Bi-Polar Rant!

the disorder is seldom understood so please bear with me

while i endeavour to explain

bipolar disorder sufferers are part of a rather small and exclusive club
if they openly acknowledge what they are then they take the chance
of being rejected or viewed with some trepidation, they will
certainly be discriminated against,
especially when it comes to employment

they do not choose to be as they are,
and paradoxically you need them,
without them society as you know it would not exist,
but more of that later

their mistake,
if it is a mistake,
was to be born with defective genes,
it appears that they left something
behind in the gene pool

-or they took something from it which others don't have-

for they have a condition known more commonly as

manic depression

what does that mean
manic-depressive illness or bipolar disorder, is the least common
form of depression, affecting about 1% of the population
it is equally distributed throughout all classes and professions
but is slightly more prevalent in women than in men
and artists seem to be particularly prone

especially poets

it is two states which they fluctuate between uncontrollably

the first is Low, the second is High

Low is bad, low is the place of your worst nightmares,
low is the place of worthlessness, the place of self harm,
the place of self hatred, the place of suicide, the place of fear,
the place of hallucination, the place in the corner of the bathroom
where the sufferer may bury their head in their hands
when the breath of the Black Pig which
takes them by the throat becomes unspeakably foul
the place of pain, the place of suffering and utter loneliness

High is the flip side and High, you’d think, could be good

maybe

if you struggle to imagine the pains of being low,
then you will never even begin to comprehend the
shear joy of being high for it is like being inside
an orgasm for days and the world is bright and
flooded with Colour while
Music surrounds and permeates the very essence of being
as Art leaps from mere three dimensions
and spreads itself throughout the soul racing across
a manic mind like a fireworks display

in this state a bipolar sufferer knows
the answer to all the ultimate questions,
knows Words and Phrases that are
so beautifully structured that to speak them is
to weep with emotion
but they know it is hardly worth the effort of trying to tell you,
for it can never be conveyed,
their mind is alive and burning with images,
new perspectives, new ideas that all come flooding
as in a spring tide
yes they have to talk to you, have to talk quickly,
because there is so much to say even though they know
you will never understand more than a fragment of it,
so many important truths which they have to
share with the world before this moment passes
but it is likely that
in this state they will insult you,
hurt you with their arrogance,
maybe even lose your friendship
the High is like a balloon expanding
constantly pushing them out into the furthermost limits
of their mind and perception
the High is temporary but while it lasts
they can live a life time in a matter of days
however throughout this seemingly happy state
a voice is constantly interjecting with
Albert Camus’ words

‘There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide.
Judging whether life is or is not worth living…’

and throughout the manic High
they are fully aware that after the High,
may come a terrible Low
-that at the very least the balloon will burst-
so High is not really a place you want to be either

[living High now, ecstatic yet listening to Camus]

and, oh yes, Bipolar disorder is incurable
treatable yes, but incurable nonetheless
all of the Manic Depressives have a life sentence
although of course that does not mean that
it will be a long sentence as
a fifth of manic depressives kill themselves

think long about that last statistic,
it means in effect that at least two thirds of all people
who commit suicide have been manic depressives
so the next time that you hear a suicide statistic
console yourself that the chances of it being YOU
are in fact incredibly low, it is THEY
who are likely to die

-but the longer they survive the more likely they are to survive-

now i will introduce a character,
the character will be called

X

what can i tell you about X
well X is 'normal',
X does not have mental health issues,
X might look and behave very much like you

but in reality X does not exist,
except here in my mind

X is, if you like, an amalgamate of the fear and ignorance
which the Manic Depressives experience
X is the friend or lover who for years
it seemed
would be there throughout it all
and yet when the medical condition is manifest
they tell the sufferer that they fear they might harm themselves

-or them-

X ponders and worries and feeds on ignorance,
undermining with continued questioning
and a continuing failure to understand,
a failure which often appears deliberate
and eventually X disappears,
phone numbers are changed
or phone calls are not returned
and letters never replied to
yes X is the small minded amalgamate
-product-of-the-mind
who fears
the words bipolar sufferers create,
as to X they represent only
'a disturbed mind'

-but X does not exist-

except as a conglomerate of
all that the sufferers experience
if X did exist X would be the fool who tells the sufferer
that their brother woke up one day
and decided not to be depressed and was cured,
X believes that depression is a choice,
that sufferers act upon it for sympathy,
to X depression is not an
incurable medical condition,
it is a life style choice,
to X sufferers should
'pull themselves together’

' X is despicably smug, arrogant and ignorant,
i sometimes feel that because X is so stupid
s/he must be simply the product of a
Bipolar Low Hallucination
i hope so, I really hope X does not exist

X is the person who patronises,
telling the sufferer that they know why
they are depressed

it’s because they’re ‘weak’ or ‘soft’

X says that there is no genetic cause to what is happening,
that the sufferer should ‘go out for a walk',
that they should be ashamed to be depressed
as they live in the rich West,
that those in poor countries survive without depression
and therefore so should they

X tells the sufferer that denial is the solution,
not to admit that it is happening,
or deny that they have Bipolar disorder
and it will all just go away like a bad dream

X is the friend, the lover, whom the sufferer thought they had
but when they turned to them they were not there

but remember
[i must remember]
X does not exist,
 X is, if you like, a bipolar sufferers own jaundiced creation,
i must keep repeating

X does not exist

does s/he

as i near the end of this minor-rant there is
a very important point to return to
i told you at the start that society needed manic depressives
why would any one need such a group of aberrations
how can society need people who are mentally ill

well, ask yourself why society needs Tchaikovsky, Sylvia Plath, Robert Burns, Van Gogh, Rachmaninoff, Spike Milligan, T S Eliot, Hans Christian Andersen, Balzac, Charles Dickens, Michelangelo, Scott Fitzgerald, Jackson Pollock, Mahler, Ernest Hemingway, Gustav Holst, Lord Byron, Emily Dickenson, Irving Berlin, Edgar Alan Poe, Tony Hancock, Ibsen, Dylan Thomas, Eugene O'Neill, Rossini, Baudelaire, William Blake, Mary Shelley, Tolstoy, Herman Melville, Pasternak, Gorky, Paul Gauguin, Samuel Johnson, Keats, George Friederic Handel, Elgar, Lenny Bruce, Gerard Manley Hopkins, the list rolls on… and on...
these people are/were all Manic Depressives...
of the people who shaped and created your society the few with
Manic Depression are massively over represented
so much of your way of life and your wonderful culture was created
by Manic Depressives because by their pain, by their suffering,
by their insight, they created that which you now value

i wish, if you exist, that you could understand this X,
i wish that you all could understand what these exceptional
and tormented people have suffered in order to give to

you
all of
t h i s

Scroll the arrow to read on