“Jimi Hendrix was able to describe the experiences of manic depressives in 3 minutes and 47 seconds. The song ‘Manic Depression’ provokes euphoria, sorrow and, most of all, a longing for expression, in me anyway. The music mirrors my streams of thought, consciousness and emotions at any given time. When all of these things are synchronized, it is bliss, even with the imagery of ‘goin on down.’ I have not found a song that captures the wiring of my brain like this one does. Thanks, Jimi. I owe you.
“When things are out of sync, it is not so pleasant. Dozens of thoughts are racing and my emotions are intense and unmanageable; the experience is far from bliss. The agitation is so extreme that I have to be alone. My thoughts begin to betray me. Everyone becomes a suspect. Reality is distorted at best. Any distraction is welcome but fleeting. Sleep is the goal but impossible. I am exhausted and wired. Soon I will be hitting the sheets for an unspecified amount of time.”
– Courtesy of Josh Martin, diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age 23
I don’t know if this is what it’s like for everyone with a mood disorder. I am not sure the average person would even understand what Josh is attempting to describe. My hope is that this quick glimpse into the mind of a manic depressive will not evoke fear, but, rather, understanding. Mood disorders can be frightening, but they don’t have to be.
The good news is that mood fluctuations are temporary and often predictable, especially if properly diagnosed and treated. It is possible to stay a step ahead of the disorder.
How did bipolar disorder become such a frightening condition? Like most psychiatric disorders, BPD is not talked about very often. How did the association between BPD and violence become what it is? What image comes to mind when you hear bipolar disorder or manic depression?