In the Burning Phase of My Life.

To befriend the shadow girl in the mirror…

Mood Merry-Go-Round.


It has happened, again.

I was feeling perfectly fine, minding my own business, and-BAM!

A cloud passed over my mental sunshine, and everything went dark. My magic eight ball became swimmy, and the ominous response floated up into the window…

Reply hazy, please try later.

I really hate it when this happens. My shoulders tense as though I am ready for sudden flight. To where, I don’t know. Perhaps out of the way of the cerebral predator, a mental mountain lion. Forgive the ridiculous allusion, but it’s all that my overtaxed brain can come up with right now. The wordsmith has left the building.

A couple of years ago, I identified this emotional phenomenon, gave it a name, a set of attributes, and-for better or for worse-a name.

I called it my Big Black Bird.

When these sudden seismic shifts of thought and mood crash over me, they really do feel like a pitiless and hard raven balancing on my shoulder, digging it’s claws into the tender flesh of my shoulder with cold abandon. It doesn’t matter if I stand up, lay down, pace the floor in a left-hand manner, I still feel the uneasy weight, throwing me out of balance.

What causes this? The thing is, I don’t know. For all of my ability to do in-depth internal examinations and mental State of the Union addresses, I truly don’t know. Sometimes the littlest things set the swings off. It can be as simple as too much noise in the room all going on at once, so that my obsessive-compulsive brain can’t sort the separate happenings out and place them into their own neat boxes. It could be that I am trying to do too many things at once. I notice that I am a person that needs to get tasks done in a linear fashion if I am to retain a modicum of peace. Sometimes that is just not possible. Even though I know this is true, that life gets messy and sometimes you can’t be finished properly with one thing before you have to start another, it is still a source of soul shadow for me.

So, what to do?

The old me would have run a razor blade down the thin skin on the inside of my arm. A bright bead of pain, laser-directed, and then my head would be blissfully clear. Or the dull, exquisite nerve broadcast created by a ragged fingernail being dragged on the soft skin below my ribs. Not the best management technique, but both things would leave my mind blessedly empty.

For just a brief moment.

Then, there was my old friend, Eating Disorder. Studiously ignoring the gnawing in my belly, my cold shaking hands. Brewing that fourth pot of coffee to add to the acid pit that already bubbled up. It would be impossible to focus on my mental distress while I was SO busy starving myself to death.

But, that was the past. Before the line of demarcation that treatment provided…before the option of life reared up again and reasserted itself.

So what to do now?

Sit and breathe. In and out. Focus on the breathing and nothing else. It is a steady physiological metronome upon which to hang the tentative concept of continued sanity. Could it really be this easy? Stand up. Walk over to my husband. Register the warmth and welcome in his eyes as he opens his arms to hug me for the thousandth time today. Step outside the front door, sit down in my usual chair, light up the ill-advised but oh-so-calming cigarette and feel the caress of the pre-spring breeze on my face as the night gathers itself against the day.

My husband’s easy and humorous talk makes me smile. When I go inside again, the smile is still in gentle residence on my face. Just as soon as it landed, the Big Black Bird is gone for now, and my shoulders are light again. Small miracle.

I didn’t know that life with bipolar disease would be like this.

But somehow I think I just might be okay. Not every minute of every day, but as often as I possibly can.

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March 12, 2010 Posted by | Mind Shadows. | , , , , , | 1 Comment