"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 09, 2004
ir-rev-o-ca-ble Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, from Latin irrevocabilis, from in- + revocabilis revocable
1 : not possible to revoke : UNALTERABLE [an irrevocable decision]
2 : what some decisions are, even if made in the heat of the moment
I looked at the Xerox copy of the article from 1988, and saw that it recorded an instant of great tragedy and greater heartache.
People that deal with bipolar disorder on a daily basis, as I do, have to come to grips with emotions and moods that are hugely amplified from those that a person without the disorder experiences. Our meds do a good job of pulling those moods and emotions in towards the center, but a person who has this and is unmedicated is a time bomb waiting to happen. (I, by the way, am successfully medicated. Just wanted to point that out.)
The highs a person with unmedicated bipolar experiences surpass any that are available through any psychotropic drug either legal or illegal. The extreme exhilaration, the intense glee, the breathtaking moment of risk, many find these addicting. Some so much so that they will stop their meds on purpose. For an example of what happens when that occurs, watch the Robin Williams "Unplugged" show. He has bipolar disorder, and for that show went off his meds to get the "high" and the energy level that comes with it.
Then again, for every sunny day there's a rainy one, and for every scintillating trip through the mood stratosphere, there is a crash.
The crashes are, if anything, even more intense.
Depression can hit so hard that it makes the person incapable of functioning, even incapable of normal communication. It is so deep that sadness overwhelms every facet of life, no matter how promising and bright life may actually be. And then the depression goes further down, into a vast dark empty void that would suck your very soul into it if you dared look at it.
And even beyond that, you may be dragged down to a place where you are convinced that ending it all is the only possible solution, at least to a raw, bruised and tattered mind ravaged by this illness. And that is where the illness reaches critical mass, on a day when a mind, clouded by brain chemistry gone awry, bent on destruction, is in control of a human being.
For my friend K, that fateful day in 1988 was one of those.
He lived near the Brooklyn Bridge, and decided in his despair that it would be a perfect place to end it all. It would be quick, the pain would only last an instant, and no big mess to clean up. Unlike women who opt for pill overdoses and the like, men often chose a method that is irrevokable and permanent and complete, like jumping from a high place. So he headed for the bridge, determined.
I can only imagine how he felt there, leaning out into the wind, staring at the cold forbidding water churning so far below, making his final decision, waves of unimaginable sadness engulfing him. I couldn't bear to read the details of that day from the article, so I don't know if someone tried to talk him out of it or not.
It didn't matter, because K jumped.
The Brooklyn Bridge is 119 feet from the water, over 11 stories, assuming it is high tide. His body accelerated as it fell...
...and halfway down, he changed his mind. He didn't want to die. He wanted to live.
He had time to offer a prayer to God to save him. God does his best work when faced with impossibilities.
K's body slammed into the water at over 87 miles an hour, enough to shatter bone and pulverize flesh. At that speed, water reacts like concrete.
Against all odds, K survived.
Again, I don't know the details, who picked him up, if he broke any bones, whatever. I know the important stuff, like the fact that K will have an unshakable faith in God until the day he dies.
Miracles happen. K is one of them.
Over 15 years later, K is doing well. Sure, he's had some rough spots, but he seems to have finally gotten a good diagnosis and the right cocktail of meds to connect all the dots. He is making a career from doing what he loves above all else in the world. How many of us can say that?
Some stories do have a happy ending, after all. Including the Brooklyn Bridge miracle man.
K does not regret surviving his fall, and counts it as the most miraculous moment of his life. I agree. And I'm glad he's here, so many don't survive, so many are successful in their moment of desperate escape. And so often, like my friend K, they are the best and brightest among us.
I want to see these lights burn with passion and purpose, every one. I want to see each of them reach the full limit of what they are capable of doing. They will be blessed, and the world will be blessed through them and by them.
But first, first, we have to catch them before they fall.
If you have a friend, family member, co-worker who might need help, who may be living in their own private nightmare, don't refuse them. Reach out. Be patient. Get them to a doctor. Do what ever is necessary. The rewards are beyond measure.
We all have big changes in our lives that are more or less a second chance.
Harrison Ford, quoted by Garry Jenkins in 'Harrison Ford: Imperfect Hero'
US movie actor (1942 - )