"From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me."
Walt Whitman (1819-92)
"When I look back now over my life and call to mind what I might have had simply for taking and did not take, my heart is like to break."
Akhenaton (d. c.1354 BC)
And now, the current weather, from some random person we pulled off the street:
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
kin-dred Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from kin + Old English r[AE]den condition, from r[AE]dan to advise, read
1 a : a group of related individuals b : one's relatives
2 : family relationship : KINSHIP
3 : a spirit that you sometimes encounter
Tonight I met a kindred spirit of sorts. And inside, I wept for them.
As a person with bipolar disorder, I am subject to amplified emotions and moods. With me, anyway, the medication controls it and thus I am rehabilitated. Others aren't so lucky.
Even so, I remember with crystal clarity the things that I felt and the thoughts I had before my diagnosis and treatment. Even the thoughts and reactions that were produced by the illness and not really part of me.
Living with bipolar for 35 years or so, undiagnosed, my mind had gotten into some extremely damaging ways of thinking. One of them that I believe is a hallmark of this illness is what I call "reverse causation." Yeah, it's a fancy name, but if you've lived it, you kinda have the right to pick a name like that.
What it really means is simple. It means that normal people have cause then effect. People with bipolar can have effect then cause. It's backwards, reversed, wrong.
For example, a "normal" person may get to know somebody, then fall in love. On the other hand, a person with bipolar may feel an intense flood of love, then try to fixate on who is causing it, frequently experiencing elaborate fantasies about relationships with people they have never had such a relationship with, and even encouraging themselves by thinking that the other person loves them just as passionately and intensely as they do.
It's kind of like when the Faerie Queen Titania in Midsummer Night's Dream is drugged by Puck and falls in undying love with a tradesman with the head of a donkey who happens to be sleeping beside her when she awakens.
In a word, it's obsession. But more than just obsession, it's obsession powered with rocket fuel.
It can lead to some very bizarre behavior. It can wreck families and destroy lives. It can even, in extreme cases, lead to imprisonment for stalking.
Fortunately, I never got to that point.
Without the medication, this disease can be almost impossible to fight. And so I found it. But I was so horrified at what was happening in my mind, at the wrongness of it, that I was able to keep control. I remember telling friends what my thoughts were, and at the same time telling them how baffled I was at this flood of emotion that was so, so out of place.
Some people can't fight it. The sheer power of the emotion simply swamps them like a paper cup in an angry sea. They go under, knowing it's wrong, and embracing every last minute of it, helpless.
This is the part of the illness that no one ever really talks about, this amplification of emotions. But to someone who has it, it is the hallmark and sign, the thing we do battle with every day.
I have met several others with the illness that experienced amplified desires. If uncontrolled, they cause all kinds of trouble. This is fairly common among those with this illness, when untreated.
But tonight was the first time I ever heard another person use the term "obsession." When they described their experience, I saw and heard myself.
It was good, after all this time, to know that at least one other person knew what it was like.
A kindred spirit.
One who truly understands.
And oh, I wish you didn't. I'm so sorry.
You are always insane when you are in love.
-- Sigmund Freud