Dangerous Ground  By  W. Bruce Watson
I think I'm going to start a collection of what various famous manic depressives, especially writers, have/had to say about their madness. I already mentioned what Robert Lowell said, the bit about gruesome surges of enthusiasm. Here's what Virginia Woolf said: "I married, and then my brains went up in a shower of fireworks. As an experience, madness is terrific … and not to be sniffed at, and in its lava I still find most of the things I write about. It shoots out of one everything shaped, final, not in mere driblets as sanity does." She would later say that [her] first novel was conventional, in contrast to the experimental nature of her later works, and that she wrote it "mainly to prove [to] my own satisfaction that I could keep entirely off that dangerous ground."

As I read this a sense of being cheated out of my birthright swept over me. Why haven't I experienced madness as terrific? When do I get to do that? And now with meds cloistering my soul, how will it ever happen? And when has my writing shot out of me, everything shaped and final? When do I get to have that? And then I remembered that it was the sound of galloping horses filling her head that drove her into the water, to drown. Poor thing. Shit. Dangerous ground indeed.

I guess I'll play the cards I'm dealt. I read a bit about racing thoughts the other night. I guess I don't get to do that either. You know, I don't think I'm bipolar at all. I guess I am. I don't know. It's a funny thing, this illness, this not being able to remember what it felt like when I was in its throes. But I remember enough, enough to be able to grieve over the loss of my beloved hypomania, my one true friend and confidant. What can we say about a course of treatment that relies for success in part on the patient forgetting who they were and what it was like to be them?

I don't know anything. It's at times like these that music is the only thing that's real, that means anything. The right song and a good cry can do more to calm an "unquiet mind" than all the meds that ever was. Feed the frenzy.
The truth is, after much furrowing of brow, I can't think of anything to say by way of preface to my blog. Along the way I wondered what it's purpose might be and maybe I should say a few words about that and would, except that I don't know what its purpose is, or could be, or should be. I only know that my clock is winding down and I'm so desperate to have my mind known that I could just spit! Maybe my blog could be about that. But how depressing and pretentious that could be! But hold on a second, maybe not—my therapist commented the other day how in late adulthood (AKA elder years), one is forced to deal with the sense of loss, all the time, it's always there, and it's painful, it takes great faith to live on even though one knows it's going to end and that whatever they accomplish, if anything, is not going to matter all that much. How does one find meaning or a sense of fulfillment in life knowing that it’s coming to an end? Psychologists have not written much about this if anything. It's sort of an unexamined part of adult life. It takes a lot of self-discipline to function in spite of this sense of loss—it's so easy to give up on the constant struggle, on life. A lot of people do—drinking, TV, drugs, electrosex, So, if you'll bear with me, let us examine this unexamined part of adult life.
Copyright © 2011 W. Bruce Watson, Inc. All rights reserved.  
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