Time to lay it on the table… life-blogging and Bi-Polar Disorder

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April 23 by The Running Son

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Time to lay it on the table.

Around 2004 I was diagnosed Bi-Polar Disorder and PTSD.I have been off medication since August of last year.

I don’t know if I agree with my professional diagnosis, but a rose, by any other name… know what I mean? Like, call it what you want, but when it’s 3 am and I’m lonely, and I have a black wind blowing in my ears and everything feels meaningless, I don’t give a shit what it’s called.

Late December I got Twitter. By early January I was more aware than I ever wanted to be how many desperate souls there are out there tweeting into the silence.

“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”  ― Henry David Thoreau

That depressed me so bad I can’t explain. I mean, all these goddamn people and so much pain. No direction or hope. What…put on a big smile and quote greeting card affirmations??? I’d see myself in hell first, especially since I already felt I’d visited there.

And me, off my medication, Having just sent my girlfriend whom I love off to take care of business back east, I couldn’t take it. It was too much. I got by day by day on white knuckles, angst, and membrane thin hope.

Somehow I made it to February, then went into action. I created the RFB, and made a home. I surrounded myself with the authors and subjects that promised deliverance from an incomprehensible fatalism.

Jump to the present. Yesterday I was in a bad way as some of you know. But you know what? With the kindness of fellow bloggers like Jennifer (writingsofamrs), I was in a whole new place by evening.

I could hold all that struggle in, or when I’m in pain, write…in pain. Let it happen.

Thank you to everyone, and I mean this, that has been here, followed and supported me. You may not realize you were Angels unaware.

Gratefully, Jim

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28 thoughts on “Time to lay it on the table… life-blogging and Bi-Polar Disorder

  1. 1WriteWay says:

    Jim, thank you for sharing so much with your readers. These feelings of anxiety, depression, the labels of bipolar, PTSD are so prevalent throughout our society that one has to wonder whether it really is the individual or the culture at large. Nothing is simple; it’s most likely a combination of the two. What troubles me is that the individual usually has to bear the whole burden, the responsibility for her mental health. Is that really fair given what society throws at us almost constantly? My father was mentally ill, although no one ever gave us a definitive diagnosis. Due to the times and poverty, he was put on various drugs and warehoused periodically. I’ve never been convinced that his “treatments” really helped him, and to this day, I still blame the shame that was attached to him because he could not be the bread-winner and master of the household.

    As a child growing up with a mentally ill parent, I couldn’t avoid internalizing his pain. So I have my own troubles with depression and anxiety and wonder how much of that is brain chemistry and how much was my environment.

    I do understand that some of us have chemical imbalances that might necessitate taking medication, and if you can get the right medication, then that’s great. Unfortunately, I’m seen how the wrong medication can practically destroy a person’s life, in particular, a friend of mine. Then the burden was set on my friend to “know” that the medication wasn’t working, rather than set on the doctor and his family members to see the warning signs. Fortunately, before it was too late, his medication was changed and he’s now a happier, better functioning person. He also is considered bipolar, and it’s been a long struggle for him.

    Anyway, your post reminded me of him and how so many people I know (including myself) continue to struggle with inexplicable moods of overwhelming sadness. Even in my happiest moments, that question “Why?” still lurks way back in my mind. It never really goes away. I’m just grateful that I can still find love and acceptance in spite of myself.

    Peace be with you,
    Marie

    • 1writeway Thank you for the thoughtful comment. Your views have the ring of experience and wisdom. I flipped over to your Gravatar (cuz that’s what we do right?) and smiled. The sense of peace I felt in your features is not belied by your comments.

      You brought up so many points that need to be said. The stigma and the responsibility put on the afflicted person is bewildering to me. “Patient heal thyself?” nice message they send. I am glad to hear you’re friend found the adjustments he needed. We should all be so fortunate as to have supportive and understanding loved ones surrounding us.

      Peace to you Marie. 😉

  2. anthrogoddess says:

    I totally get the issue of being diagnosed, as I still have discomfort with mine, and couldn’t pin down why. Then recently I was reading ‘The Appeal of Experience; The Dismay of Images: Cultural Appropriations of Suffering in Our Times’ by the Kleinmans (1996) and this excerpt summed it up for me; “‘We need to ask, however, what kind of cultural process underpins the transformation of a victim of violence to someone with a pathology? What does it mean to give those traumatized by political violence the social status of a patient? And in what way does the imagery of victimization as the pathology of an individual alter the experience? Collective as well as individual? So that its lived meaning as moral and political memory, perhaps even resistance, is lost and is replaced by “guilt,” “paranoia,” and a “failure to cope”?

    • Good quote and heady! I mean, I think about this shit and I’m gonna have to reread that one a few times. Thankyou very much for taking the time, and all the best to you and your jousts with your inner workings!

  3. Yoshiko says:

    I hope you will get well soon

  4. story says:

    Jim, your rawness and honesty is touching! I have never been diagnosed with PTSD or bi-polar, but I struggle with anxiety and stress. Mental health is so important, and is still treated sometimes with stigma in our society, or just a lack of decent understanding. Glad to hear you are getting so much support from this site and hope you continue on your healing journey.

    • I just switched back from your blog. Damn girl, your writing is amazing. Anxiety and depression are different flavors of the same human dis-ease. Particularly after reading the one poem I did of yours. It is impossible not to feel a “spiritual” kinship.

      Thank you for stopping in, and taking the time to make a comment. It means a lot. 😉

  5. I have never been diagnosed with PTSD or BiPolar Disorder, but I have had my struggles with depression, and I know what it is like to wake up in the middle of the night almost sure that life in meaningless. I had one of those nights a couple of days ago and i have since been working on really opening up and getting more involved in the blogs on here. The poetry is truly revitalizing in a literal sense of bestowing new life on a person. Thank you for reaching out, and for all of the poetry and art you have poured into this website!

    • You are very welcome. Someone said the other day “We write for ourselves”. Its been ringing in my ear ever since. But do we?

      This response makes the personal gratification I get, or could get, from journaling or drawing privately pale in comparison.

      To hear you say, “Yeah, I was there” means too much to me to then say, “in reality, I don’t care”. I write and draw to know I am not alone— that I am connected to humanity.

  6. Kira says:

    Thank you for being vulnerable and raw in your sharing! There are so many of us out here on WP who have been diagnosed with PTSD and/or Bi-Polar. It is encouraging for us to have other writers surrounding one another in support. I hope that you will continue to find freedom each day 🙂

  7. Reblogged this on writingsofamrs and commented:
    Such kind words from my fellow blogger Jim.
    He opened up to his blogging community this morning about his struggles with Bi Polar disorder. We have been talking and discuss life. I want to commend and support him throughout his journey.
    Jims art, his words, poetry and his mind are so inspirational and beautiful.
    And Jim, it’s all you buddy.
    Jennifer

    • And so it turns out. I’m smiling ear to ear this morning.

      Have you ever felt like the world would collectively drop it’s jaw and walk away shaking their head? Have you ever felt stupid afterwords?

      Truth is, if it was all me, I never would be here. I’d be somewhere, talking about something, but not here now, thanking you.

      😉

  8. Jim.
    Keep it real and open.. There you will find freedom.
    Thank you for your kind words.
    I’m happy to be here for you.
    Jennifer

  9. I am happy to hear you found some comfort. The melancholy Eeyore is my favourite character in Winnie-the-Pooh, but I am closer to Piglet in personality. 🙂 Anyway, I feel a kindred soul in you.
    Peace,
    Monika

    • Monica, I doubt anything can bring more levity than examples out of Winnie the Poo! OMG the power of myth doesn’t stop at the boarders of pop-culture, does it 😉

  10. Geo Sans says:

    Back in 2006

    my dad died suddenly of cancer

    my son was stillborn

    I had a bi-polar reaction

    ~

    the next year

    while grieving

    my mom needed a biopsy

    for a growth the size of a grapefruit

    I had another bi-polar reaction

    ~

    everyone

    has tough times

    some get hit harder than others

    ~

    I changed away

    from a high stress career

    went back to school

    became an honours student

    a new profession

    became a dad again

    ~

    life is fucked up

    there will be ups / downs

    enjoy the ups

    focus on them

    breathe through, try meditate through the bad

    ~

    I don’t know your pain

    I won’t pretend I do

    but take some consolation that me, others

    believe, feel for you

    ~

    take care my friend

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RFB editor Jim Aldrich, Joshua Tree CA 2013

RunningSon aka Jim Aldrich, Joshua Tree CA 2013 | This site is dedicated with the deepest gratitude to Dr. Cláudio Naranjo, whose writings gave me life.

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