Manic Depression

The words "manic depression" can send many of us
into what musicians call 3/4 time.
Once, it made
the world waltz - now it conjures a
Hendrix riff.

But before it was a hit, it was a clinical term describing
a state of mental health...or illness, depending
on your point of view.

These days, that condition is called bipolar disorder.

Bipolar disorder, according to Wikipedia,
is "a psychiatric diagnosis that describes a category
of mood disorders defined by the presence of one
or more episodes of abnormally elevated energy
levels, cognition, and mood with or without one
or more depressive episodes

The two poles aka the "bi" in "bipolar"
are mania and depression.

A survey of diagnosed people had this to say
about the most common symptoms of mania
and how often they experience them.

sound familiar?

For some of the doubly-polared,
mania can sometimes be like cocaine,
but better.

You can see further than anyone in the room.
Dots connect at the speed of light before your very eyes.
You are certain, well beyond a reasonable doubt,
that this new idea is the best one ever.
No, this one.
This one.

You walk with the gods, for a few days
or a week maybe, sometimes
even longer.

Music, sweet music
I wish I could caress, caress, caress

            Manic Depression - Jimi Hendrix

It's energizing.

and excessive.

But, like cocaine...
Sooner or later, you get all Al Pacino,
ballistic at the end of Scarface.

You crash.
You burn.

And when you look back on your latest apocalypse,
you've done things you don't want to remember,
but you can't forget. Neither can any of the witnesses,
who may include your nearest and dearest.

Or people who used to be, anyway...

Other times, it doesn't turn out so well.

The Yang to all this Yin is depression.

For every manic minute (and some don't get any),
there's an hour or a day or a week of depression.

On a bipolar planet, depression doesn't mean
feeling a little blue, or kinda down, or a low energy day.
It's not a rainy afternoon with a cup of tea,
listening to Neil Young.

The same survey looked at common symptoms
depression, and how often they occur.

As lists of symptoms go, it's not bad.
It can't really convey what it's like feeling three
or four or more of them at the same time, though.

It also leaves a few things off. Perhaps they're meant
to be included under "Negative thoughts".

Like a self-image that's somewhere so far down
a clogged toilet, you are certain well beyond
any reasonable doubt that you are the worst
waste of a good skin ever born.

Worthless beyond measure.

Nothing you've done adds up to a bowl
of hot spit and it never will.

Well, I think I'll go turn myself off,
       And go on down
        All the way down
        Really ain't no use in me hanging around
         In your kinda scene

                       Manic Depression - Jimi Hendrix

feeling like this most of your waking
hours for
a few days, or weeks, or months,
suicide ideation may come up.

It sucks.

Life with bipolar disorder is life at 11, but unfortunately, the percentages lean well towards the dark.

What it is.

If I could change one thing about being bipolar,
it would be normal people.

Nobody would say "I know how you feel" or "get over yourself" or
"we create our own reality" to me ever
again, or ask me how I'm doing unless they actually
wanted to know.
I'm not "snapping out" of anything anytime soon...
I take pills for that.


Music, sweet music
I wish I could caress, caress, caress
Manic depression is a frustrating mess

         Manic Depression - Jimi Hendrix

33 things not to say to a Head Case



  1. Spot on.I'm taking my epilim and going to bed.
    Nice to see you own a marshall too.

  2. EXACTLY!!! what an accurate description... I spent almost a year in a manic phase when I was 23 (im 29 now) and it was fucking unbelievable! BUT.... my life will never be the same again. After you have experienced what its like to live at 110% in every possible way, 50% or less just simply wont cut it... I use the movie "Limitless" when im trying to explain Mania to a non-bipolar. no I just get the occasional hypo-mania ( like a water down version of mania, VERY watered down ) in short bursts. Funny thing is, even though I know the soul destroying and absolute crippling nature of the inevitable down... I would STILL take another full blown Manic episode if I could. That is what life is all about, when your Manic the universe makes sense, you have all the answers, ANYTHING and ANYONE is yours should you choose so. You can quite literally conjure up and manifest into reality whatever it is you desire. You can taste music and hear colours... It is quite simply the drug of the GODS. J