Tuesday, September 20, 2022

This Bipolar Writer

I don’t talk about it. Dealing with it takes all I’ve got on most days—the highs and lows. Never mind the stigmata. It’s been tough on my family—shit, it’s been tough on me.

So why talk about it at all? It might help others understand my writing—subject, style, and emotions. I cannot help what goes on in my noggin. And those who walk my road know the gist—whining gets you jack. I won’t even get into the trauma I’ve inflicted on myself over the years. That’s a bloody and terrible tale for another day.

My fiancĂ©e and I have some interesting discussions, to say the least: a poor black girl from the hood and a poor-to-middling white boy from the country. She hasn’t always known about my situation. Lately, we’ve talked more on the subject—the ebb and flow of moods and emotions. She doesn’t fully understand why shit’s not lined up in my brain. The luck of the draw, I tell her. But here’s the deal: she gets it—and that’s the difference.

What does that mean exactly? There's no coddling (not my scene, man), and she doesn’t give me the old “suck it up” routine (I don’t shirk a responsibility—never have). She gives me space when the melancholy hits. When the turn comes, and I’m riding the high, she’s right there with me. We rock steady.

The roughest aspect: my son. I beat myself up over him. The sheer confusion of his daddy’s shifting moods—how difficult must it be for a young child to deal with those valleys and mountains? He’s such a great kid—easily the single best thing that’s ever happened to me. And somehow, even with his youth, he gets it too. Never underestimate the beauty and intelligence of a child.

Perspective: People will treat you differently because you’re bipolar. People will leave you because you’re bipolar. People will say it’s a choice to act this way (in some cases, it can be—if you don’t take care of yourself or give up completely). But, if you’re lucky and have the stones to let people in, you might find a person or two to back your play. We’ll label it empathy—fuck sympathy.

I deal by putting it down on paper. Everything—balls deep. I have to write—what’s going down on the page is what’s going down inside. I don’t have a choice but to write. And I won’t stop.

I hope you won’t either.

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