach for the rosary he carries
He offers salvation in a kind way
Not like the charismatic preachers
I used to know in traveling days
He tells me, softly, that Jesus
Turns his back on no one, including
Pimps and hustlers with their
Scarred faces and crooked teeth