It’s hard to know, sometimes, when the darkness that feels like it is closing in is, in reality, closing in. Feelings of anxiety and paranoia mixed with increased self-confidence and a feeling of invincibility co-mingle to give a yo-yo effect that threatens to destroy what may or may not be something meaningful or important. For someone who has never experienced nor known or been around anyone with bipolar disorder (and those of you who know me, whether you knew it or not, can take yourself off this particular list), it can be befuddling at best and, at worst, frightening. A person with bipolar disorder can function just as well as anyone else as long as the neurons, protons, croutons and other “ons” in their brain are going about their business as usual… but it only takes one thing, usually something the person couldn’t name as a trigger if a gun was held to their head (no pun intended). But there won’t be any of the people in the life a bipolarist who won’t see that something was off. Usually they will talk around the dinner table to their family or perhaps discuss the situation with friends… the one person they do not talk with is the person they perceive is having a problem. I have to ask this… if someone were witnessing a brutal beating of another human being, would they call the police or try to stop it in some way, or call their friends or gather with their family and discuss that something is wrong. I guess I sound like i’m ranting, and i am. I’m pretty upset at this point that all the world around me noticed that “something was up” and that I wasn’t acting myself, but chose to yuk it up with each other and discuss how different and how “not like myself” i’ve been acting. No doubt, this entry will step on some toes and most likely hurt some feelings. Sorry ’bout that. After a problem has been identified, people say “i knew something was off”. So what were they waiting for…? a ribbon. These folks say repeatedly that they are my friends and are always there for me, no matter what… it is, i guess, sometimes exciting on some primitive level, to be included by proxy, in a critical situation… but what about the everyday? The little things that don’t add up but happen with increasing frequency like snapping at people, hatefulness, dressing in clothes that look slept in, unusual eating habits, distractability, just to name a few… these need to be addressed quickly as this is especially important for the sufferer/offender, who rarely, if ever, knows this stuff they think they are “dealing with” is noticeable to the world that lives outside their brain. When there is a known history, it becomes even more important to bring the reality of a possible crisis to light. People suffering from functional bipolarism (my own made up term) are just like anyone else. For the most part, their behavior is normal on every level, and during those exceptions when their behavior deviates from the norm, it is the people who are closest to them… who know them best who should be the first to say hmmm… this ain’t right… Satan has made me his current pasttime and, for his own jollies, is enjoying seeing me squirm. But be that as it may, he cannot break me, for the king of my heart and soul is my savior and the song that God sings over me is beautiful. If the devil thinks this is going unnoticed, he’s a bigger idiot than i gave him credit for. God sees what that little pissant is up to and GOD will sustain me. I didn’t recognize the signs. Well, actually, that is a falsehood. I did recognize the signs of feeling depressed, but the feelings came around the holidays and during an exceptionally bleak winter. I attributed it to the lack of sunshine, the stress of the holidays and wild work days… to the devastation of losing my Jim, tay leaving for college, new challenges in my life. All reasonable, analytical and fair assumptions and things people with normal brains experience just as I do. What I didn’t see, and what “normal” brains rarely experience on any level that is noticeable, was the change in my behavior. But many people did, yet they chose to keep that little bit of information to themselves. Had Jim been alive, he would not only have noticed, but would have made comments on it… comments, i might add, that would have driven me to the point of distraction and i would have made an appointment with my doctor just to get him off my back. I freely admit that I am outspoken… a trait that took me many years to attain, and one that I have no intention of giving up… but i’m not mean about it. I often do things at the last moment, but that is no different than any other time in my life… I am an optimist… sometimes to the point where friends and family want to shove a sock in my mouth… but i don’t, on a “normal” day think i can fly… but when my behavior changes enough to be noticed by my dad, a man who would sit with the walls falling in on his head and not know it, then there is obviously a problem and it must be dealt with immediately. I don’t deny that I am currently in a crisis brought on by my disorder nor do i deny that i have no idea what caused it. Looking back over the past year, it is likely that jim’s death was the catalyst, but, as any bonified bipolarist will tell you, we are masters of concealment, even when we don’t know we are concealing… i don’t deny that adjustments needed to be made… i don’t deny that, now that someone has made comments on the rapidly changing moods and isolation ( my mom, who knows me better than anyone, said something first and made me evaluate my current state – i called the doctor the very next day), i was able, then, to see the warning signs and recognize the change in my behavopr… the warning signs were screaming at the top of their lungs… they were screaming “oh my stars, girl, you are losing it”. I had a friend, more like a sister, really, tell me today that they felt like i hated them. If that isn’t a flag, i don’t know what is. She told me she wanted to congratulate me on my accomplishments but felt that i had been congratulating myself quite enough. A braggart? I don’t now, nor have i ever considered myself to be a braggart… the things i accomplish have nothing to do with me but with my God who empowers and blesses me…. that should have raised another flag. Bipolar disorder really is a neighborhood disease because let me tell you this… during a manic icandoanythingandthereisnothingtostandinmyway phase, i am in the most danger to myself… not because i think of suicide, but because there is no speed too fast,no crag to rocky, no risk to high…. because, well, because i can do anything and it will have no effect on me. I look around at what i know, while i am drunk and sick from the new meds, and realize that i’m not sure i have friends, but instead, people who think they know me. People who know me would see things that are out of kilter for me, then talk about it to their friends and family… I know who i can trust… I know who i could, at one time, trust, and I know who I can’t trust… sound paranoid…? it may be. But i’m disappointed in my friends and frankly i don’t mind telling them so. The doctor seems to think that meds that would kill a team of clydesdales are the answer, and for now, just to ensure that my brain is able to defend itself from the tentacles of satan, i will take them… but i know in my heart of hearts that what i really need is a boatride on a hot summer day… To hear a song of praise to my Father which speaks directly to my heart, click on the title link. It will take you to a youtube video. I don’t love any of you any less… know that for sure, but trust is not something i give out lightly and right now, i could count the people i trust on three fingers. Don’t let your feelings get hurt when I don’t blubber my undying gratitude to you just because you “knew something was going on”. Life is life… regardless of who’s living it.