This is a blog about the experience of living with Bipolar Disorder.
Here I wish to tell the story of what it is like to live with a disabling mental illness, day by day; and to provide a safe and welcoming space for all who wish to participate, whether by comment, contribution, or simply silent reading. We’ll dip into neuroscience a bit, and roll around in the pharmacopia for sure. But the essence of this blog is the experience of the illness, and it is subjective as hell.
Bipolar illness has eaten my life in leisurely chunks. You may have read a book or two written by some fortunate one who fought their way out of the abyss and ended up as a university professor. I’m not one of them. In fact, the opposite. I rose to some dizzying heights in my profession, and through the erosion of my illness, have found myself disabled, unable to work in the field I so dearly love.
On the other hand, one in five people with severe Bipolar Disorder end in suicide. I’m not one of those either. I choose life. As excruciatingly painful as my life is at times, I know that one day I will indeed die. Everyone does, sooner or later. The thing is, if I kill myself, I’ll miss the end of the movie. My movie. I won’t know what would have happened if I just stuck with it one more fraction of a second. And if I live long enough, I might possibly merit to do one speck of good on this planet, to help one person perhaps, and that would make the whole of it worthwhile. Time, however, can be a behemoth of an adversary.
I happen to be a religious person. A spiritual person by nature, and a religious person by choice. It gives me a framework in which to see my life, and someone to blame and cry out to. And it gives me a road map by which to navigate. I’m Jewish, and my road map is the Torah (the “Old Testament”). And it says,
“I have placed life and death before you, blessing and curse;
And you shall choose life…..” Devarim (Deuteronomy) 30:19
“You shall choose Life.” So I make that leap of faith, and I choose Life, even though most days I would much rather not have it.