Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Life is Bipolar*

*Note - this is not a psychological or medical blog.  I have no credentials in that field; I'm just writing my thoughts based on my life experience.  This piece is not a commentary on anyone suffering from bipolar disorder, and is not meant to belittle or judge those in any way.  If you want to take this personally, please do - but remember that  am the person it's about (and I'm sure many can relate, whether or not they have that diagnosis).  If you want professional information or help, please ... see a professional!

A person is considered bipolar if she suffers from episodes of mania and depression that inhibit her ability to function in life.  In other words, extremely high highs, and extremely low lows, so much so that it's hard to go on. With that in mind, it seems to me that life is bipolar ... (especially mine, especially now).

I know - everyone knows - life has its share of ups and downs.  I've said it before, I'm sure I'll say it again, and I'm certainly not the only one.  After all, "¯You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have the facts of life ... the facts of life¯" (sorry - it got stuck in my head as I was writing the previous sentence, so I had to torture you with it, too share).  But it's more than that.

Lately, it seems like there is no such thing as gradual - things don't get progressively worse and then improve (or the other way around).  The spikes and crashes are so sharp, so severe, so sudden, that I feel like I've got emotional whiplash.  It's not just that I'm an emotional basket case: it's that so much is coming at me from so many directions, and the changes come faster than I can keep up.

But it's not just me.  Let's take a look at ...

Derek Jeter, for example.
Anyone who follows baseball (and probably many who don't) knows that on Saturday he got his 3,000th hit, and did so in the most dramatic fashion: a home run to tie the game, going 5-for-5 for the day.  He was lauded as one of the greatest players in MLB history, further cementing his future place in the Hall of Fame.  Just a few days later, he's being berated by MLB players and officials for taking some much needed rest after the ordeal.  So much for having a minute to enjoy his success!

Or my favorite fundraiser event, Relay For Life.
I wrote about this in My Plea For Help.  Relay is so much more than a walk: it's an experience.  It's an emotional roller coaster that takes us from the celebration of survivors to the mourning of loved ones we've lost, and back up again to party 'till the sun comes up.  We laugh so much we cry, and we cry so much we laugh. And just when we think we can't take it anymore, we do it all again.

And then, of course, there's Gram.
I'm still struggling with that one.  She was an amazing woman.  She was a sweetheart.  She was adorable.  And she was always there.  So that means I have so many happy memories of her to reflect on ... but it also means I feel it that much more when I do something that she would have been there for.  I see her smile in my heart and hear her voice in my head, and they make me smile ... and they make me cry.  She will always be with me ... she is a part of me, a part of everything I do ... but it will never be the same.

And there's lots more.  Work. Home. Money. Weight. Family. Friends.  Some issues too mundane to bore you with, some too personal to get into here.  Some nearing a resolution, some just getting started, and some that seem to go on indefinitely.  To an extent, that's just the way life is: ups, downs, highs, lows.  But when they all happen at the same time, and to the extremes that they've been, it seems to me that life is bipolar.

So ... where do we go from here?  How do we deal with a bipolar life?

There's always Lithium ... though in my case, I'll take the Nirvana song, not the drug.  It's got one of my favorite lines of all time:
"I'm so happy ... 'cause today I found my friends ... in my head"
See?  That makes me smile every time I hear it!

Ahh ... simple pleasures ... I guess that's the key to getting through the rough times!

** If you like what you read, tell a friend!  Actually, tell me too - post a comment below!!  If you don't ... well ... I'm all for honesty, but please be gentle!