The state of things, triggers and looking forward.

It is rather late in my development to begin tackling the issue of bipolarity.  It is symbiotic with my regular self and has helped mold and shape my personality, opinions, behaviours, habits and pretty much everything that makes me who I am.  How does one excise a core feature of themselves?  Should you succeed, what do you become?  What are you left with?  It seems like a cliche, but in the movies a manic character might complain that they don’t like who they become on medication, that they miss their “highs”.  This is one aspect of bipolar that hollywood gets very right.  Hypomania can be pretty fucking awesome.  I mean, for a guy with an appearance somewhere on a sliding scale between Hugh Grant and Hugh Laurie I have done alright for myself by way of conquest.  This is not a brag.  Most of this I am not very proud of, you see it has come at the price of never having been able to build and maintain a lasting meaningful relationship.  Most mental health workers will tell you that a part of your recovery in conjunction with a course of meds (which can be ongoing and ever evolving) is to also learn to be who you really are without your illness.  To learn how to exist without relying on it.

Imagine for a moment that you were raised with three legs and four arms.  Oftentimes they got in the way, you were clumsier than other children having to learn to manage all those fine motor skills with extra limbs.  You were awkward and you stood out.  Then you grew and you learned, you developed and those extra limbs became helpful, getting you through difficult work and the like.  You were still different, you were a freak and you were alienated and ostracized.  So it was decided, now after you had fully learned to incorporate these limbs into your movements and life routine that you would have them removed.  So now, despite having the same number of limbs as anyone else you are an amputee and doing simple things seems really challenging.  You drop things for no reason and trip over small curbs where your other limbs would have done their bit.  Now imagine those limbs as a part of your personality.  Your very character, who you are, your views, opinions and desires.  It is an ugly operation.  A personectomy.

It takes a kind of physiotherapy for your mind and emotions (some might call this therapy, but what I meant by this sentence is a self-directed exercise).  I have yet to engage in this.  I am somewhere in that ambiguous area before that, waiting for meds to do their thing.  So I have started smashing on a keyboard with the hopes of organizing my thoughts on this matter, putting into perspective all of these events and changes in my life.  To self analyze, be fully self-aware.  Which is something that the bipolar are kind of known for, this usually accompanies a crash.  We start to dig at ourselves.  Nitpick aspects of ourselves that we dislike.  We can’t just put it down and walk away, we dwell and we mope.  We hyper-internalize all of the ugly in the world, we get angry at the fact that there are still blood diamonds and that diamonds literally have no monetary value.  So despite that at least many people have been enslaved and killed for each one, they are worth exactly nothing.  They do exactly nothing.  They are valueless and people died for them.  So some stupid, spoiled, piece of shit can flash it in her fat, bitch friends’ faces.  You hate them.  You hate the people who died.  You hate yourself for caring so much.  You hate everything about this situation and the fact that you even started to think about it.  The fact that you can’t get it out of your mind and all of this hatred and anger is intensifying your self-loathing even more.  Because all told, you are no better than these pieces of shit.  You are a spoiled sack of garbage who lives well while there is rampant slavery and inequity in the world.  A WASP male in a first world nation with a new car and a six hundred dollar Calvin Klein coat that was made by children in Indonesia.  This is hypomania with dysphoria.  You are depressed, you are angry at all of the inequity, stupidity and human failure in the world and it reflects right back on you as a member of their species contributing to a system that makes it all possible.  Needless to say dysphoria has a misanthropic, nihilistic bias.  Humanity is scum, you are human therefore scum.  Depressed scum, angry at the other scum.  It is a dark, cold place.  I call it the well.  Like Buffalo Bill’s pit in “Silence of the Lambs”.  You are alone, hopeless, desperate and angry at everything that put you here.
Some of my triggers:
-Anti-vaccination idiots.
-Stay at home mothers who gripe about their life.  Your job is to raise your children, act like you love the fucking things you evil witch, holy shit.
-Right-wingers/conservatives.  Especially the religious.
-Religion.  There are exceptions, but very few, in general believing in fantastical things written about by barbaric assholes who lived in shit huts over two thousands years ago just makes you stupid.
-People who own vehicles that are way bigger than they will ever need because: “I can afford the gas so why the heck not?!” Idiot.
-Rape culture.  Using “Boys will be boys” to excuse really shitty behaviour in young men at the cost of young women.
-Victim blaming.
-Slut shaming.
-Anti-prostitution puritanical zealots.
-Any chicken little, sky-is-falling, paranoid, anti-logical, anti-science bullshit that ricochettes around social media over a hundred times before someone researches it and goes: “Oh wait, it’s all malarky based on a misunderstanding of facts.”
Just to name a few.
Once upon a time I used to adore discourse on any one of these and any other given subject.  Over time I came to realize that the arguments for these things were all fallacious and repetitive.  I got sick of having to point out the same realities over and over.  I got tired, then eventually downright fed-up with hearing the same shitty excuses that amounted to going back to square one with cross-eyed morons who were regurgitating some hackneyed bullshit they heard on Fox news or from some CHUDD like Rush Limbaugh.  Further on down the timeline I got to the point where the moment I heard some smacktard use the word “socialism” like they even knew the fucking definition, I was gone.  Furious.  People are simplistic and stupid, myself included.  They have the right to be, even if it culminates in our extinction.  You know what though?  All for the better.  Nihilistic bias.  I am not well just yet.
So Jack has a Tyler Durden quality to him as well.  You already don’t like him.  I can tell.  You and anyone who has been exposed to him for longer than a week or two.  Not that he is ever around that long, that would be full-on mania, but he surfaces on average a half dozen times throughout a day.  I should stop referring to Jack as another person because he isn’t.  He is me having a fit.  I have a hard time admitting it though because I am fighting so hard to curb his behaviour.  I have been for a long time.  It is so much easier to give a name and a personality to better identify it.
It reminds me of the time that I quit smoking.  I still smoke, but the one successful attempt that I made was achieved while envisioning my habit as a sentient entity.  A parasite or demon that was taking up residence in my body.  It worked, for the first week I treated it as an enemy that I was fighting, repelling from my body.  By week two I was good.  I started smoking again a few months later, but that trick worked.
I have not given my bipolarity a name in order to shirk responsibility for the things I have done.  I have never looked at those I have affected, shrugged and said: “It was Jack, what can I do?”
Truthfully the naming of Jack came about as just a cheesey teenaged stunt.  Perhaps I had gone so far as to imagine an entire persona to help me cope with awkward social moments.  It got to points where I used him as a verb or adjective.  My friends and I would be at the bar, third or fourth beer in hand and looking around.  They would ask my opinion on the lay of the land, pointing out that most of the tables with women were a hard approach.  I would reply with something to the effect of: “No worries, I’ll just Jack McBastard it.”  Which they understood.
My friends knew Jack, I had been carrying him around since my teens and he had always been a laugh, he had always done the trick.  Obviously my friends thought that it was just some cheeky joke that I had an “alter-ego”, a pretend character that I busted out like a super-hero costume to handle life’s little challenges, like a fucking mentos commercial.  If they only knew the facts.  Yet, the fact remains that without him I have a hard time determining who I am, I feel like Edward Norton in “Fight Club” knowing that I am the dull, pathetic, loser.  If anything I should be trying more to be like Jack all the time, except that he is a schwanze.  Wall st. is loaded with guys like Jack.  Sports, movies, music are all littered with Jack McBastard types.  Poorly grafted frakenpersonality.  I need to learn to blend these two halves of myself, the suave, sophistication and bravado of Jack with the temperament, stability and empathy of Dysphorian.
This is my challenge.  This is the better person that I have envisioned.  This is who I must become.
My passions are waning, my interests are nearly non-existent.  I don’t know who or what I am and the thought of living without that stronger version of myself scares the shit out of me.  Like having to live my life without four arms and three legs.  I will no longer be unique.  I will no longer be the me that I know.  I have no clue who I will be.  That is terrifying indeed, especially in your mid-thirties.  I have settled into a life, not comfortably, but it is mine.  What if all the things that my wife loved about me stop being there?  What if I stop appreciating the things that drew me to her?  I guess it is a little like when a long term inmate gets released and they can’t function in society, they have become institutionalized.  Used to living in the penal system.  I wonder if at this point I can adapt, or if it is nearly as bad as I’m making it out to be.
These are the things that haven’t improved my sleep lately.  At least I have my words, and my well.  So I can sit down here and rant into the darkness, alone and cold.  I know one thing for sure, Jack isn’t going to take it laying down.  I don’t think an eviction notice is something that he will take well.  I am speaking in metaphor here, he isn’t a different person, I am merely saying that I imagine that it will be a hard struggle.  I wouldn’t want anyone to confuse the analogy with a serious case of multiple personality.  But from here going forward I will more than likely refer to Jack by name in a metaphorical sense so just get used to it, I know it probably isn’t going to further understanding but this is how I have coped so I’m going to stick with it for now… Until I can handle it some other way.
So, I feel like a waffled my way through this entire post.  Fortunately, it was written for me, if you made it this far congratulations and what the fuck?  I’m glad you could come for the ride even if we kind of just went in circles in the parking lot.  You are really friendly.  I like you.
I should start thinking about making a post about relationships and how gloriously I have biffed those.  The self-sabotaging behaviour of someone who cannot commit to a person who loves them because they do not love themselves and therefore don’t understand the attraction.  I guess you can look forward to reading that talksauce.

6 responses to “The state of things, triggers and looking forward.

  1. A rollercoaster it was! And I made it to the end 🙂 Awesome post! It gives me a glimpse into what my brother was talking about when he was saying “I’m not me on my medication, the part I have left is no longer human, it has no soul.” The joys of Lithium.

  2. It has you look long and hard at life and question your core values. Corinthians 13:11 is an interesting passage: When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. As I aged I had to try so much harder than my friends to curb my behaviours. I had to accept that I couldn’t drink three to four nights a week. I had to accept that I couldn’t womanize, even though there was no moral issue between consenting adults and all that. It just doesn’t look right on a man in his early thirties to be out running the clubs like a college senior. It is a childish existence, but after the friends stopped calling and the alcohol and drugs alienated me it was all I had left. I had to accept (with great difficulty and something with which I am still struggling) that I would have to leave these things, all that I knew and was comfortable with, behind. So what did that mean for the rest of my life. What is life without wine, woman and song? Do we just slowly wind down and grind to a halt like rusty clockwork toys? This makes me sad.

    • I guess my brother is lucky in a sense that, while he was into all the same things you were into, he also can take comfort in his art and music. He can sing, play base, lead and acoustic guitar, he’s a song writer, and those times when he looks back he can still write about them, play them and sing them. He did have a habit of attracting other girls with the same condition, he said it was euphoric, amazing, but then it was also like a long train crash as well. Even when he was a child he was a risk taker and extremely hard to control, and he still is now lol!

      He said one of the hardest things to do is stop doing the things which you find pleasure in because pleasure in itself is a trigger for him. He wishes there was a way to still be the person you know you are but be less intense and more in control without being forced to be someone you don’t know, and don’t want to be. If that makes any sense.

      • It does. I completely understand and that is what I was trying to convey. These are my fears. I’m not really used to fear. SOunds strange, but there hasn’t been much that actually frightened me my whole life. Now this and I am woefully underprepared.

      • It can be worth it if you stick to it though, my Mum also has Bipolar 2 and she is finally on the right meds and the right doses, and she has her sense of humour, she laughs, she is interested in all the things she was before things got really bad, she’s been good for about two years now which is freaking amazing so there is hope for you!

        What I find interesting is you seem to have a love-hate relationship with Jack. That aspect of your personality is a help and a hindrance at the same time. It’s all about pros and cons in the end and when you’re ready you’ll dive in! Because there is no dipping your toe in this situation, you have to be desperate and ready enough to change something you don’t like.

      • It’s really more of a LOVE/hate relationship. I have a dependency and addiction to Jack. He is many of my finer points, but given enough leash he kind of starts to mess things up.

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