Naturally I don't share everything here. I share what I can while preserving a modicum of privacy, because of this medium; and I don't want to pander to Peyton Place voyeurism. But today I think people thirst for the authentically personal because their lives are inundated with impersonal information.
It's odd how this blog has evolved. I started with humorous essays, of which I've published dozens elsewhere. They weren't very popular. Then I related our difficulties in Mexico, where Kathleen's hearing-ear-dog was held for a $10,000 ransom. I would have paid the money if I'd had it. Instead there were six months of captivity in a land I have come to detest. People were interested in that struggle.
Finally, after that stress was over, and we got our own place back in California, I sank into a depression. It's somewhat typical for a bipolar to react after the stress is over, much like migraine sufferers get their headaches when the final is over. How I wish I only suffered migraines! But suffering is not ours to choose. "Adventure is chosen, suffering is imposed."
So now my blog has morphed into two streams--probably the two things I know most about on this planet--manic-depression and poetry. I dread the former and love the latter. The fact that the two are inextricably linked through history makes for a nice fit, though I'd rather talk about poetry than mood disorders.
I teach poetry online. I also counsel bipolars. And many of the poets I know are also bipolar. One student, long since graduated, has been in the bughouse nearly 30 times, and she goes on. But she's in that "lucky" 15% of bipolars who suffer more from mania than depression.
On the net I'm best known as a poet. Yet in my bios I pointedly included my bipolar disease for the sake of honesty. Am I proud to be a bipolar? No, that would be like being proud of my height. I had little to do with either; they were the cards I was dealt, along with lumbar scoliosis, and later, severe degenerative disk disease.
Frankly, I resent the hell out of being manic-depressive. It has been a curse and also the strongest single determinant in the major choices of my life. My great burden is that I have been able to function at a high level even while psychotic, which prevented treatment. I've won many academic awards while essentially psychotic and wondering why they were given to me.
Thus I came to treatment late. In my psychiatry residency I was the golden boy so no one on the faculty considered the possibility I might have major mental illness when I got sick and had to drop out.
So, in a sense, my intelligence and the stoic endurance my mother instilled in me have worked against me. I never knew when to say "uncle." When I was finally diagnosed it took a good friend, also a psych resident, to persuade me to come to his hospital for treatment. And in my 30th year I finally met a doctor who made the diagnosis in all of half an hour. And so it goes.
Today I'm probably at 1.5 kilorats. On the bright side, when I awoke, I did have feelings of love for my beautiful wife. It's good to know they're still there, since depression reduces all feelings to a flat landscape of obsidian squares beneath a brass sky.
I'm laying off posting poems for now. If any readers wish for me to post them more often, I'll be happy to comply.
Thine in Truth and Art,