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Monday, April 04, 2011

Bipolar depressive episode: The next day...

Why am I writing about having bipolar disorder? Well, for one thing: I have it. And since this blog is about me and my thoughts and comments and adventures, the honest and genuine thing to do is to chronicle when my thoughts go full-tilt whacko beyond my control.

And I'm a writer. I write about what I know. This year marks the twentieth anniversary of me writing for publication. It sure didn't occur to me back then that someday I'd be running a fairly popular blog (I think the total number of websites on the Internet in 1991 were something like five or six) and that my most heartfelt topic was having a mental illness. But as a wiser person than I told me years ago: "Life is what God does to you when you're busy making plans".

And as I've said before: if what I'm doing now, can save others from any bit of the suffering and heartache that I have had to endure (and that others have had to endure because of me) then, this effort will have been well worth doing.

But a more personal reason is that, writing about having bipolar disorder is, in a very curious way, allowing me to fulfill my childhood ambition of... being a scientist.

What did little Chris Knight want to be when he grew up? An astronomer. A physicist. A biologist. A geologist. A geneticist. All of them at once! Especially astronomy: that's always been one of my bigger interests.

Unfortunately I had something called "discalculia" and it is to mathematics as dyslexia is to reading: it's a math disability. And math is the lingua franca of all science. Ironically it now appears that my having a mental illness all this time was one of the bigger reasons why my math skills have sucked so bad! I've been doing some experiments in the past few months and... well let's just say that for the firs time in my life I can comprehend quadratic equations. But I digress...

So I have a mental illness. A medical condition. And, I have chosen to document what it is like to have it, in an objective fashion but also what I like to believe will be characteristically my own... and that's part and parcel of having myself as the subject of study.

So more than twenty-four hours after the bipolar depressive episode that I wrote about in my last post, I am now feeling better. I am functional again, for however long it might last (and I pray it will last a long time). Most of last night I was unable to sleep because my thoughts were racing so fast, and the medication I am taking was unable in this case to quiet it down. I napped from 5 a.m. until 12 this afternoon, because my brain got too exhausted to keep up.

So right now I'm in a blissful state of creativity and productivity, and I'm about to go into Adobe Photoshop to work on something that I've had an idea for. A new product, you might say (that I might wind up selling through this blog soon).

I have mentioned her before on this blog, but now's as good a time as any to do it again: a few months ago I learned about Kay Redfield Jamison. She's a clinical psychologist who also suffers from bipolar disorder, and she has become renowned as one of the world's leading authorities on the subject. I found this page of quotes by Dr. Jamison, in which she articulates what it's like to have bipolar disorder. It's well worth a read if you're at all interested in what it means to live with this. I plan to finally read her books sometime soon, particularly An Unquiet Mind, which is all about her life with bipolar.

Hey, maybe someday y'all will see me writing a book about having this disease. Then I can hit the lecture circuit and Dr. Phil and all that jazz :-P