Author: Karen

Bipolar Explorer

Hope you packed lightly and properly. It’s a long trip.

Over the years, I’ve come to personify this illness as my “Bipolar Explorer”. He’s a wee man who transvers the world from one pole to the other. He loves the scenery, the colours, the textures; every journey is different. He is a mass of creativity but can easily turn into a Black Hole, sucking all creative energies down a very deep, dark abyss and hide there for days, weeks, months and even years.

There are excursions where he’ll stop in and stay awhile at the Tropic of Cancer but never for very long because he still has to visit the Tropic of Capricorn, on his way to the South Pole…only to start the trip again because there is just so much to see and do. Each trip is a new experience.

B.E. is a trooper, he hikes it up those mountain pinnacles but he’s not so great with the downhill slide. Often, he finds himself stuck in a valley at best, a pit at the worst. Climbing out of those pits take a lot of effort and he, more often than not, is forced to make a stopover at the Equator, where he is, inevitably press-ganged onto the good ship Depakote, Zoloft, Tegretal and if they are not able to handle the tides, there’s Lithium, the good old reliable tug of choice.

The ships sail through the mist and its kind a sort of comforting feeling for old B.E. but the mist turns into fog and he can’t see the scenery, he can’t touch the textures. It is sameness, grey and without life. He’ll jump ship and sometimes swim north although, once in a while, he’ll take a wrong turn or jump ship too early, and end up on his way to the South Pole without the proper supplies.

That’s life with Bipolar Disorder. It is an adventure and like all adventures, it isn’t always a stay at a Sandals Resort with guided tours. Sometimes it can be described as a drop into foreign and hostile territory without a map, flashlight or guide dog.

There are times when I feel sorry for the non-explorer types. They will never experience those highs – the rush caused by the vision of that pinnacle ahead but then again, they’ll never experience the dark, dank depths of the pits either.

I have quite a bit to say on this topic and it is fantastic to be able to give voice to this, finally without fear of recriminations or being told to “SNAP OUT OF IT!!!”

It’s a manic world.


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