It's All About Me

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Nashville, TN, United States
Primordial hardcore PC gamer, Love the FPS genre in video games such as Medal Of Honor and Call Of Duty, Artist, Musician(drummer & guitar), photographer, aquarist, non-sweater of the small stuff and lover of life! There are always weeds between the with it!


Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Artist's Curse

As I've posted before, Moonbaby has lived her entire life diagnosed with a mental disorder called "Bipolar II". The word "bipolar" itself has had a stigma attached to it like something taboo. Most people, including myself, who were not educated or familiar with this disorder would automatically draw a conclusion that anyone who may suffer or be associated with this disorder are unstable, crazy or a lunatic. That is far from the truth.

When Moonbaby and I first starting dating five years ago, she had since the start, informed me of her disorder and asked me several times if I was absolutely sure I wanted to pursue our relationship any further, with full disclosure and going into this with my eyes wide open, what would be involved in having a relationship with someone who suffers from this disorder. I agreed, I was in it for the long haul...the heart wants, what the heart wants!

She had given me several books about he subject of Bipolar and I soon realized that much of the manic chaos or depressive episodes that were triggered, came from the stimulus of the environment around them.  Even though, the disorder itself was caused by chemical imbalances in the brain, the daily drama and stress of those closest to them may spark a bout of depression or manic behavior.

So I set out to create a stable and solid surrounding in our relationship. I had never been one to bring drama or stress into any aspect of my life anyway, so the effort involved was minimal. With patience, understanding, love and commitment, her episodes have been fewer and far between over the last few years. Along with her proactive approach to her medication, diet and constant vigilance of her mood swings. The last three years have been the happiest in both our lives. 

I was finally able to talk my Moobaby into letting me post some of her writing. I've almost convinced her to submit some of her poetry to a publisher or at the very least to start blog.
I'm not a literary critic by no means but I believe I know good writing when I read it. I've been privileged to be allowed to share most of her writing and can see a true talent in her ability to express her feelings and her observations about life and the world around her.

The following is an example of her writing:

I have had this illness for so long. Way back before I was diagnosed and had to accept a label the explained so many heretofore agonizing "senseless" behaviors that could make me the life of the party or make me the desperate holding on for dear life wounded human being, either one, I put people through Hell.
It has impact upon my life all the time, I am either crashing after being hypomanic ,desperately depressed or headed into hypomanic and once there surviving the chaos and whirlwind of feeling absolutely grand. What a strange life it has been to be Bipolar II.
I think I always had the illness, from childhood onwards. Like some many traits, one must have the genetics present and the environment which triggers the illness into existence. And I had both, I don't believe "childhood" should be used as an excuse for what does and doesn't happen in one's adulthood but I do believe childhood has a profound effect on the rest of our lives. For many of us, childhood was scarring and memories are painfully burdensome.
Some of us learn to lay the burden down early, others carry it around like a suitcase filled with heavy bricks, dragging the suitcase around wherever they go. I carried mine around for more time than I care to admit but have learned to lay it down and walk away from it. I still find the suitcase pop up in my path and occasionally I bump right into it but at least I realize that is what I am doing, I can back up and go another way.

Like many who suffer from the illness, I have a family tree that is dotted with suffers. Again, genetics. My mother was Bipolar I and though undiagnosed, my grandmother surely had the tllness as well as her father. I believe my sister also suffers but isn't ready to see it in herself. It's not an easy thing to accept.
So the trait was present in me and all I needed was an environment to spark it alive. I lived a chaotic and drama filled childhood. The one stable thing that I had was the knowledge that bad things happen and usually everyday.
My parents provided a home, clothes, enough to eat. But they also provided a backdrop of constant arguing and at times physical abuse.
I became depressed at an early age, before 10 at least. In those days not much was understood about depression in general and even less was known about depression in a child or teenager. I was treated with a mild tranquillizer that didn't help the depression at all but made it tolerable to be around me. I spent a great deal of time alone away from family, hiding out writing in journals and day dreaming of being in a different life.

The teen years has enough fluctuation in mood due to hormonal changes. Throw in being bipolar and life's natural ups and downs become extreme. It's difficult to diagnose bipolar in adults and even more difficult to diagnose it in teens and children. I know I lived my life in extremes, either wildly happy or horribly down. When happy I was was outgoing and optimistic. I had many friends and did well in school. I look back and see the times I was hypomanic, being social and excelling in school was easier for me than most. It was almost as if I thought faster and hence was more witty and outgoing. This was true even though we moved around quite a bit and for most teens fitting in takes some work and discomfort.
When I was hypomanic, I would be the kid everyone wanted to know and be friends with because I could make people laugh, I could see the magic in everything and everyone around me and could help others see it too.
When you're hypomanic, everyone loves you and you love everyone and just being in the moment is so grand. It's a most beautiful way to feel. Until it outgrows the limits of acceptability. Too much of anything can be overwhelming at times. Being around someone who is always "on" is exhausting for those without the illness.
I think one can shine so bright that everyone is blinded to anything and anyone else. But even now I look back fondly on the parts of my teenage years when I was hypomanic, some of the best times of my life.

But inevitably the crash would come out of nowhere. I think the body and mind just cannot keep up a pace like that indefinitely and you just wind down.
Unfortunately, you wind down, down, down until even breathing is burdensome.
Depression is easy to spot when it's in contrast to the social butterfly. It's easy to see the difference from someone high on life and one that can barely tolerate life. Even the body becomes heavy to move and difficult to spear on to do anything at all.
Withdrawal from everyone is abrupt and with out rhyme or reason. Tears are easily shed over nothing identifiable and I would write. Writing became my dearest and trusted companion when depressed. Writing was my escape!


It is a fact that some of this world's great artists, writers and musicians have suffered from some form of mental illness.
To create something out of an ordinary vision or thought such as a extraordinary sculpture or a astonishing painting, to write a poem or play that pulls at your heart or compose a piece of music that is so spectacular that you feel it to your very soul and you begin to cry without knowing why.....
These things come from the minds people who see and fell something in life that very few can conceive of.

They experience life in a way that others cannot comprehend, their expressions are created in the forms of their choosing.

For some throughout history, those offerings of art and beauty come at a terrible price....their very sanity!

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