Life with it’s many moods

Nobody’s ever asked me “So Thirza, what’s it like living with a mood disorder?” I think it’s one of those things only other people with mood disorders are interested in. People get very frusterated with those of us who have it. Growing up I was often told I was too sensitive and that I needed to overcome it. Nobody stopped to consider that perhaps my sensitivity was something I couldn’t overcome, and that treating me with a bit of gentleness would be the best solution.

Today on the Skytrain coming home from work I was being the quiet observer of human behaviour that I am. Normally I wear a walkman to drown out people, but tonight I wasn’t. Some guy was sitting with his female friend as she was putting on zit concealer. “You’re really zitty.” “That’s a mean thing to say,” she said, “I’m really self concious about it.” “That’s why I’m telling you,” he said, “I’m helping you become less self concious. The more I say things to you the less it will bother you.”

I sometimes wonder if this was the intention of many people around me when I was growing up. I was too sensitive, therefore I was subjected to some fairly harsh “teasing” and a lot of bullying at school. The end result was that I’m a super socially awkward adult, often running away from acquaintances when I run into them in public, hiding out at home on the internet, and being closer to animals than I am to people. I have no clue how to interact with people because people’s interactions with me have so often crossed a line and I never learned how to draw boundaries and safety zones around myself in a more sophisticated way than staying home reading online journals.

For instance, I forgot to take my mood stabilizers this morning. A whole day at my call centre job being told off by people on the phone and my nerves were raw. Too late to take my pills, I nearly burst into tears twice over nothing.

And the mania?

Sometimes people don’t even recognize hypomania, they just know someone’s giddy and happy and it can really pass in society as just a happy-go-lucky person. But manic psychosis . . .

To be in a state of manic psychosis is like the most powerful, longest lasting ecstacy trip, filled with love and religious fervour and art, and fear. The paranoia wraps you up into a desperate world where your quicksilver brain is always reaching for a place to pull you out of samsara, the world of illusion that you realize reality is. And yet in realizing reality is an illusion, you trip into another illusion. I’m still trying to put together some language for myself to understand where I went when I flipped out. Reading what I wrote then makes no sense to me now, I think I’m too judgemental of it to be compassionate.

I think a lot of people are judgemental of psychosis. There is a lot of anger at the fact that a person has “lost their mind,” as if they could control it.

Hmm. Well, that’s what I’ve been thinking about anyway. I found a cool link that explains manic psychosis, and is very true to what my own psychotic episode was like, at Catching A Darkness: Glimpses of My Sister’s Mania which is a really engrossing photo essay by Boris Dolin about his sister Jessica, who ended up committing suicide a few years after this essay was put online. I highly recommend you check it out.

I’m at a point now in my recovery from bipolar where although I know I’ve ended up with a tough lot in life, I’ll be okay essentially. Once when I was a teenager at a queer youth group, I said “I guess the point is just to survive life.” A friend told me “Nobody survives life.” And it’s true. We all have our own crosses to bear, no one burden is nobler than anothers. This just happens to be mine.

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