Escaping a Bipolar Brain
This morning I was watching Perception, which is a TV show wherein the lead character has schizophrenia. He, like most of us with a mental illness, is trapped inside his head – trapped inside his mental illness. Oh, he functions and everything, but his mind is still trapped inside a sick brain.
And this is how mental illness is. My friend called it the ball and chain. He says I do really well for a person who’s always weighted down like that.
And this morning, one of the characters in the TV show said, “I spend a lot of my time finding puzzles hard enough to get him [the lead character] out of his head.”
When I heard that, I burst into tears.
OK, maybe I’m unstable and that leads to tear-bursting, but also the point rang so poignant that I couldn’t deny it – I spend most of my time trying to desperately escape my bipolar brain.
Bipolar is Torture
No, not everyone will agree with me on the idea that bipolar is torture, but I find that I have to spend every second of every day dealing with my mood disorder psychologically. I find that my brain is always off and running in places I don’t want it to go and the only thing I can do is desperately chase it and try to slow it down. All I can do is erect wall after wall and try to box it into somewhere reasonable. All I can do is try and try and try. And never slip up, or forget what I’m doing. Not for a minute.
This kind of concentration is torture. Dealing with errant brain signals all day is torture. It’s a torture that others can’t see or feel, but it’s there. All the time.
So what I try to do is escape my bipolar brain when I can. It’s almost impossible. My brain yells so loudly and runs so quickly that escaping it is almost undoable, but on occasion, it occurs. But holy macaroni does it take a lot to manage it.
In all honesty, what does it is sex. But it can’t just be any old sex. It has to be sweat-drenched, claw-scratching, paint-peeling, fire-alarm-ringing sex. Really.
It’s during this activity that my brain is actually focused on something other than my crazy. It’s a goddamned miracle.
Craving an Escape from a Bipolar Brain
But the reason I burst into tears, I think, is just because hearing it from someone else made me realize how badly I want it for myself. Not the sex, which is lovely and everything, but the escape – the momentary escape from the tiresome, unending, soul-exhausting fatigue of dealing with my brain. It’s like living in a crossword puzzle where every moment is an obtuse clue requiring great pains to solve.
(Yes, in case you were wondering psychiatric meds help. Meds make it possible to even deal with a bipolar brain, but that doesn’t mean they solve every problem and that doesn’t mean that it makes the brain not sick, it just makes the bipolar brain manageable (for me). )
And oh gosh I think I deserve a break from it all. I think we all do. But the sentence of mental illness is life long and there just is no escape from a bipolar brain.
About Natasha Tracy
Natasha Tracy is an award-winning writer, speaker and consultant from the Pacific Northwest. She has been living with bipolar disorder for 18 years and has written more than 1000 articles on the subject.