She walks into my bipolar support meeting, with a big smile and perfect white teeth. She’s all apologetic- she’s a few minutes late and the group had just finished the check in. The leader hands her the checklist, she smiles, and in a manic burst of energy, checks in and joins the group.
Since she is seated next to me, I cannot look at her. I had a brief look at her when she came in, young, maybe 22 but under 25. Long brown hair tied in an immaculate ponytail, jeans, and a brown suede jacket. Manic – to the point that she is dancing on tables. And smelling like she just took a bath in Jack Daniels and beer. The smell makes me want to gag, so I turn my head and stare at my friend sitting on my other side instead.
I don’t say anything the rest of the meeting, nothing of consequence. A few desultory words. I drive home in silence playin with the radio tuner, and when arriving home, play with my cat, change and crawl into bed with my ipod, which has been recharging all day long while I have been away.
I feel like I have been cut open with my viscera exposed. I want to cry but my tear ducts are dry.
I realize I feel the way I do because of the girl. Everything she said, every idea she had, her suicide attempt- it was me at that age.
It was like going back in a time machine and seeing my younger self.
I was so embarrassed. No wonder why I wanted to hide.
Now, there was really nothing sinister in this girl. She smelt like alcohol- there was a time I had the same smell on me, on my clothes. I had a sponsor in AA who told me she could always tell if ANYONE had a drink, the alcohol would come out in sweat via the pores and land on someone’s clothes.
If it were just this I wouldn’t have bothered. It was what she said.
I know a lot of people don’t like having this illness. I know people wish they didn’t have it. I think I am one of them. If I didn’t have the illness, so much more would have happened with my life. I could have been something. Really been something. My interactions with others would have been better and I would not have had the problems I had at school with my peers.
She railed against being bipolar, and cursed God for making her that., as well as cursing God for not allowing her to die with her suicide attempt. I related to her arguments, she knew her stuff and executed as professionally and swiftly as a Prosecutor on “Law and Order”.
And then she dropped her bombshell. At this point in her life, she had just gotten out of the hospital. The meds weren’t working because her drinking was offsetting any benefits they might provide. What did she have to look forward to? Constant meds, meds adjustments, appointments with a p-doc to monitor meds. Constant up and downs. Nothing in life is good, so I might as well drink, and besides that again, what do I have to look forward to? Fifty more years of this? Sheeze. Maybe I should check out of this life.
I’ve come to the conclusion that some of what we start off in life is given to us. Some isn’t. It is assumed we will come out of our mother’s womb with two arms, two legs, five fingers and five toes on each appendage. Some babies aren’t born that way. It is assumed we are born with hearts that work, lungs that work. That isn’t always the case. And it isn’t always the case that baby will be born with a perfectly good brain that will serve him/her for the rest of their life. Babies can be born with low IQ’s, Autistic, and babies can be born with the genes to make them bipolar, unipolar or schizophrenic.
Life isn’t always good, great. Can you imagine what your life would be like if everyday was a 10? It would be, as Kurt Vonnegut wrote about Tralfamadore “Everything is beautiful and nothing hurt”. What would you do when you had your first real bad day- say the day JFK died, or John Lennon. Oklahoma City, 9/11. Awful days. If every was beautiful how would you react?
I don’t know. Today I had a talk with my psychiatrist. I hadn’t seen him in a month, and since I saw him I had backslid terribly. For the first time in several yers, I am thinking thinking about how my parents and friends, and even my cat, would be happier if I wasn’t here.
He surprised me, and said, “You aren’t depressed. You just need a dream”.
I was taken aback. Driving home, the more I thought about it, the more I realized he was correct. I needed a dream. It was exactly as the Stones prophesied, “Loose your dreams and you will loose your mind”.
I don’t have a dream. I feel like they have all been torn out of me, ripped asunder. What few dreams I had= a college professor, a mother living in a white house and picket fence, those my illness has taken away from me.
I don’t have a dream. I don’t know how to find one.
I don’t want anything. Don’t get me wrong, If I am at the mall, and I see something lovely, a blouse, a jacket, I will want it. I see a luxury car like a Jag on the road and for five seconds I fantasize I am in it. I think this is normal.
I would love to eat like I was 17 and not put on any weight.
But dreams? I just don’t think I have any, anymore. Maybe I hope I can find them again.