In Good Company…

I have openly written about my bipolar disorder many times before. I even had a separate blog for it once upon a time. I still utilize that blog now and then when I just feel like seeing my random, skewed thoughts in black and white but not necessarily form a blog post about them. I think the last time I was there was October of last year. (2009).

Anyway, it seems to me to separate that part of my life is to pull out a big chunk of who I am and put it somewhere else, further perpetuating the stigma of mental illness. Fact of the matter is, I find a certain beauty in being beautifully fucked up. Crazy beautiful. That’s what I like to call it.

While surfing around these interwebz, I found myself in pretty good company. Want a list of other fucked up famous people? Here’s a few of my fav’s:

Buzz Aldrin, astronaut. Yes. We put a fucked up person on the moon. Then again, how do we actually know he was there? Maybe he just pretended to be while he was off his meds and his full account of being there was just a figment of his imagination.

Jim Carrey, actor. This should really not surprise you. Jim’s has had well-documented freak outs over the course of his career. Plus, I really don’t think he’s an actor. He is just being Jim. If he weren’t bipolar, he probably wouldn’t be nearly as funny. Bipolar people, for the most part, are pretty creative and funny. At least, that’s what we tell ourselves.

T S Eliot, poet. Okay. This dude wrote an entire ode to a Cat. Or, rather, a bunch of cats. For some reason, crazy people are often associated with cats. You don’t make fun of the crazy dog lady. No. It’s always the crazy cat lady who shares the Nine Lives with Fluffy and Waldo. Dog people don’t get our special brand of crazy.

Sigmund Freud, physician. *blank stare* Yeah. This one sort of speaks for itself. Next?

Marilyn Monroe, actress. Ah, Miss Marilyn. The quintessential poster child for the manic depressive. She’s up, she’s down. She’s high. She’s low. She’s pristine. She’s promiscuous. This is one of the more tragic cases of crazy on my list, because she really did have the world by the balls once upon a time. A big trademark of someone with manic depression is an over-sized ego that basically masks low self esteem. Oh, and large breasts. And a desire to sleep with the President. Barack is kinda hot now that I think about it…

Edgar Allen Poe, author. You’re seeing a lot of poets/authors and actors on this list. That is because really talented people are generally fucked in the head. Where do you think our creativity comes from? Life experience? Certainly…OUR life experiences which are vastly different than those of you “normies”. Poe writes about sex with corpses and black birds and tolling bells and Nevermore’s. He’s a scary bastard. Not Charles Manson scary…but the gentle scary of a person with bipolar disorder. We generally are not violent people…unless provoked.

Margot Kidder, actor. Another actor with a well-documented history of losing her mind. For four days, she roamed the streets of Hollywood, disheveled, dirty, homeless, without her teeth. Then again, she kind of sounds like my grandmother. Ah, but she has bipolar as well, so it’s all good. History of drug addiction. Another problem with we manic depressives are our addictive personalities. Sex, drugs…and obviously, Superman.

Vincent van Gogh, painter/artist. Yeah. Four words for you. Ear in a box. Which, of course, should not be confused with THIS which was epically funny but not at all related to mental illness. Well, maybe just a touch of borderline personality disorder with a dab of narcissism and a side salad of histrionic.

So, as you can see, I’m feeling pretty good about the company I’m keeping. And sure, someone will flame me for making light of the disease. But, keep your blood pressure in check. This is MY disease too. This is my life. I live and struggle with the wonders and the agonies of bipolar disorder every single day. I, however, choose to make light of an illness that nearly brought me to my knees once upon a time. Sometimes, you have to laugh…lest you never stop crying.

Lastly, let me leave you with a quote from someone with bipolar disorder that I admire greatly. Princess Leia. What can I say? I’m a sucker for chicks with cinnamon rolls on the side of their head. Plus, she has a Wookie.

But, seriously?

Bipolar disorder can be a great teacher. It’s a challenge, but it can set you up to be able to do almost anything else in your life.

Truer words were never spoken and this time, I’m not laughing.

15 thoughts on “In Good Company…

  1. Barnmaven

    I have a love/hate relationship with my bipolar illness, but I’m learning to embrace it more. I’m mildly BP, but my eight yo daughter is severely so and so I now see managing my own bipolar as a very great responsibility.

    Once I learned to manage my illness better, I learned to appreciate even some of the painful realities of each change in cycle. Down cycle can be sad, but it is nice to have an excuse to watch movies that make me cry and sleep longer, to sit more and do less. I struggle less with the fact that I don’t keep up with everything because I know that before long, when mania comes a’knocking, things WILL get done. I love how gregarious and outgoing I am when I am manic, I love how I can knock a conversation out of the ballpark because I feel good about myself.

    Now that I know how to keep myself from making bad choices in mania and from hurting myself in depression, its better. And I hope that I am teaching my daughter that her illness, as a part of her life, when managed properly, is really OK.

  2. J R Estelle

    You know, one of my former roommates was bipolar as was an ex-girlfriend.

    Neither took their meds like they promised they would and it was very difficult for me to be around them. My ex became very violent among other things.

    I don’t understand why people who have access to the medication won’t take it. I don’t think people who are bi-polar are crazy, but the ups and downs that most medication can control have got to be a horrendous feeling that I can’t imagine.

    In all seriousness, how can someone be more “understanding”, if the only experience you’ve had is with people who just won’t take their meds?

  3. CP

    Let me answer that for you as best I can.

    There is a feeling of “defeat” that comes with taking meds. When you are bipolar, you want so badly to be “normal”. And, of course, normal people (whatever that means to you) do not have to take meds to control their moods. The medications, while a blessing in some aspects, are a curse in others. On the low end of the scale, there is weight gain and the feeling of being sluggish all the time. Yes, your mood are controlled…but you start to feel like…”is this the REAL me, or is this the medication talking?” You feel displaced, not REAL and uncomfortable in your own skin. So, in an attempt to be normal, you get off the medication when you start to feel good. They can make you feel a little invincible, therefore putting the notion that you CAN function without them in your head. So, we tend to get off our meds to see how we do on our own. Some do well, others, not so much.

    It’s very frustrating to be on medications ALL the time for a disease that very few people actually accept as a real disorder. There is such a stigma attached to being bipolar. Right away, you are thought of as “crazy”. We’re not. We’re just people who are trying our hardest to do what comes naturally to most…which is just to live our lives without being in constant crisis or turmoil.

    When someone says they want to stop chemotherapy because of the way it makes them feel, people get that. They understand it and are compassionate. When a person with a mental illness feels the same way, they are looked down upon. They are subjected to people thinking we don’t want to be helped. We do. We just want so badly to function like everyone else does, that we do desperate things.

    Also, sometimes getting off our medication is PART of our disease. It is a part of either our mania or depression not being well controlled. A rational person would not stop taking the medications that are helping them to live. So, obviously, if we are willing to take chances with our lives and health…perhaps our disorder is not as well controlled as we would like to believe.

    I hope some of that makes sense to you.

  4. CP

    Barnmaven – I completely get that. *nods* When I am medicated, I feel blah. I feel like i have no personality…no creativity, that there is nothing beautiful in my world. So, sometimes, I step off to feel that rush of mania. And things DO get done. I work harder, I focus better and I challenge myself. But oh, when that depression rolls around…I am in agony. Absolute agony. It is so mentally painful that I feel it in a physical capacity as well.

    But what you are doing, controlling your BPD for the sake of your daughter is a wonderful blessing for her. She is very lucky to have a mom who understands this disease and can only benefit from that. Good luck to you both.

  5. heartinsanfrancisco

    This is the most informative account of bipolar disorder I have ever read. I don’t have it, but people I love and am close to do so I need to understand as well as an “outsider” possibly can. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  6. Big Mama

    Hey I just wanted to pop in and say that I’ve missed you the last couple of months, hope all is well.

    You are in great company. Sometimes when I think of you and “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger” runs through my mind. You are wonderfully strong and we wouldn’t have you any other way.

    Big Mama

  7. Carrie

    Quoting you: “Fact of the matter is, I find a certain beauty in being beautifully fucked up. Crazy beautiful. That’s what I like to call it.”

    My Psychiatrist/VNS doc once called me ‘deliciously complicated’ and I found that to be a perfect description — and compliment!

    P.S. Have missed you, girl!


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