TRIUMPH OF SPIRIT IN LOVE, NATURE & ART

Posts tagged “Depression and Mania

Tempus Fugit

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Poof!

After awaiting September all summer, the month of the Autumnal Equinox came and is almost gone.  I try desperately to stop time, clinging to each day, to no avail.  These next few months, my favorite time of year, go by in a flash, like sand sifting through my fingers.  Poof!  In a flash the trees turn beauteous, with variegated flames of color.  Poof!  The leaves are gone.

First, there is the change in light.  The sun, still hot in mid-September, does not pack the punch it did in July, when one could be outdoors for an hour and come in with a change in skin color. Temperatures cool.  The grass starts to stop growing.  The “blood” of the trees starts to flow back into the trunk, causing leaves to change color. Walnuts, acorns and apples fall.   Butterflies, so rampant outdoors in August, have gone inside the stomach of many a child as they go back to school. Even adults are not immune.  Many feel the flutter of “back-to-school” anxiety come Fall.  Summer vacations are a memory and it is time to “honker down” at work.  Fall offers a new beginning but there is a tinge of anxiety in facing some thing new.

And most of all, Fall is a time of riotous color, when a walk in the woods finds one reveling like a drunk, besotted by the yellow, orange, crimson, russet world which our eyes imbibe like a hefty cocktail.  It is a time when Italian comes to the lips in a loud “Que bella!!”  The green of summer is bucolic and raises the spirit, but the many colors of fall intoxicate.  People start talking of peak color, and leafing becomes the pastime of many.  It is the time to plant bulbs and endlessly rake blowing leaves.

But Fall is a time of melancholia, too. Flowers die.  Reptiles go into hibernation.  Insects die or overwinter.  Songbirds migrate.  Trees eventually loose their leaves.  And the end of the lazy days of summer brings with it shorter days, longer nights, and concomitant depression for those with Seasonal Affective Disorder.  Moments of sobriety seep into intoxication with the new world of color as we may remember loved ones who can no longer share the beauty–who can no longer enjoy those coveted, cooler, crisp days of September when coolness kisses the cheeks.  For autumn is a celebration of endings, too, perhaps best described by the French poet, Guillaume Appollinaire, in his poem Autumn:

“A bowlegged peasant and his ox receding

through the mist slowly through the mist of autumn…

Oh the autumn the autumn has been the death of summer

In the mist there are two gray shapes receding.”

(Click http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/ellen-stockdale-wolfe.html  for information on, and to purchase my Bipolar/Asperger’s memoir.


The Web of Fears

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Caught in a web of fears

full of wet tangled tears

been this way for years

of course there are triggers

that make fears look bigger

but it is hard to figure

a way out of negativity

a way back to levity

and to my old productivity

it is hard enough to fight

the dramas of mind with my might

without succumbing to fright

about losing you

tis true

fighting at once the physical and the mental

is far too much for a mind balanced so gentle.


Springtime Blues no.3

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I am tres desolee

today

spring blossoms

morph to snow

when drained of color

against a grey sky

as I morph to lows

after a false high


Swarms

265

The attack

not killer bees

nor locusts

nor hornets

nor any insect

but the contents

of the mind

 

Tied up in knots

not safe

not secure

not strong

not peace

 

Sick with

the plague of fears

negative thoughts

insidious

invidious

poison

killing  joys

bringing tears

of pain

and loss

and grief

 

The swarms cloud the sun

taking away the Light

and all it enraptures

attacking

the very source

of life

Love


Darkness Falls

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Darkness falls

shoving my precious blues and violets

down the black hole of depression.

I no longer remember

how to smile

or create

or spar.

I wish to disappear

into the darkness

until the light returns.


Descent of Night

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8×12 Watercolor for sale

The descent into darkness

after the blinding bliss of mania

is as inevitable as the fall of night

after the blissful bright of day.


“Never, Never”

“It won’t happen again.  Never. Never. Never.  It’ll never happen again.  No. No. No.”

 The words to a song by Yusuf, better known as Cat Stevens, about a love affair gone awry.  The words reverberate in my head repeatedly in true Bipolar style, as in true Aspie style, I listen to the song over and over and over and over again.  My perseveration on the song fashions the words into a mantra, sending me full throttle into another state of consciousness, like the whirling dervishes of Istanbul who spin until they enter a mystical state.  Since I no longer alter my consciousness with alcohol, cigarettes or recreational drugs (was too crazy to go that route), and since I am on anti-psychotic medications which keep me in reality, I have to use music, meditate and  take refuge in nature to venture into my much-missed mystical states of being.  The states today are washed out versions of the vibrant intensity I was accustomed to earlier in my life.  But then, at age 28, my mind, never too strong to begin with, broke down and reality shattered into so many smithereens of glass.  “It’s always a trade-off,” the experts say.  But (and a “but” with a capital “B”) the psych meds hold me together and, most importantly of all, they allow me to love.

“It will never happen again.  No. No. No.”

I can’t say that.  My first major manic episode was ignited by a flaming crush at work that catapulted me into the fractionated world of psychosis for a very long time.  Some thirty years later I am unsure just how far away that world is.  It is not unusual for love to trigger the first manic episode in Bipolars, and I had another when I met the man who was to become my husband.  This time the psychosis lost the war– because the love was reciprocated and nurturing– the most stable thing I had ever experienced.  And (big “and”) because I was medicated. Though it felt like another break with reality was encroaching on my psyche, it never materialized and has not since.

But there have been close calls now and then.  Writing my memoir of madness while working part-time, I would go to my job with all the raw feelings I was writing about whirling around inside me and, seemingly, outside me as well, as though stamped on my forehead.  The memories and flashbacks bubbled up from deep inside like a lava flow of feelings. But no breakdown.

Mania is not the only state that flirts with psychosis.  So, too, does the underbelly of the beast, depression.  Loss of loved ones and caring for my dying mother brought me perilously close to the precipice again but extra medication kept me on the sane side of psychosis.

Even now any highly emotional experience (and being bipolar there are many) can shake the foundations of the self.   Beholding great beauty in ecstatic encounters with nature, profound connections between thoughts and ideas, connecting deeply to another person—all these can send me reeling into space wondering if I can make it back to earth.  These are all dangers I engage in somewhat recklessly for they make up the majestic magic and mystery of life. Friends and family I have helped keep my feet on the ground, but my husband is my real anchor to reality.  Should something happen to Tom, well…

No.  Unlike a dead love affair, I can’t say the descent into madness “will never happen again.”  As I drift in and out of tantalizing trips into mania and try to flee the inevitable free fall into depression, I hang on for dear life and will not let go.

Enjoy the song sung soulfully by Cat Stevens, “MaybeYou’re Right…”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUnxkW4zeM4&feature=youtube_gdata_player

(Click http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/ellen-stockdale-wolfe.html  for information on, and to purchase my Bipolar/Asperger’s memoir.)


Bipolar Opposites

I see the fire in you

igniting your thoughts,

flickering and flaming

all of the time,

filling you with images

that you paint into words.

Your eyes are strong,

 you can stare at the light

and be filled with the fire

without getting blinded.

The fire for me,

if I look too long,

leaves me on my knees,

groping in darkness,

until like a fog, lifting,

 I can see again.

(Click http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/ellen-stockdale-wolfe.html  for information on, and to purchase my Bipolar/Asperger’s memoir.)