Monthly Archives: October 2009

Being Bipolar

Having just read a post on a kinky social site where the apparent increase in diagnosis of bipolar and depression was blamed by the OP on idleness, something which was agreed to by a number of respondents, while those that disagreed generally blamed it on doctors’ willingness to prescribe drugs for the slightest bit of sadness.  I felt I should write a post on what it’s actually like to be bipolar.

One of the fundamental things about having a mood disorder is its unpredictability.   Unlike emotions, we don’t control our moods, we are always already in a mood from the moment we wake up until the moment we fall asleep.  Not that one can’t do things that may affect mood in a positive way, but there’s no guarantee any of those things will work on a given day.

A bad depression is not simply a more severe case of “the blues”, it has nothing in common with that kind of emotional state.  During a real depression one is unable to feel anything at all, one is completely numb. Will is one of the first things to go, a little later desire disappears as well.  Someone in the pit of a clinical or bipolar depression is not only unable to will themselves to get better, they’re unable to desire to will themselves to get better.

Attacking a biologically based illness (no major illness is more hereditary than bipolar disorder)  either on a moral stance or a stance of blaming society is simply misplacing the blame for the situation.  Since the beginning of the so-called “age of reason” society has been unable to competently deal with madness.  But madness itself remains.

Back to the unpredictability of moods – imagine not knowing how you will feel from moment to moment, whether your emotional responses will be appropriate or inappropriately modified by a messed up mood, and, which is probably worse, always wondering if a slightly down feeling is the harbinger of a major depression, or a slight elation the beginning of a psychotic mania.  Mood displays the state of one’s being more directly than anything else, which is why the phrase “how are you?” if meant sincerely, refers to the questionee’s mood.  Not knowing how one is going to be from one day to the next, with all its implications on one’s capabilities as well as one’s feelings, can be a terrifying and uncanny way to live.  It is also an extermely mentally strenuous and painful way to live.  Being accused of idleness by someone who has no capacity for these kinds of experiences is an insult born out of  willful ignorance – the information is out there if these fucktards can be bothered to read something before they spout nonsense.

Damyata (control) from The Waste Land

“D A
Damyata: The boat responded
Gaily, to the hand expert with sail and oar
The sea was calm, your heart would have respond Gaily, when invited, beating obedient
To controlling hands”

Thomas Stearns Eliot, from The Waste Land