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.
This looks like an awfully nice backdrop for a wedding, right? Well, that’s exactly what it was in October 2019 when Rachel’s brother got married. I got to hang with Rachel’s family during that trip to Tennessee.
“What you have, my friend, is a soul sickness.”
He appeared quite serious, pulling on the hairs of his bushy white mustache, and sipping from a cup of tea in the old office building he’d converted into his business space, known as, “Bill’s Spiritual Counseling.”
I step inside Mrs. Dalloway’s mind:
it twists, turns – I’m lost in the maze,
as she spills thoughts on the page –
a link to her consciousness;
it’s a stream that overflows,
breaks embankments, floods my psyche
‘till I put the book down,
lest my mind goes manic and
doesn’t come back.
(Photo credit: A portrait photo of Virginia Woolf from Britannica.com).
Note: This poem was inspired by Mrs. Dalloway, the classic novel by Virginia Woolf. I’m reading it now, and I love it, but I’ve had to put it down a couple of times because I felt like it was triggering a manic episode.
Staring at these screens, I wonder
if I’ll get sucked inside and live in the vastness
of our Great Collective Unconscious like so many
writers have prophesied.
I love Philly. I grew up in the area, and I have a lot of pride in the city. Philly has an incredible Mural Arts program that funds and creates beautiful murals throughout the city. There’s also tons of random art, like this wall of graffiti near a parking lot in the Old City neighborhood.
My anxiety has been getting the best of me lately, but it’s improving. The other day, my grandfather and I spent a quiet hour at a little creek and wooded area in our neighborhood just to get out of the house. It helped.
We’re at the creek because this is a happy place
for us – the birdsong is soothing, the trickling water
reminds me these places exist in reality –
not just the online world we live in.
The soul-snatcher glared at me from the dusty street corner with fiery orange eyes, his hands cupped over his mouth because of the early morning cold.
I had been out late that night, and I was returning home a little tipsy.
“Hello there,” he said. “Looking for your fix?”
The neighbor talks to me as she tends her vegetable garden –
she talks at me is more like it; I hardly get a word in, you see.
She says, “All Lives Matter;” I bite my tongue,
let her ramble, not knowing what’s bouncing in that brain.
Here we are, nearly four months into the pandemic. The whole thing has been a very strange experience, for all us. It’s been a shared experience across the planet, though some countries have managed it better than others. I’m learning that the ability to adapt is so important.