Tag Archives: bipolar

Kay Redfield Jamison Quotes

“There is a particular kind of pain, elation, loneliness, and terror involved in this kind of madness. When you’re high it’s tremendous. The ideas and feelings are fast and frequent like shooting stars, and you follow them until you find better and brighter ones. Shyness goes, the right words and gestures are suddenly there, the power to captivate others a felt certainty. There are interests found in uninteresting people. Sensuality is pervasive and the desire to seduce and be seduced irresistible. Feelings of ease, intensity, power, well-being, financial omnipotence, and euphoria pervade one’s marrow. But, somewhere, this changes. The fast ideas are far too fast, and there are far too many; overwhelming confusion replaces clarity. Memory goes. Humor and absorption on friends’ faces are replaced by fear and concern. Everything previously moving with the grain is now against– you are irritable, angry, frightened, uncontrollable, and enmeshed totally in the blackest caves of the mind. You never knew those caves were there. It will never end, for madness carves its own reality.”
Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness

 

“I long ago abandoned the notion of a life without storms, or a world without dry and killing seasons. Life is too complicated, too constantly changing, to be anything but what it is. And I am, by nature, too mercurial to be anything but deeply wary of the grave unnaturalness involved in any attempt to exert too much control over essentially uncontrollable forces. There will always be propelling, disturbing elements, and they will be there until, as Lowell put it, the watch is taken from the wrist.”
Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness

I’m a hard act to follow.

“I compare myself with my former self, not with others. Not only that, I tend to compare my current self with the best I have been, which is when I have been mildly manic. When I am my present “normal” self, I am far removed from when I have been my liveliest, most productive, most intense, most outgoing and effervescent. In short, for myself, I am a hard act to follow.”

― Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness

A 2-year pattern

Since I’m awake, I thought I’d write about this discovery.

I’ve been reading old journals.  This is something I wrote in July 2005:

humours

I’ve been having rather dramatic mood swings lately. I wake up in the morning a raging egomaniac, convinced that a dozen easy paths to fame and riches lie open to me. In the afternoon I am steeped in self-recrimination, preoccupied by some idiotic thing I said five years ago. In the evening I am inspired to dip my feet in the creek and sit for an hour, mesmerized and moved to tears by the beauty of the moonlight on the water. At night I lie awake, breathing the unloving darkness in gasps, bone-lonesome ’til I sleep.

That was 2005.  There were a lot of journal entries from that fall.

Of course, I didn’t recognize this as mania at the time.  I didn’t know I was bipolar until 2007, when I had my first full-blown manic episode.  An episode that resulted in many things, including the dramatic explosion of my life in New York.

Then go back to fall/winter of 2003/4, and I find most of the poetry I ever wrote.  Which is significant because hypertextuality is a hallmark symptom of mania.  Rhyming, punning, and spontaneously beginning to write poetry,  even for people who have had no previous interest in poetry, are all quite typical symptoms of a manic episode.

Fast-forward to 2009, and I find my second full-manic episode, which, though less dramatic overall, led to the commission of a crime thatlanded me in prison for a year.

So my discovery is this:  2003, 2005, 2007, 2009.  It seems to happen every other year, towards the fall.

Sleep

It’s 3:00 am.  I couldn’t sleep, and then I slept for two hours, and now I’m wide awake again.  This is just what has become normal for me over the past couple of months.  For weeks I haven’t slept more than five hours in a night.  Except for last night, having a cold and after a long day’s traveling, I was finally able to sleep a full nine.  Which I’m paying for tonight, it seems.

Sleep irregularity is one of the hallmark symptoms of bipolar disorder.  Insomnia, hypersomnia.  In the past few years I’ve had more and more extreme troubles with sleep.  And I hate it.  Hate it.

Sleeping too much, too little, odd hours.  Feeling tired all the time.  Wanting sleep, craving it, worrying about it.  Being the only one awake at 4 in the morning day after day.  I hate it.

If I could just sleep 8 hours every night, I think that, more than anything else, would signal that I’m alright.

head:

I’ve grass stains on my shirt
We squirmed like worms in dirt
I love the way you curled
Just like a flag unfurled
Snapping in the wind
To call the troops back in
But before I marched back North
I drank my dollar’s worth
You drew me in like breath
Your little gasping death
I like it in the South
I love you with my mouthIt’s 2:00 am.  I slept for two hours, and now I’m wide awake.  This is just an extreme version of what has become normal for me over the past few weeks.  In two weeks I haven’t slept more than five hours in a night.  Except for last night, after a few beers, I was finally able to sleep a full nine.  Which I’m paying for tonight, it seems.

Sleep irregularity is one of the hallmark symptoms of bipolar disorder.  Insomnia, hypersomnia.  In the past few years I’ve had more and more extreme troubles with sleep.  And I hate it.  Hate it.

Sleeping too much, too little, odd hours.  Feeling tired all the time.  Wanting sleep, craving it, worrying about it.  Being the only one awake at 4 in the morning day after day.  I hate it.

If I could just sleep 8 hours every night, I think that, more than anything else, would signal that I’m alright.