Wednesday, March 1, 2017

That's the deal...

I sometimes think that I should write and describe my experiences after my breakdown in third person. It seems easier, somehow, to see myself at a distance; to act as an observer outside of myself. I think it makes it safer for others to see what may be a deeply buried part of themselves. This is how I/she experiences her life now, as if on a tightrope, even though it's been 10 years since her breakdown.  Since she came undone. So, this is how it would go...

She continues to feel fragile, though. She continues to guard a sensitive, fluid center. Sometimes, loud noises make her heart race--someone speaking her name without warning, or the telephone ringing late at night. Then she will take herself in hand. She will remind herself to draw back, to loosen hold. She has learned how to make it through life on a slant. "You've changed," her friend has said (all intensity himself).

 I think that's the thing about what we call a breakdown. You always are aware and remember this crack, this fissure that has occurred. It's like that hole in your gum after you lose a tooth.  You know you shouldn't keep touching it, but somehow you must, just to remind yourself it was once there. You are aware that the propensity for this fissure to widen is still there. At times, you feel that fissure stretching out and there's that need to hold on tight. You feel you must fight and be strong enough to keep that fissure from expanding to the point where it may break. That's the fear that is under that facade of normalcy. The psychiatrist refers to you as his "success story." He even questions whether your diagnosis is correct. He says that maybe you don't have a mental illness; that the diagnosis of bipolar disorder was somehow a mistake. Yet you know the truth.  You remember that time when your mind was not your own. Because of this experience, this time of unraveling, you take your medication daily even though it sometimes blurs life's edges. It's the price you pay for never returning to this dark place. It's just the price you must pay. You felt the pain then so you can feel the happiness now. That's the deal.