After an early response to a new antipsychotic for ten days, I tanked back into my melancholy fit on April 15 and have been there since. It's so disheartening. But in today's dark sonnet I did put in a little hope. Hope is so necessary. I was going to go into depth today about my latest mood terrors but find as I type that I have little or nothing to say that I haven't said before.
1) Bipolar disease, in its worst form, as I have it, is akin to epilepsy. It is a chemical dysfunction of the brain that effectively mimics negative affects: fear, sadness and anger, when all the routine responses to loss go on override and life becomes a terror--I dread phone calls and e-mails, I have to suck up courage to face them. Once I get engaged in something, as in writing this blog, I feel a little better, able to forget myself for a time. But the all-pervasive feelings persist. Crying temporarily reduces the anxiety, but it also tires the body out. I know I'm not special, there are millions of sufferers on the planet, but I know of no one personally who has experienced so many severe depressions in a lifetime. I'm sure such a person exists, if they haven't committed suicide.
2) For this disease I have found only two things that help: medications and ECT, and the latter failed me in '08, so I guess it's just down to medications. But it's a crap shoot, these medications, and finding the right combination can take forever. It's important not to lose hope, though. And when I do, I need my doctor to hold hope for me.
3) I am not my disease. I have a disease. There's a big difference in that that helps me not to panic at times.
4) It is not my fault.
5) All the therapy and self-help books have proven no help to me. All I know is to endure, take the medicines, and not lose hope.
6) I would not wish this illness on anyone.
7) Hope and endurance are the most necessary virtues I can practice.
8) I am on disability because I am disabled. There, I said it. Between the condition of my back and the unpredictable condition of my mind, I don't know what useful work I could do. I wish to hell I could work at something, but who would hire me if I made full disclosure? I work at writing, I send out submissions, I continue to compose poems and songs--this is my work, even if it only rarely pays.
I feel lower than a worm's belly in a ditch right now. Here's the poem:
My mind is dark. The darkness will not cease,
As if an endless night ate every sun.
The echoes in my skull form a reprise
Of guilt and shame for everything I’ve done
Or left undone, that catechism phrase.
There is no publicist prepared to spin
Kinder assessments of benighted days.
Sin means falling short and I am sin.
Yet somewhere in the vacuum of my thought
I sense some inextinguishable light
So very small and certain, like a dot
That moves around and can’t be fixed outright.
I like to think this angel is my being
And not the Sturm und Drang that you are seeing.
Thanks for reading.
At 6 Kilorats,