Lately, my brain and my meds have been in the middle of an intense tug-of-war game. They’re battling it out to see if I’m gonna inch closer to crazy and then fall off the edge, or continue for a few more months on stable, solid ground.
So I whipped out some old writing (I was actually just organizing my google docs and came across some stuff).
This is something I wrote back in early January when I was feeling good (after a long three-month depression). I was still seeing my old psychiatrist, but I felt like some good things were gonna happen, I felt like my future held positive things.
It kind of talks about how I was panicking because I wasn’t sure who/what I would be without periodically losing my mind. (I wasn’t aware that I’d lose it three more times over the course of like 5 months, but ahhh to be naive)…
Anyway, here we go:
I’m sitting on the couch in our living room, listening to a murder podcast with Andrew. I have a beer on the coffee table, and I’ve been sipping it casually even though I suck at drinking alcohol. I really like the idea of it, and I like being drunk, but it’s just that the actual ingesting of the alcohol is somewhat tiring. That aside, I’m having a pretty good evening. Work was decent today, Andrew and I went food shopping and ate afterward, and now I’m feeling quite relaxed as my fingers start flying over my keyboard to create this document.
I thought about what I wanted to write about before I began typing. I thought about it for a while, actually, and I couldn’t figure out where to start or what to say. I’ve been rereading so much of my old stuff lately, and I love it all, for so many reasons, but I don’t want to sit here and write something that’s already been written. Especially if it’s been written by ME already.
But like, shit, I’m so proud of myself for the intangible things I’ve made real with via words I put onto a page. Not to beep my own horn (fucking beep beep), but I can bring a reader into a downswing with me and send them spiraling so chaotically into nihility that they almost actually understand what it’s like to have this disorder. Reading through my work makes what I’ve gone through seem like nonfiction…because for a while there, in the midst of the tumultuous ebbs and flows, it felt like mere psychosomatic nonsense as opposed to true experience. After all, how could something that fucking CRAZY have been real? I had to have imagined it. Rereading my shit makes the continual ups and downs, which I have for a fact lived through, seem significant. It makes the extreme fluctuations seem purposeful and important. When I revisit my words describing the horrors of bipolar disorder in my years passed, I remember who I am –not because I am the personification of the word Mercurial, but because I am a survivor. I love remembering what I’ve survived (and will survive again).
It’s just that right now, I’m on the precipice of…something. It’s an exciting edge I’m looking at, but there is no element of fear looking forward at it. I’m happy to be on it, this turning point. And although I can’t be certain, I think I’m staring NORMAL in the face (as if the conventional meaning of such a word exists).
After ten years of being on the same medication, one that at its best only tamed my persistent mood episodes mildly, I have finally switched to a different one. Due to a mixture of dumb luck and another overwhelming depression motivating me to somehow acquire a change, I managed to acquire that change. I even took the self-help a step further and got into therapy again.
Three-ish months later, and I feel like the “something” that I’m staring at has been a long time coming. No, I wasn’t supposed to be so wildly up and so sickeningly down, so often, for so long, while having been on a mood stabilizer. No, I don’t have to live that way anymore, and no, it doesn’t have to be how it’s always been: I can manage this. I can cope with these chemicals in my brain that has morphed into a monster (the definition of “cope” being “to deal effectively with something difficult,” by the way). I can function better. It doesn’t have to take so much energy to control something as simple (or complex) as my mood. I can do this.
The writer in me is worried. What will I write about if I don’t have insanity fueling my words? Will I be boring without the cyclic breaks from reality? Can I even write well when the subject isn’t something as important as my delicate mental health? I mean, skill is skill, but having no power behind it scares me.
You have to admit, it is worrisome. Or at least, it WOULD be worrisome, until this essay-thing started pouring out of me. Writing begets writing. Does that make sense? Am I using that word correctly? What I mean is that the problem that had to do with writing was solved by writing. I’m writing about writing. It’s a very “meta” thing, now that I’m thinking about it.
But the main point is that being more stable is not going to negatively impact my writing. Maybe it’ll even have the opposite effect. I’ll be able to concentrate on words ALL the time, as opposed to only when I’ve emotionally evened out (the task of writing, though as necessary to me as breathing, is insurmountably difficult when I’m not evened out). And who says I won’t still be writing about my mental health? I write about the anorexia that nearly killed me, and I write about it expertly I think, and that isn’t my main enemy anymore. Why shouldn’t the same logic extend to the bipolar disorder? Furthermore, even if I’m writing a story about a completely random topic, who says I won’t inject mental health into the story’s meaning?
WHO I AM is more than BIPOLAR, but my mood disorder is a tremendous part of what has made me who I am. So I am certain that it will permeate all corners of my writing just like it reaches all corners of who I am. As it should. As I like it. I like who I am and I like that I’m a survivor and I like that the two are mixed evenly together to make a homogenous writer who is proud of herself.
There are so many things I can write about outside the realm of mental health. I’m so excited to delve into them all. I can’t wait to practice writing in all its glorious forms, gaining as many skills as I can and learning as much as possible. I will write about everything as eloquently as I can; such is why I write, after all.
A part of me is sad because as I leave the shores of practically-untreated bipolar disorder behind, I might miss being the frantically up-and-down Laura that I’ve always been. But I am reminding myself that it is a part of me I’m not giving up so much as growing from.
And besides. Whenever I miss my insanity, I can always visit it with words.