when I was lying down to sleep with my 5 year old tonight (that sounds sweet, but most the time I lie down with her out of fear. Really she bullies me into it- ‘lie down with me until I sleep OR ELSE I’ll sabotage your evening!)
BUT once I give in, I’ll often find I actually love it.
I love it because it is a moment where I feel like I’m topping up that little girls tank for the day. I love it because SHE loves it, and she loves it because she obviously gets a lot of comfort out of it.
See, Ruthy can’t really speak the way a 5 year old normally can. Her speech is very delayed… so it’s hard for her to express her needs, and it’s hard for me to fulfil them, so she clings to these routines more than any of my other daughters have. Ruth needs this reassurance that at the end of the busy day, where she experiences so much frustration and confusion, mum or dad will hold her hand till she falls asleep.
One of the reasons I have found I love this time once I allow myself to, is that I have this moment of reflection smack bang in the middle of the busiest most tiring part of my day, and sometimes I have these thoughts…
tonight I had this though:
I think I’m bipolar.
I don’t know if I’ll ever find that out officially, I actually feel pretty confident in my self diagnosis because I have a few very close friends that have it and I understand them completely.
Sure, there may be an element of WANTING to be bipolar. Something about having a label like that is very gratifying. You get to compapre yourself with a lot of brilliant people (Charles Dickens, Stephen Fry, Vincent Van Gogh, Virginia Wolf, Robin Williams, Beethoven- you know- all the best people!)
But I think the reason I really suspect it is this-
I’m on pretty decent anti depressants right now. And they work! they really do. I function. I’m on a steady keel, I don’t spend my days living in fear that the next step I might take will be into a deep dark black tar filled hole. I get irritable, but not FURIOUS, I annoy myself, but I dont DESPISE myself.
Here’s how the depressed voice inside me talks
“you are a talentless loser. You are a stupid bitch. You are fake, you act all nice on the outside but everyone can see through that, they know that you despise them, don’t you? you despise them but you despise yourself even more. You’re so ugly. You’re shit at everything. Your house is a mess. Your life is a mess. It’s all bullshit. God is deeply disappointed in you. You disgust him.”
Then I hate God for being so harsh (even though I’m my own tyrant) But you’re not allowed to HATE God, so it’s more reason for me to hate me.
If there is some sort of spiritual world out there, depression is like having a bunch of little devils partying around your earlobes.
Anyway, you take these little pills and although you sense those little devils are still there chatting away, you can’t actually hear them anymore, so you manage to go about your days, you don’t live in fear anymore. You’re not TERRIFIED of waking up in the morning.
So thats got to be a good thing, right?
I remember seeing this wonderful documentary by Stephen Fry on Bi- Polar.
He asked each of the sufferers he interviewed, “if you could press a red button to make it go away, would you?”
Most of them answered no.
this is a classic thing with these personalities right? Because if you take away the deep lows, you take away the manic highs, or the intense creativity or productivity or whatever.
Since I’ve been on these pills, I haven’t had the drive to write so much, or to play, or sing.
It’s still there, but it’s not as much of a NEED.
In a way that has eased the situation. Because those moments of creative need were born from some long and emotionally painful labours.
But here I am wondering, what do I prefer? a medicated steady, comparably comfortable life or the life that comes with feelings of intense creativity- those moments where you lose yourself and feel like a vessel.. where you’re just pouring out something good that has come from a lot of things that feel terribly bad… and I do mean TERRIBLY BAD!
I’m afraid I’m edging toward wanting the pain and the creative moments. I mean I’m AFRAID!!
I risk feeling suicidal, perhaps I risk my marriage!
In Truth I don’t know what I risk because when I’m in that unmedicated state I feel unpredictable. I may feel violent and I may NOT create. It’s risk risk risk.
here’s the other little thought I had…
Is it possible that this experience of wanting the POTENTIAL good despite the INEVITABLE trouble could give me an insight into the problem of pain we agonise over so much?
I was raised on Catholicism. I’m talking the rosary and daily mass. I’m talking IRISH catholic.
So its ALL ABOUT THE PAIN.
But what are they on about??? how is pain ever possibly GOOD???
Now I’ve been through it 4 times, I understand the metaphor pretty clearly with childbirth. An obvious one. PAIN that leads to GOOD.
there’s sport. If I go for a run, (PAAAAIIIIIN!!!) I get rewarded with a natural high and satisfaction.
AND then there’s BI- POLAR. Extreme mental pain, which seems to have the capacity for leading to something very pleasurable and/or good, to the point that I am considering the pain could be an acceptable means to an end.
Many accept the idea of the Yin and Yang of life…. for some strange reason humans seem to seek perfection in one way or another (physical, emotional, work, life, creation)
My personal Bi- Polar ‘type’ (being self diagnosed and all!) experience does get me wondering…
perhaps there is a payoff somewhere for all this pain… even if we can’t see it. even if we don’t choose it. Even if it’s not in this life… Even if it’s not in this world.
Just a thought.