January 27, 2009

Trying to step into a person's shoes

A couple of coincidences happened today. One was the fact that a person whom I'd cut out of my life completely due to his actions suddenly, randomly, asked via email "can bygones be bygones? Can we talk?" Wow, totally out of the blue, indeed. I thought to self, "how can I want that, and yet not give it?" So, replied and spoke a bit of what my life is going through. He replied again quickly. But I don't feel like I want to get into IM with him yet. No, email is a little less immediate, and less pressure. But, yes, it feels good to practice forgiveness.

Another thing of interest was a show on my kids favourite channel TVO kids. Swap TV where a kid lives with another kids family for 2 days and vice versa. How hard that must be! To live in another's shoes for 2 whole days, away from anything remotely familiar. Rather scary! And to have a video camera in your face a good portion as you deal with their life, suddenly. I thought, as an extension of that, how could a person without bipolar even begin to understand what it is like to live this life of hell. Yes, at times it does feel that way. I didn't ask for this, and don't want it, and wish it would go away, and hate dealing with it, and just cope with it. Yes I put on a brave face, smile, say things are good. But .. (you knew there would be a but right?) some times, like tonight when it just brings tears to my eyes. I get tired of fighting to stay sane, happy, organized, being "Mummy", being good "Wife", and having to be the computer fix-it expert in my house due to immenient HDD failure. Yes, that's a lot of worry points. I just get tired, defeated, sad and over-burdened.

I guess the best way I could start to describe it is with words. But pictures help, apparently. So do videos. Or talking. Or saying the words in a song. A wide variety of media can portray what bipolar is to people who have it. Then perhaps those not walking in our shoes may begin to understand it. The movie "Garden State" with Zach Braff <Wiki entry> is one way of showing mental illness pretty well. The song "Lithium" by Nirvana is another. The song "Lithium" by Evanescence is yet another one. But it portrays darkness and depress whereas Lithium actually is a mood-stabilizer and protects against depression.

One of the most noted writers on the subject of Bipolar is Kay Redfield Jamison. Clinical psychologist, professor of psychology, and Bipolar sufferer, all in one. Wow! Amazing lady. A real expert, in more than one way.

Her quote below:

Jamison, in an interview, said she was an 'exuberant' person herself, yet she longed for peace and tranquility; but in the end, she preferred "tumultuousness coupled to iron discipline" over leading a "stunningly boring life." In her autobiography, "An Unquiet Mind", she concluded: "I long ago abandoned the notion of a life without storms, or a world without dry and killing seasons. Life is too complicated, too constantly changing, to be anything but what it is. And I am, by nature, too mercurial to be anything but deeply wary of the grave unnaturalness involved in any attempt to exert too much control over essentially uncontrollable forces. There will always be propelling, disturbing elements, and they will be there until, as Lowell put it, the watch is taken from the wrist. It is, at the end of the day, the individual moments of restlessness, of bleakness, of strong persuasions and maddened enthusiasms, that inform one's life, change the nature and direction of one's work, and give final meaning and color to one's loves and friendships."

And that is that, in a nutshell. I'll live with all of this. The peace, at times. The tears, at times. The feelings of not being able to stop myself from feeling real joy, or anger, of love, at times. Ever-changing circumstances indeed. Well said. How amazing of her to have written the de facto textbook on bipolar disorder.

Well done.

So, at the end of a long day, I'll smile and say thanks to God for a great day, and let's hope tomorrow is another one. God bless.

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