Bipolar Rocks!

Are there any good things about being bipolar?


When this question was asked in a group i'm part of online the other day, i got a little excited. Excited enough that
after trying two or three times to respond, i got frustrated
and gave up.

It bugged me. Why couldn't i spit it out? After sleeping
on it, and walking the dog on it, i think my problem
in conjuring a response comes down to this:

How would I know?


"We are not sure who discovered water,
but we are reasonably certain it wasn't fish.
Marshall McLuhan

It's been the better part of forty years since i heard him say this, but the words have been rattling around my head ever since, and never louder than lately.

Like a lot of my tribe, when i was diagnosed with bipolar disorder some years ago, the first thing i felt was relief.
Relief that i wasn't just a stupid useless waste of a good skin.

there were factors above and beyond my control at play here. now, i was a mental stupid useless waste of a good skin.

it wasn't all my fault.

i was born lucky. my mother was a nurse. my aunt was a nurse. all their friends were nurses. as i moved from blobbo to being, i grew up with a pretty good grounding in life, death and many of the unpleasant afflictions and accidents that can seriously fuck your plans on the road of life... like car crashes, concussions, and cancer.

and, as it turns out, bipolar disorder.


As a tribe, the dually polared tend to be highly literate
about their disorder and this literacy extends well into pharmacology. Most BPs are offered a variety of mind-altering drugs in a kinds of combinations before finding a combination that seems to make one feel normal enough to hang in there.

Some opt out of la vida medicado for personal, political reasons. Some can't afford to keep getting them. But on
them or off them, everybody is living in altered state.


Whether they've been diagnosed
as bipolar or not.

Are there any good things about being bipolar?

I've been learning about what "bipolar" can mean for about seven years. Some of my best friends are bipolar, and we've talked about it in the way that friends do.

Is being interested in how your mind works a good thing?
Is speaking openly and passionately about how life feels a good thing?

What i learn leads me to looking at my actions and reactions, past and present, in new ways. Is that a good thing?

The more i learn, the less some things hurt. The more i understand, the more i laugh about what used to make me cry. The more i forgive myself for being such a stupid useless waste of a good skin, the more slack i cut myself and everyone around me. 

Is that a good thing?

Time will tell, but in the meantime, i can tell you my life doesn't suck nearly as much as it used to, and that's
a good thing.


This is all news to me, by the way.

Up til i started writing this, i had a few pat answers
about the benefits of being bipolar.

   if anyone was to ask me "what's your superpower?", i would say "connecting dots". i used to
say "i can make shit up", but some normal people have adverse reactions to that so i changed it.

i see connections between things - sometimes because i know stuff, sometimes but more often intuitively. When
i learned about the interesting links between bipolarity
and creativity, i wasn't  surprised.

i haven't had a straight job since the early 80s. since then, i've just been making shit up, and getting away with it.
how good is that?

  one of the ways i've dealt with the pain in my
own life has been to make other people's pain more important. i'd suck shit up, i'd go miles out of my way
to be sure that i would never knowingly inflict the kind of pain on others that people had caused me.

it goes on. i'm sure you get the picture, but does it answer
the question...

Are there any good things about being bipolar?

How would i know?

How would i know?

There is no line dividing the "disorder" from the real "me".
i can't sort what i say or do or think into such tidy columns, attributing what i like to "me" and what i don't like to "the disorder".

Bipolar disorder is not something  separate from "me". It's not a wart, or a tumour or a hangnail, something that could be removed.
There is no normal "me" being held captive somewhere in my brain.

It's in the way my neurons go off and on. It's hard-wired
into every thought and perception. It's in my DNA.

And since there is no cure, the day will never dawn
when i emerge from my spiritual chrysalis into
the mythic light of some better day, where i am "bipolar-free".

"Me" is how i was raised, and schooled.  "Me" is what i ingest, from toast and cheese to a cup of coffee, a glass of wine to prescribed medications. "Me" is blood sugar, brain chemistry and my best intentions...

"Me" is the memories of what i've done, what i'm doing
and what i want to do next.

"Me" is a lot of stuff, including, as
it turns out, bipolar disorder.

It isn't sad, or awful or unfair.

The way i am is
just the way it is...

... which reminds me of something else
i once heard somebody say...

Now, my co-mates and brothers in exile,
Hath not old custom made this life more sweet
Than that of painted pomp? Are not these woods
More free from peril than the envious court?

Here feel we not the penalty of Adam,
The seasons’ difference, as the icy fang
And churlish chiding of the winter’s wind,
Which when it bites and blows upon my body
Even till I shrink with cold, I smile, and say
’This is no flattery. These are counsellors
That feelingly persuade me what I am.’

Sweet are the uses of adversity
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head;
And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything.

i wrote this out on my wall
of my apartment once,
so i would see it every day.

how crazy is that?


i don't know if it rocks or not. on a good day, i know how i respond to the world around me - how both the beauty and the horror have an effect on me that seems to be much more visceral than the uni-polared people in my

i know that i can perceive connections between things that seem to elude my 'normal' friends until i explain it to them... at which point they generally go "oh, yeah...".

i know that i notice things around me that seem to be invisible to them as well, from the infamous squirrel (or woodpecker, or old car, or signs on the street) to the buzzing sound that the ballasts in flourescent lights make.

i know that they are able to tune out things that actually do make me crazy, like the ticking of a cheap clock in the room, or the muzak in the mall.

one of the things that freaks me out in large cities, in fact, are the sirens of emergency vehicles- the volume and frequencies cut into my skull even when i'm wearing headphones. i have to stop walking and cover my ears til the vehicles go away, but when i look around, i'm the only one it seems to bother...

and so on...

is any of this about bipolar disorder? does any of this mean anything, let alone that bipolarity gives one useful tools not available to the less

some days i think it does. other days, i don't even want to be alive, let alone thinking about this shit.

in the end, like Van Morrison used to sing...

"it ain't why, why, why...
it just is."


Intelligence Linked to Bipolar Disorder

Intelligence Linked to Bipolar Disorder

“It is plausible to assume that subjects having the ability to rapidly process information may share the same neurobiological characteristics as subjects who develop mania, a state characterized by high alertness and psychomotor activity. It is tempting to speculate that good arithmetic or psychomotor performance may have contributed in human evolution to the persistence of bipolar disorder, which is strongly genetically transmitted and associated with a high mortality rate.”

... a very interesting article about
some recent research in Sweden.


How are you?

it's just one of those social conventions.

someone says "how are you?", and you are supposed to say "fine". or more better, you say "fine, how are you?"

then they say "fine" and then, since everything's fine, the conversation moves on. or not. whatever. no biggie. except for me these days, it kind of is. a biggie, i mean.

i'm not sure if it's a bipolar thing or just some other way that i am fucked up that makes such a simple thing so hard for me. i bring bipolar into it because one of the ways this disorder has an impact on my life is that i am always checking in with myself.

how am i doing? how am i? is my blood sugar OK? am i responding appropriately to stimuli or am i over-reacting? am i sleeping too much? is anyone noticing? when did i last take my meds?

how am  i responding to the distinct possibility i'm never going to work again? how am i doing with the idea i'm never going to make any kind of contribution to the world again?

how's that loneliness thing doing? still OK with the fact that i'm probably not going to talk to - let alone see - anybody besides my mom and her dog again this week?

how am i? how would i know? even with all this checking in and monitoring myself and the meds and everything else, how would i know whether or not i'm "fine"? and even if i thought i was, the odds are someone else would not concur with my diagnosis.

the odds are if i thought i was "fine", anybody else would think i was heading into a manic episode.

how am i? i'm a lot of things, but "fine" isn't one of them. "fine" is something 'normal' people are, i guess. i don't even know what it means...

and the fact that i can't even respond appropriately to such an innocent social cue is all the proof anybody needs, including me.

Crazy about books

"So many books, so little time."
— Frank Zappa

the first flakes have fallen in our little town. the tourists have all gone south with the birds and the last windy day peeled the last of the leaves off the trees.

winter's coming, and the word is the lakes got pretty warm this summer, which usually means lots of snow... and up here "lots" means exactly that - ie - there will be days when you aren't going anywhere until there's been some plowing and sanding done.

"A room without books is like a body without a soul."
       — Cicero

there are a series of rites and rituals in preparing for winter - getting the snow tires on, buying some kind if new age salt-like product for the walk, church rummage sales, digging out the serious boots and gloves and for me, buying a box
or two of books.

there's a ReStore near here where a twenty can get you
an armful, but it's those rummage sales where one can truly score. if you have the right sources, you can learn where the right ones are to get your print fix and since my mother is a church lady, i now know.

"When we read a story, we inhabit it. The covers of the book are like a roof and four walls. What is to happen next will take place within the four walls of the story. And this is possible because the story's voice makes everything its own."
       — John Berger

there are two things in this world that i literally could not live without - music and books. i love the sweet white shut-down that winter brings here. i love the sound and the smell and the site of it, but if i was forced to confront it bookless,
i would go all the way off the deep end.

fortunately, that's not going to happen...

"My alma mater was books, a good library.... I could spend the rest of my life reading, just satisfying my curiosity."
       — Malcolm X

"I have always imagined that Paradise
will be some kind of library."

       — Jorge Luis Borges

"Books are the perfect entertainment:
no commercials, no batteries, hours of enjoyment for each dollar spent. What I wonder is why everybody doesn't carry a book around for those inevitable dead spots in life."

       — Stephen King

"If you go home with somebody, and they
don't have books, don't fuck 'em!"

— John Waters


Can I get an Amen?

"I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle.

But if you can't handle me
at my worst, then you sure
as hell don't deserve me
at my best."

    — Marilyn Monroe

Cyclothymic Disorder and Bipolar Disorder

...just came across a very interesting article about these two...

Cyclothymic disorder and bipolar disorder are both psychological conditions.
Do they go together? Cyclothymic is a precursor of things to come? Is the transition to full-blown bipolar disorder?

read all about it right here!


Cinematic bipolar disorder ?

Charming... a review of Adam Sandler's latest movie in USA Today appropriates the term "bipolar" to describe Mr. Sandler's somewhat checkered career as a developer of humorous content...

Adam Sandler falls down in 'Jack and Jill'

It's a valid question. Sandler seems to suffer from cinematic bipolar disorder: In films in which he simply stars, such as Paul Thomas Anderson's masterful Punch-Drunk Love, Sandler shows surprising depth as an actor.

Who's lazier - the lame-ass writer or their editor? If a medical analogy was required, I would have left the brain out if it altogether and re-situated the discourse elsewhere in the body, as in "Sandler ls about as funny as a case of hemorrhoids".


some days...

some days are perfect...
not because they are especially different
from any other day but because
they are the days when we happen
to notice.


How depressed? for how long?

I knew that the manic was way less than the depression,
but I never thought of it in quite this way...


Mental Health in Kashmir

In another recent study it was estimated that 86% of the total costs of bi-polar disorder (£2 billion in total) were attributable to lost productivity.  In the United States costs of lost productivity attributable to mental illness were estimated to be $76 billion in 1990. Those with mental health disorders may drift into poverty and are at greater risk of becoming homeless....

...Kashmir lost calm long back. One of the nightmares we are living with is that our children are at increased risk of developing a substance related problems. When there was Opioids boom in whole subcontinent we were aloof as society except for few aberrations in tourist related areas and socially accepted charas takias. We had beliefs and values which would guard us against Opioids epidemic...

read the rest of this editorial on
World Mental Health Day in Kashmir here.


Depression demotivators


the misuse of mental health terms

OCD, bipolar, schizophrenic
& the misuse of mental health terms

A 2007 study of the terms "schizophrenia" and "schizophrenic" in the UK national press found that 11%
of references were metaphorical, with broadsheet papers more likely to deploy such phrasing than tabloids.
By contrast, cancer was only used in this manner in 0.02% of cases.

read the rest over here at the Beeb


Words to live by...

"Before you diagnose yourself
with depression or low self esteem,
first make sure that you are not,
in fact, just surrounded
by assholes."

        ~William Gibson


speaking of Lobotomies...

Mentally Handicapped Danes
Lobotomized Until 1983

Between 1947 and 1983, around 4,500 patients -- some as young as six years old -- underwent the operation.

Mentally handicapped patients were routinely lobotomized by their doctors in Denmark between 1947 and 1983.

the true story is here...


Lithium... more Lithium

dugg Lithium demotivator

one can just never say too much
about lithium, can one?


the Side Effects continue....

if i seem unusually focused on Side Effects these days,
this may help explain why.
here are the side effects from one of my meds...

there's the common ones...

and then there's the serious ones...

now, wake up every morning - or afternoon, as the case may be - and start working out what "reality" might be today....



Men, women and depression

an interesting, if somewhat troubling infographic
on the different ways men and women deal
with depression these days...

looking for more useful information like this?
- check out
which is where  i found this great infographic!


Continuing Side Effects

Hey, it's the Bipolar Bear!

A brief summary of what may
a minority opinion
on the Bipolar Bear.

If you are fond of it,
you may not

care to know...

and the beat goes on....

for more about the bipolar bear and i,

and then there's
the bipolar bear and i, part 2, too.


the Side Effects

... was it a Parliaments album
or a Funkadelic album
where George Clinton says
"the side effects are what you get!" ?


You know you're depressed when... Stumble on to one of those Tumblery/Pin-up sites
and flipping through
those sweet, loving, achey-breakey
cliches bugs you.

it bugs you so much you turn cheap and childish and mean,
like you usually are to yourself.


Mea maxima culpa.