The Thing With Bipolar…

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold
W.B. Yeats

I’m riding high upon a deep depression.
I’m only happy when it rains


… and with depression, is that being “fine” is a hard thing to embrace.  In my ‘”normal” state, the between-state I’m held in by the medication, there’s a blunt tapping feeling inside me that this shouldn’t be.  It’s hard not to reach out towards negative thought patterns and weave them back in to my own.

It’s hard to accept being fine, it’s easy to push back instead of moving forwards.  For a long time after being unwell, being okay again feels like an act, a front, even a joke.  It’s hard to sustain something you can’t yet quite believe in.  It’s hard to keep acting fine when you have that doubt inside, that ache that tells you you’re not fine and never will be.

It’s the same, for me, with the self-harm.  At times when I’ve stopped it seems like a temporary break in something ultimately unstoppable.  Strength seems a blip in what I see as a continuous weakness.  It seems irrelevant that sometimes I don’t hurt for months, even a year, at a time.  It seems to be waiting, like a shadow waits for light before it shows up.

Always waiting for a crash makes “fine” seem like a lie.  But it’s not a lie.  Sometimes you have to fake it til you feel it.  Sometimes you just have to let yourself feel it.  It’s hard.  One step forward, one step back, one step forward, three steps back… that’s easier to do.  I know a lot of people for whom this is true… there’s safety in being not-OK because it’s something familiar, something almost comforting.  Even a dark, suffocating blanket is sometimes preferable to the exposure involved in interacting with the world “normally”.

A high is beautiful, that’s easy to ache for.  The fall-out sucks, that’s a truth and a reason not to want to fly. Why would I ever lean in to a low?  I’ve been asking myself this a really, really long time and here’s my theory of the week.  Depression is safe; you know where you are with it.  Being well is harder sometimes.  Being well is like standing on a long, long plank between a beautiful sun (mind Icarus) and a crocodile infested water.

You need to balance.

Then, you have to walk along the plank and hope for the best.  You can’t stand still and quiet forever, using everything in you just to stay half-way balanced… there’s risk.

It takes courage to accept that there might, that there probably will, be a fall or a float somewhere.  When that comes you’ll have to deal with the consequences.

I’m trying.


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