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purple poetry

What is bipolar disorder?  (Part 5 of 7)

As I enter into this fifth installment concerning bipolar I am suddenly feeling vulnerable and quite insecure about his whole process.  I know it is not necessarily well written but the point is it is written and that is a tremendous step. It is as if I have just penned a poem entitled ‘purple poetry’ and then purposely spilled purple ink onto the page. At this juncture, I will confess that some of the most frightening visitations I have with bipolar are the periods of psychosis that are marked by delusions and hallucinations.  These can be amazingly real and can manifest themselves in the form of a snake or a scorpion or can be a person or a dog.  It’s uncanny and most times I am able to differentiate between a real person and one born in my mind. These come on usually as a result of sleeplessness.  When experiencing a manic episode I can go days with zero sleep and weeks with virtually no sleep (an hour a night for four weeks).  I do not recommend this for anyone because depression and suicidal anxieties can walk arm in arm with sleeplessness and sometimes the line of demarcation is not so comfortable.

I stop on occasion and try to check where I am going and where I have been with this somewhat self-inflicting word wrap.  I don’t want it to come across as a complaint nor do I want it to be read as an attention grabber.  I hope this is informative and your visit into my mind, which happens to be bipolar, is just that, informative for any who question what it is like at the end of the hall when the lights are turned off.

I suppose if I am able to communicate one thing it is that bipolar is not an addiction and when I think about all it entails I think of  Senator Barry Goldwater’s campaign slogan in 1964 when he made a bid for the office of President of the United States.  His slogan was “A Choice, Not an Echo”  Bipolar, to me, is quite the opposite, “An Echo, Not A Choice.” By that I mean it is genetic and has everything to do with wiring and nothing to do with choices. The echo chambers of my mind are filled with eerie expressions on bad days and melodic sounds of orchestrated music on good days.

an honorable death

morning escaped like an echo
winding through whispering pine trees
crawling with bent fingers over frozen ponds
searching for the minute of birth

fogged windowpanes slowed the reflection
as ghost-like fog and mist stopped
dead against the cold moisture-laden glass
where morning died an honorable death

mourning died in the burrowed soil
while storm clouds threatened to weep
onto stones planted around her
as she lay in a place safe from yesterday

haunting music still plays in my head
my fingers on guitar strings too late
my shallow words too soft for her ears
my heart too broken to know how to heal

morning escaped like an echo
winding through whispering pine trees
mourning died in the burrowed soil
while storm clouds threatened to weep

Simply put, bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. Symptoms of bipolar disorder are severe. They are different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through from time to time. Bipolar disorder symptoms can result in damaged relationships, poor job or school performance, and even suicide. But bipolar disorder can be treated, and people with this illness can lead full and productive lives. I hate taking medications that make me feel like I left my head at the bowling alley after it was used to clear the gutter.  Chances are I didn’t because I have not been in a bowling alley for probably thirty years…or maybe a week ago Wednesday, I don’t remember which.

The point is, if you are sick, take your meds!

Bipolar disorder is not easy to spot when it starts. The symptoms may seem like separate problems, not recognized as parts of a larger problem. Some people suffer for years before they are properly diagnosed and treated. I did and it almost killed me on several occasions. It’s important to know that like diabetes or heart disease, bipolar disorder is a long-term illness that must be carefully managed throughout a person’s life.

morning is empty

when gray doves no longer coo
and what was once a novel
has been reduced to a few short words

there is nothing left
but a shortened paragraph
in search of punctuation
to slow the silence of emptiness

do you remember your youth
when life was spread out like a cinema
on some wide screen
and acted upon in full color?

a new fog has rolled in
and swallowed the light of day
there are still prostitutes on every corner
and the smell of morning’s laundromats
is unchanged

morning will soon pass
and the sun will move no more quickly overhead
than it did when i was five
morning will pass
surely morning will pass

Next:   What are the symptoms of bipolar disorder?  (Part 6 of 7)