I allegedly have bipolar disorder. I didn’t believe the doctors back then, and I haven’t for years. But now, that has changed.
You see, I could compromise and accept the depression. Mostly because it was so obvious. There was a time when the depression burdened me to the point of paralysis. I was unable to physically bring myself to do basic tasks. I knew something wasn’t right and started seeing a therapist and taking medication.
The shrink proved more powerful that the drugs. I learned to live with my depression. However, I made a grave mistake. An error of judgment that could be fatal: I forgot about it.
Now, you may think forgetting about your ailments could be the greatest gift one could ask for. The psychological burden would be lifted, and one could focus up on daily life!
…Come here a sec. A little closer. Just a bit more. SLAP.
Sorry, I had to get that out of my system. You and I were damn fools for thinking such things! Go ahead, give me a slap. No? Well, you’re quite the prude.
Anyway, I forgot about my depression, mostly because I genuinely thought I was better. Like a recovering alcoholic, I believed I could control it. The mood swings came back, both manic and depressive, and even then I could only recognize the depressive episodes, that manic shit seemed too wild. I was never “too wild,” and therefore “not manic.” There’s a medically sound explanation for ya.
After two or three years struggling with my life’s purpose (still dealing with that one), the depression grew worse. I convinced myself I had to choose one path, one subject to master, and be able to imagine myself in a career of said field.
For example, I would be interested in computers and devote hours (6+) every day studying. Then, after a couple of weeks, the obsession would dissolve. I was left frantically justifying why I was studying this subject. No longer was pure interest enough. I needed a real-world application of the knowledge. That meant getting a job, and felons have a hard time getting those.
Imagine, a felon working on an enterprise computer network. Fat chance, or so thought, and would soon lose my grip. I would stop studying and wallow in my low, doing mindless activities, waiting for the manic wave to pick me up and bring me back to shore.
If it wasn’t computers, it was writing. I’m talking a black and white way of living. Whatever I’m studying, it’s going to be my life, I’m going to be its master. I need to be the best. I need to devote every minute of every day improving. And when I was writing with this mentality, it was exhausting. Some days I would wake up with a more innocent outlook on writing, but mostly it was a tremendous pressure to be one of the greats.
This actually caused my writing to suffer. I looked back on older stories I wrote when I was in a healthier state of mind (healthy defined as being motivated by love and passion, not obligation and illusions of grandeur) and felt stories from two years ago were no worse than some of the stuff I wrote much later. Why is this?
Not just in writing, but in life, motivations most clearly dictate how to think and act. Pure motivations, the ones rooted in utmost desire, are the highest quality navigational tools. These days, I accept the ebb and flow of my emotions. Now it’s a matter of learning how to integrate my passions in this maniacal river of emotions.