I continue in a state of suspended animation; I pass for normal when I have to; I suppress tears. I've thought of reading through my blog during my two-year depression to see what help I might find there, but I know the score. I have a genetically inherited biochemical disease that causes extreme and prolonged moods. Medications sometimes help. Electricity once helped. Mainly one must gut it out, endure. When I preach endurance to the depressed they are often disappointed. Of course everyone wants a cure. What if there is no cure? There isn't for bipolars, only management.
My psychiatrist returns next week. Two weeks ago he tripled my antispychotic medication. This hasn't helped a bit, I'm afraid. My thoughts are dark as licorice. Sometimes I laugh and surprise myself. I don't walk around with a sign on my head, "Suicidally Depressed: Caution." No, other people have enough problems and besides, to talk about depression often only makes it worse, why I always leave my shrink's office feeling worse. And casual acquaintances, unless afflicted by the disease, cannot understand.
I feel apologetic to be down here again.
But there's no one to apologize to and no one to blame.
It is what it is.
Again, I don't claim the poems below are good art. I do them for therapy, like crossword puzzles.
You want to die more than you want to live.
This is your state. You try not to let on.
You try to pass for you, careful to give
Distinct impressions than you’ve not withdrawn
From life into a cave. The cave is you.
You carry it around, a hermit crab
And send some chuckles up the nacreous flu
(Although the mausoleum’s rather drab.)
You’re only doing what you have to do
To engineer some cheer, to fool your friends
Into thinking you’re no more than blue
Or else distracted by important ends.
This dedicated sham can last for years.
Don’t ruin it by leaking pointless tears.
I cannot take this illness seriously.
Manic-depression? My father’s family curse?
The experts have agreed imperiously
That of all sadnessess, nothing is worse.
First the depression, colder than a blade
Immersed in liquid nitrogen and held
Burning against a cheek, by self betrayed
Until the flesh and pain have formed a weld.
But that’s not it; that’s minor metaphor
Much too mediocre for malaise
In every cell, for darkness at the core
Of every gilded memory you raise.
You can’t remember hope. Why seek a cure?
For pain beyond pain only death is sure.
Who cares for me, how would I even know?
My beloved holds me with her eyes
And mine begin to tear. I would not show
The depths of my disease to one I prize
Above all others. Without her love, what then?
Deeper inside the spiral of my pain?
Scratching wretched hope out with my pen?
Institutionalized with the insane?
She is a luxury I don’t deserve.
How can she recall what I once was?
Somehow in her mind she must preserve
The outline of a man without these flaws
Of character or chemistry, you choose;
I’m too exhausted to explain my views.
It’s not for flaw of character I weep
But for a flaw of chemistry, my dear.
Inside the gyri of my brain it creeps
Infecting all connections, engineer
Or all the darkest petals of the mind
Blighted and browned, hideous to behold,
A nightmare to myself, a melon rind
Upon a garbage heap deformed by mold.
The green fuzz on the peel is the thing
But fungus should only concern the dead.
I feel its hyphae in my reasoning;
Can’t someone suck this poison from my head?
If brain were foot I’d apply fungal cream.
Perhaps I should begin with trephining.
Whenever my mind is not occupied
By something else, I think of suicide
And castigate myself for it; I ride
The pale horse, the monkey is my guide.
The monkey steers the horse, chattering loud.
The horse proceeds in circles round and round.
I gather up my history in a shroud.
The audience makes that sucking-in-breath sound.
Cheer! What a lovely word! An anodyne
For the purple cement that clogs my mind
And heart in a malevolent design
Of petty feedback loops, pause and rewind.
Where did the cheer go? Why am I insane?
Shut the monkey up! The horse is lame.