Happy Or Sad Or Mad

“I have the choice of being constantly active and happy or introspectively passive and sad. Or I can go mad by ricocheting in between.”  ― Sylvia Plath

Poor Sylvia, she sounds bipolar. In fact, she killed herself at the age of thirty. Something was desperately wrong, but no one knew. Everyone knows I have bipolar disorder. As many people as possible anyway. I am shouting it from the rafters hoping others will see it is okay to talk about.

The only thing wrong with this quote as a description of bipolar is the word “choice”. We really don’t have one. We cycle between happiness or sadness like the change of the weather and there is no way to tell where or when the wind may change.  Or when the madness may come in. When we have cycled to such an extreme that we are in fact psychotic and have lost touch with reality. At least that is when I call it madness.

Psychosis is to be avoided at all costs. But is there a choice? Only as far as taking your medications, trying all you can to get your rest. Taking care of yourself and asking for help when you begin to lose control of your thoughts. Because the faster you mention that the easier it is to stop it. With a medication adjustment rather than a hospital stay. That is always my goal. I hate going to the hospital. But I go if I have to, because the question they ask is: are you a danger to yourself or others? Well I have not ever been a danger to others. That leaves me. I’ll be darned if I’m going to fight so hard to stay ahead of this disorder. To live victoriously with it to succumb to what got Sylvia Plath at this late date! Not going to happen.

But I’m not pushing it. Not going to push this illness to the breaking point. I’m not going to pretend everything is fine when I really need help. The hospital is not that bad. Actually it’s the best place to be when you need to be there. I know that. So in I will go, if necessary.  And I will work hard, doing everything I need to: adjust to new medications, work on sleep, group, whatever it takes, until it is time to get out.

I’m never alone. I have faith that the Lord is with me. He goes before me, beside me and has my back. I have nothing to fear. Having nothing to fear makes bipolar disorder a lot easier to have. I don’t fear death or destruction because of it. I don’t fear that I will be abandoned or alone. I don’t fear the hospital or strange people, like myself, only sicker. I do not fear because I am  never alone.

That helps a great deal. I dreamed one time I was in the hospital that I was falling. You know that old superstition that if you dream you are falling and if you land in your dream you will die? No? Well it was a superstition when I was a child. And I still believed it back when I was 23, in the hospital with bipolar for the first time and having this dream. Suddenly to my horror, I landed. I lay there expecting the worst. Instead I was surrounded by the warmest, deepest love I had ever felt. And I knew for once and for all that God was not only at the mountain top, but in the deepest pit we could ever fall into. I knew it then, and I know it now. He is always there for me — and for you.

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6 thoughts on “Happy Or Sad Or Mad

  1. Beautiful post lovely 🙂 Far too often people hide the signs of mood disorders, because they believe that someone is going to think it’s their fault. Bipolar disorder is a condition, just like diabetes is a condition. It’s something you learn to manage. And sometimes, it’s something that gets the better of you, and you have to reach out for help.

    It’s hard when you feel you have to hide it, or when you’re absolutely certain that it’s your problem and, by default, your fault. I’m not bipolar, but I’ve suffered from bouts of seasonal depression since I was a child. It took me 28 years to admit that I needed help. Don’t let that be you.

    • Thanks so much Renee for reading, relating and for your concern. I have been getting help with this for 45 years now. At first, not because I wanted it, but because it was unavoidable and a loving father found me help and made sure I got some. Now because I want it and know I need it. I try so hard not to let it get bad. But sometimes you cannot help that. Right now I am stable and seeking out speaking engagements to share on mental illness, toss some light on the subject and show people we are out here living, breathing and having successful lives!

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