How do you ride the wave?

12 May 2017

I rang my son recently because he had blocked me on Facebook messenger.

I was surprised, but soon discovered this was just the tip of the iceberg as far as his fury and frustration was concerned.

He said, if I don't take my mental health seriously, I would never be invited to his home, or to see his as yet hypothetical children. He said everyone could see I am bipolar, including the people who stopped to speak to him or his sister in the street about it, everyone in my little town, and even the guests who come through my Airbnb and leave such glowing reports about their stay.

I came off the phone furious, and hurt. The conversation has replayed itself endlessly in my mind and I have reevaluated my whole summer in light of his comments. I have become withdrawn, mortified, and wonder seriously about the future.

This is not unusual. I charge on in my life, sometimes saying and doing absurd things, acting impulsively, busy with a myriad of unspoken thoughts and beliefs until a blast from a loved one brings me up sharp.

This is the end of what I suppose is a manic ride, and the beginning of a depressive one.

Now I hide. I sleep, I rise, I shower. I eat just enough to get by. I down pills and watch my hair getting thinner and whiter. I worry about the state of my house. I feel lonely, frightened and old.

Have I always been "bipolar"?

I remember as a child the delicious wave of creativity coming over me on cold winters days. The fire would be lit early and I would feel a sudden urge to make. Drawing, writing, painting, making scrapbooks or dolls house furniture from match boxes, cardboard and beads. I loved this moment.

As a documentary maker I became comfortably familiar with the ebb and flow of creative inspiration. At times the world was bleak and dull, and I would slog away in the editing studio. At others there was a story at every turn and I collected, planned and went out gathering audio. I learned to ride the wave.

Now the job is gone and the children don't need their mother. It is too easy to overbalance.

How do you ride the wave?


A Moodscope member.

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