I often wonder whether a bipolar diagnosis suffers the same extremity of emotion as every other person, the only difference being they are less capable of controlling where it takes them. There is a clear extremity of emotion attributed to being “bipolar," but is that due to the extremity of the emotion itself or the ability to control its level of descent or ascent.
In my career as professional ear to anyone I have ever met, the stories are repeatedly dark. The exterior of a person is very quickly shattered in a midnight conversation. The magnificent, beautiful girl that sometimes can’t leave the house because the pressure to be aesthetically revered is sometimes too great even for her to bear. The illustrious corporate leader whom entire companies aspire to be and cower beneath their ruthless force for profit are often as insecure as the mail boy. The differences being an extraordinary intelligence and irreverent capacity to hide fear. They still have it. They still wonder if the perpetual sycophantic musings are believable. No matter how powerful they seem, they still wonder, still feel unsure.
Mothers who are the envy of all others, the gentle, nurturing soul with the perfectly dressed, perfectly behaved children who excel in all areas and seem perfectly grounded in their soaring mansion landscape grounds with the tennis court and the pool and the helicopter pad and exquisitely crafted interior design... except she watches for the clock to hit 5 every day so she can have a glass of wine, aches for the minutes to pass, and when they do, she has 8. But that’s acceptable, to her, by then, it’s how she justifies her perfectionism.
Struggling is merely a catalyst. Only a symptom, toward the production of clarity. Evolution decrees that learnings must be gained. Elite athletes continue to shatter records, despite the seemingly impossible feat of the previous one, and so it seems does the human mind. But where if ever does the struggle stop? With the onset of perfection? But perfection is unobtainable, surely, in the face of historical evidence where we continue to improve upon nirvana day by day the goal is an endlessly moving object that naturally redefines itself as the perception of perfection is twisted by humanistic trends and beliefs and pop culture.
For me, the complete absence of nirvana has cultivated my loss of interest in life’s lessons. If the people I meet who are the alphas of their genre, the envy of their peers and the inspiration for the future – if they are torturously wounded souls then hope is somehow redundant. If pretty has too much pressure, and power too much uncertainty, and wealth too much hate for generosity, then where is the place...for hope. And not just selfish hope, but hope for children borne from your make-up, borne of your blood, and soul... and scarily mind.
Children are an unfinished replica, a malleable version of self, and with that comes the certain reminiscence of youth and mistakes of yore which if misunderstood can be quickly masticated into unwarranted blame, onto an innocent child, who then has no choice but to re-enact a prophecy of learned behavior for the sake of a parents “I told you so” indulgent maze. And even the most learned of parents who have a hands-in-the-air approach to influence, can’t be so unaffected by the mirror image of a soul in the identical eye or nose, or hand or eyebrow of their offspring.
Nature’s purpose for the likeness of child to parent cannot go unfathomed, ritualistically, in the search for the perfect human, they need traits to continue, lest a human with a single perfect trait, meet their demise without passing that single trait down to meet the perfect traits chronologically passed down by others – at some point, the statistics must meet, to enable the perfect human to be created.
And then what? It is a confronting cavalcade. For the willing accomplices of life the small battles are surmountable. Grow up, marry, buy a house, couple of kids, find the money somehow, work through jobs, focus on the children’s future. How many of them stop to truly question life and its purpose. If you don’t have an easy out in a perpetual death wish then these issues must be analysed and solved – there is no other option right? But in a twisted mind the concept of each single issue compounds daily until the longed for plight of death is a far easier option.
It is easy to see the simple option of death, it is blessed release. Yet, in the real world, its completely defeatist, and selfish. But were you to take one of life’s accomplices and add the complexity of the black dog, would the result be the same? Or would it reveal the benefit of a stoic and selfless personality type. In which case the black dog is just another hurdle, easily overcome, making the “bipolar” personality, just a sad, wasteful, selfish indulgence the world must endure.
I am nothing less than a being with feelings and musings and overly-analytical responses. But is that any different to the beauty, or the executive, or the alcoholic jewish princess? So why then, is it deserving of more attention? More understanding, more pity?
But then, the gift, the gift of delusion. What a shatteringly imperfect perfection. Your sky vs my sky. You see the moon and think, “gosh, what a pretty moon. I wonder if I should re-mortgage the house, goodness it must be time for a wax, wonder if I could get into see Rachel this week, oh gee Eric should probably finish his project tomorrow night and I must remember to polish his shoes before school before Andrea makes a comment, she is such a bitch, we should really invite her and Tom over for dinner next week it’s been ages.”
I see the moon and it unveils itself. Behind chiffon clouds that flutter teasingly in a timeless burlesque romance, as a chorus of stars sigh and emote brightly, desperately hoping for recognition, and are hopelessly outshone by an aloof, intrinsically complicated and unperturbed graceful silver floating moon. It is too perfectly uncontrived. And time escapes my mind just watching the universal play unfold, I could burst within its beauty, I could sing a perfect high c and ride its note via treble clef between here and eternity and delve into its welcoming craters, cradled, unafraid to fall. The night breeze whispers, I know it’s only for me, I know it’s filling me with its intensity, eradicating any doubt that I am one of theirs, I don’t belong to the others, humans who are laughing, foolishly, superficially, at each other.
The branches extend and envelop me in a ghost-like whirl, they remind me not to belong, they are connected, existing only for me. I can hear the voices of the world around me, I can hear them destroying the solitude that nature is so desperately yearning for, and though they urge me to fight it and deny it they shroud my soul so it can bear the brunt of the fake nothingness calling, reaching for my tiny piece of nothingness to complete its pretend puzzle. And right then and there I am sacrosanct. Immortal. I return to my pretend world, engage in perfect social lies and laugh in all the right places, to humanise. I drink too much to level the responses I would otherwise have, to the pointless, irrelevant nuances of conversation. They are none of them, worth anything to me, my mind soars so far beyond their realms, but were they to understand that isolation would ensue. Pretending is practical; practised; perfected.
“Ha ha ha, what a brilliant analogy Andrew!” Sarah, try the pumpkin salad, stop it, I know, I am a masterchef, loving myself sick – sure you can have the recipe”
“Yes Tcharli and Zi fight non-stop too, how are you dealing with the constant fighting?”
And the wind whispers good job, it’s okay, we know you’ll come back to us. And I say with my body and soul: I never left. I’m here. I belong to you, I see you even as the night falls and the silhouette of the trees gives off its fierce underground stare, I am soulfully a servant. They already know. But they nod, and retreat in response. It is understood.
They don’t see what I see, I re-energize with regular surreptitious glances to the night sky. The pretense of the night is finally over, and I smile and kiss and hug and promise to attend return hospitality and keep the smile plastered as I wave happily. And shut the door. And frown. My body releases the pressure and draws me back to the deck, where I belong, with the moon, and the stars, and the naked twisting blackness of the muted night trees. Finally.
But I will wake up tomorrow, in a man-made bed, with an innocent soft-skinned re-creation of myself snuggling in for re-assurance of their beloved existence. And the seemingly real possibility that normality is truthful. Confusion takes a back-step. To exist willfully, it simply must.