Archive for the ‘A Sunday Kind of Blues’ Category

The Bipolar Perspective: The Season of Reason   2 comments

FIGHT NIGHT

Friday night was fight night.  Or, at least it was for me.   While talking with an irrational foul-mouthed balding and bloated neighbor with bad breath over my car being towed, his deceivingly meek looking son came out of nowhere and slammed me to the ground, fracturing my wrist and cutting up my arm.   I make it a rule not to fight back unless in dire straights.   Hit someone the wrong way and you could be the one going to the big house.  Plus, fighting solves nothing.   I prefer to use words.  Aren’t we even taught as children to “use our words?”  He must have missed that lesson.

Was the confrontation avoidable?  Absolutely.   I could have dismissed it and let this vindictive Porsche laden aristocrat go on with his elitist life having cars towed off his block, as he feels not only does he own his house, but the entire street.  But I was out a $650 towing fee and wanted to know why.  So when I saw him getting out of his four door Porsche which resembles the Fred Flintstone mobile, I went up to ask him about it and a small riot broke out.

GROUND HOGS DON’T TAKE HOLIDAYS

I am Bipolar II.  I suffer from rapid cycling.  If I’m not careful I can turn from depressed to manic in a matter of seconds.  Consequently, I always have to keep myself in check.  And for years I have done a relatively good job.

But no matter how hard I try I always have a major incident during the holiday season. It could be a serious problem at work, a car accident, a deep depression, a drunken mishap… Something to make me wish I could have gone to sleep on the day before Thanksgiving and wake up January 2nd, skipping all the drama.  The holidays for me are an annual Ground Hog’s Day, the likes of the Bill Murray movie with the same name.  Problems ever year.  Same miserable results where I end up forlorn, depressed and suicidal.

SEASON OF THE WITCH

This year I made a conscious effort not to fuck up.  Starting last week I decided to make no major decisions, to drive very carefully and not get into any arguments.  At work I kept my head low and concentrated on my tasks.   I decided not to go overboard with the unavoidable holiday drinking so I wouldn’t do or say anything stupid.  Basically I was putting myself on parole.  If I started to screw up I decided to put a David Yurman Bracelet around my ankle and voluntarily submit to house arrest.

However as Donovan said in the 1960’s, “It’s The Season of the Witch.”  Some get the holiday blues and others get the witches’ brew.  I think one slipped me a mickey when I left my water bottle briefly unattended at the office last week.  I thought something tasted funny.

THE BITTER-SWEET TASTE OF REVENGE

As advised by the doctor who saw me in the emergency room when I went to have my wrist taken care of the next day, I filed assault and battery charges against the slap-happy looking son who blindsided me.  I felt kind of bad, because it was the vermin-ridden father who I wished I could have arrested.   I think he misread the situation and was protecting his dad.

Who knows what will become of the case?  With my luck it will somehow backfire on me and I’ll end up doing five to ten in San Quentin.   Most probably nothing will happen.  So then my manic brain will start thinking of all the ways of seeking revenge;  Painting “Ass Hole” on his garage door, camouflaging some spike strips at the end of his driveway or some other completely juvenile, but highly rewarding payback.

But revenge is bitter-sweet.   It’s sweet at first because you are getting back at the person who has escaped the consequences of their abusive temper-tantrum.   However it’s bitter because they will surmise it’s you and you will forever be looking over your shoulder in fear of retaliation.  Moreover, take the low road of vengeance and you’ll have another confrontation in the future.  This guy is obviously is a bottom feeder.  Take the high road and you’ll never run into miscreants like these again.

HOLIDAY BLACK AND BLUES

So as I sit here licking my wounds, my dog is sitting next to me licking his ass.   It reminds me of all my Bipolar friends and acquaintances who have told me “cheerful holiday revelers can take the whole season and shove it up their asses.”   It depresses them too.

Many researches believe people with Bipolar Disorder cycle at specific times of the year.  If it’s around the holidays, it could have to do with the colder weather and it getting dark earlier.  Or, something about the season can be a trigger.  Some people feel left out or lonely during the holidays, and it causes depression or manic behavior.

It all makes sense to me.  The issue I have is why, through all my behavioral vigilance, did I still end up black and blue this holiday season?  Was it wrong not to stand up for myself and approach the tow-happy father and son duo?  Maybe considering the time of year I should have refrained?  Should I just have accepted the $650 tow charge as just another Holiday blow and let it go at that?   Could I have guessed there could be trouble and leave it alone?  Hind site is twenty-twenty.  Maybe my dog is not so stupid for licking his ass.

THE SEASON OF REASON

For Lexus it’s “the December to remember.”  For me the holidays are “the season of reason.” Every year when I have my holiday trauma, I remind myself with extra vigilance of all the reasons not to kill myself.   If you are Bipolar, thoughts of suicide are frequent occurrences that would scare the Juicy Coutures right off “normal people.”   We see thoughts of suicide as part of the mind-scape we navigate on a daily basis.

I have them every day and night.  But around the holidays, I spend the month thinking of reasons not to go ahead and do it.  And every year it becomes harder.  Is this the season I’ll run out of reasons?

DEPARTMENT OF PARKING AND EXTORTION

Just when I thought it was all over came the encore.  I went to the San Francisco Department of Parking and Extortion to get a neighborhood parking permit so I can park without it raining tickets on me anymore.  But the city worker who resembled a potato with only half a brain would not give me the sticker unless I paid for the two tickets I received the day I was towed.  And not having my briefcase full of money with me, I couldn’t get the permit.  So as soon as my car is spotted on the street by the parking authority, it will get booted.   It’s a never-ending cycle specially created by the City of San Francisco to punish people for living and working in the city and contributing hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue.

It was all I could do not to drag the bored looking potato-headed clerk out from behind the glass via the little pass-through slot where she takes your money head first.  But I heard there is a city surcharge if you do that.  And then you are responsible for stuffing her back in.

DEATH WISH 

The easiest thing to do is sit down and die.  I have a suicide plan.  Many Bipolars that suffer deep depression do.   But I have a hard time pulling the euphemistic trigger.   I’d rather someone else do it.

So I am walking through the worst neighborhoods alone and at night.  I am crossing streets against on coming traffic.  When I’m driving near canyons I speed up, hoping to lose control, crashing through the guard rail and over the side exploding in a fireball of magnificent Mustang.  I even wash my Bipolar medication down with a couple of glasses of wine at night.  And, at the end of the day I’m secretly glad I’m alive.

I don’t really want to die.  Or at least not quite yet.  I just want Holiday Ground Hogs Day to have its final showing.  To make it through next year’s holidays without incident.  To keep my Bipolar Disorder in check instead of thinking of ways to check-out.  Medication can not do all the work.  I have to do my part by avoiding the triggers and talking to my therapist.   There is no “easy button.” Maybe reaffirming this is my holiday gift to myself.   I’d like to give this gift of wisdom to you as well this holiday season.  I hope it will help.   Sorry it’s not wrapped.

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Sunday Kind of Blues   Leave a comment

I’m sitting here in a local San Francisco coffee shop, which is how most San Franciscans spend their days.  Everybody is busily working on business plans for new start-ups or milling around outside on their cell phones trying to convince venture capitalists to fund their new ventures.  The problem is about 3% of these nonsensical deals actually come to fruition and even fewer actually survive the first two years.  But everyone wants to jump on the get rich quick technology bandwagon.  I prefer to call it a hayride.

I’m even embarrassed to say I had a partner and we drank the micro-brew Kool-Aide too, which was all the rage, back in the late 1990’s.  Unfortunately, my partner had an aversion to making money, I bailed out and he floundered around by himself for awhile and then moved out of the area.  But we could have had something.  It was my big chance at making a serious nest egg.  Instead the hen just farted.

So, I’ll share with you today that I am a little depressed.  However I think it’s more  situational than chemical. I’m sad at 46 years old that with all the things I know how to do, I have never done anything exceptional.  I’ve done a lot of good things, but nothing that I feel will leave a mark that says “Peter Goodman was here” after I am gone. Except, for the circular water stain on the coffee table I left from putting my drink down without a coaster.

Could it be my mood stabilizers kicking in just making sure I feel neither good or bad and just exist in a quagmire of nothingness? Mine keep me in limbo from feeling excitement or despair, in this military “no fly zone” where nothing ever touches me.  They are always there to remind me how much I don’t feel, never even giving me 15 minutes for a mental coffee break.

In all my star studded brilliance I decided to sleep all weekend.  Sleeping is something we bipolars are really good at.  I wish being a good sleeper could help me leave my mark on the world. “God, that Peter Goodman wasn’t much of a guy when he was awake, but boy could that motherfucker sleep.  We’ll never see a sleeper like that again in our lifetime!”

I was already literally sick and tired when Friday rolled around.  And when my girlfriend decided to start in on me about so something ridiculous only her mind could conjure, I decided to go for a world record.  I went to bed and didn’t get out until late Sunday morning.

I love sleeping and disconnecting from my bipolar tormented mind.  I don’t know what it’s doing when we are not together, but at least I don’t have to deal with it.  It probably goes out to get a burger and a beer and then picks up hookers at the adult movie theater.

Actually, sleep has become my new therapy.  If I don’t want to deal with something, I just go home, get in bed and go to sleep.   I’m not talking about work issues or being a father to my daughter.  I’m referring to problems with my relationship, getting a speeding ticket, owing a lot in taxes, etc.  And as soon as I put my head down on that pillow and trail off to sweet slumber, I am free.

I often wonder if this is the effect people are trying for when they commit suicide?  The mindlessness of being permanently unconscious.  I have tried to do away with myself before.  And I can not promise I won’t do it again.  What people do not understand is the constant distress of the bipolar mind.  The depression, sadness and disconnection from the world and everyone in it is unbearable.  And if someone is at the point where they can not stand one more minute of it and medications, electroshock and therapy have proven benign, I believe they have the right to end it.

People do not ask to be born, and certainly not bipolar.  If they want to leave this world it should be on their own terms.  I am not advocating suicide, but I am not going to put a pad lock on the door.  And of course I don’t think it should be a rash decision.  But in the end it’s our decision.

So if you are having a hard day today making sense of it all and questioning what you are doing here, you are not alone.  I am right here with you in the blogesphere.  And if you are looking for a reason to get up tomorrow morning, do it because you might make a difference in someone’s life and without you it never would have happened.  Also, just maybe something good will happen to you.  The odds are a lot better than winning the Lottery.

The other reason to slog onward is because you still can make change in your own life. Get out of that awful living situation.  Find a better job.  Get a better shrink.  Change your meds.  Set something positive in motion and give yourself something to look forward too.  Kick those mood stabilizers in the ass and say “Not today, I’m making a change in my life and you aren’t going to sabotage my motivation.”  Then press the “override” button.  You know, the one between your…. Uh, you know where it is.

And of course always feel free to blog back at me.  I read everything and answer back if requested.  I’m not a doctor and have no psychotherapy credentials.  I’m just a guy who cares about other people with Bipolar Illness and those who love them.