I read an article online today. One of those 'personal experience' stories, much like something I would write. This person was talking about what it was like to be bipolar. She was talking about it. About the medication and the side effects, and how she would have to take more medication just to counter the side effects of the medication she was already taking, and how each medication that was added on top of the previous medication was like a Jenga tower. You hope it stays upright and doesn't fall, but each new medication was like pulling a link from the tower. If you're lucky, it holds. Eventually though, the whole thing will collapse. It's just inevitable.
That was her life. A constant, never-ending experiment with finding the right medication to keep the Jenga tower upright, that would bracket in her bipolar, allowing her to function. Kind of. On top of a rickety tower.
Sometimes she would achieve a sort of stability, but with side effects that refused to be countered... such as random body part paralysis, constant dry mouth, having her sensation of taste ironed into a single nasty, metallic flavor, and uncontrollable weight gain followed by uncontrollable weight loss, just to name a few. Sometimes, despite the meds, the Jenga tower would collapse, and she'd be buried, trapped underneath debilitating depression and unable to move, literally. Sometimes she would abandon the tower because the side effects would become untenable, and she would lapse back into the unmedicated cycle of highs and lows.
She described all of her experiences in great detail, and I truly can't imagine having to live like she has to. My heart uselessly and ineffectively goes out to her. What can I do but feel a limited amount of empathy for her? I can't do anything except for that, and my anonymous empathy does her no good at all.
There's one part of her experience that I can imagine, though. The debilitating, unable to move part. I feel like that pretty often when I'm waking up and confronted with the thought of the imminent day... the unavoidable awake period that must occur when sleep has absolutely been exhausted. I get that a couple of times a week, mostly on my days off. I'll find myself waking from an uncomfortable dream with my kidneys screaming in pain, forcing into me the total discomfort which forbids me from continuing to lie prone. I have to get up, absolutely... but the thought of getting up, and the action of moving myself into an upright position, elicits just the awfullest mental anguish. It's a hellish limbo, that period of time between 'becoming conscious' and 'completely uponabandoning the the sleepish un-time of being stretched out on that torturous, dreaming rack'. It's torture, both ways, but I'd rather experience that torture in dream-land.
So then, what's my condition? Something is wrong. This isn't normal, I'm pretty sure, the way I experience life from day to day. It's hell, a continuous hell. It's a conscious hell too. It's a self-aware hell. It's a hell that I can expect to some degree, every day. What is this condition? What is this hell-sick that I'm afflicted with? Is it curable? What the F is this kidney pain that I have which, apart from insomnia, and on top of it, prevents me from experiencing more than six hours of lying prone and at rest at a time? Why is this torture visited upon me? It's a torture of every day normality, meaning that every day is normally torturous. This every-day-ness of torture makes me think incessantly of suicide. I'm not suicidal by nature, you know. I want to live. But this thing... this knowledge, of the inevitable future of hell, of the knowing that every day is going to, maybe be horrible, to a certain degree, just makes me think about putting a permanent stop to this bullshit.
I like finding funny though. I like expressing funny. I like seeing funny and communicating funny. I like everything that's funny. I like morbid funny. I like offensive funny. I like cute funny. I like innocent funny. I like funny, in all its incarnations. What I've read though, here and there, is that an incessant amount of funny is a signal of extreme unhappiness. Extreme despair. That too much funny in your spirit can be fatal.
I don't wanna die. I get a big kick out of things that come with being alive... not just the funny. Lots of things. Beautiful things. Amazing things. Unknowable things. I don't wanna miss those. I'm not suicidal, I'm really not... but I have this cute little monster that showed up on my doorstep when I was born, and now it's a pet that just needs feeding, all the time, and it's eating me alive, and man, it hurts, getting eaten alive. Hurts. Unbelievable hurts... hurts like, you'd do anything to stop the hurt.
That's all. I feel really sorry for the girl with the bipolar.