My Beautiful Bipolar Mind
I have Bipolar Disorder. My mind is wired to process information and to make decisions differently than minds that are not Bipolar.
Left to its own devices, my mind will attack me in myriad nefarious ways, And it has landed me in more hot water than all the geysers in Yellowstone.
Bipolar Disorder will tear it up….
Black and White Thinking ☑️
Skewed, Distorted Thinking ☑️
Clinical Depression ☑️
Mania and Hypomania ☑️
Emotional Reasoning ☑️
Suicidal Ideation ☑️
In my 51years of surviving through, and living with, Bipolar Disorder, I have experienced each of the above symptoms and states of being. They were often brutal, agonizing, and punishing. There were many times when I felt I had reached the end of my rope. By God’s grace, I held on.
So how can I possibly posit that this entity within me, the brain that has tortured me, has tried to kill me, and has harmed others relentlessly and mercilessly is “beautiful?”
Paradoxical as it may sound, My Beautiful Mind, along with God and my tenacity, are the precise reasons I am alive and free today.
Even as the dysfunction of my mind led me to make monumentally self-destructive, foolish decisions that were sometimes harmful to others, its extra candlepower enabled me to keep functioning in very desperate circumstances.
As much as I hated my brain for the torture it inflicted upon others and me, I almost always found safe harbor in the intellectual firepower with which God blessed me. My emotional intelligence was that of a toddler for many years. But my native intelligence enabled me to function in society. Albeit near the bottom.
But I didn’t really appreciate that I had a Beautiful Mind, and that my mental illness was a gift, until I was driven by the lash of untreated Bipolar Disorder into a spiritual way of living. Both through AA and my other recovery modalities.
Over my 25 years of fits and starts of realizing stablity and sobriety, I have embraced counter-cultural, “insane” ideas and practices like surrendering to a Higher Power, sacrifice, rigorous honestly, humility, love as a verb, faith, hope, courage, other-centeredness, and a life of service.
Consequently, over the last 8 years, the AA Promises from page 83 of the Big Book have come true for me. I have harvested the fruits of the spirit from Galatians 5:22-23. I am comfortable in my own skin. I experience peace of mind. I feel loved and that I belong. One day at a time. By God’s grace. And I wouldn’t trade any of it, or the regimen I employ to maintain it, for one single thing the Matrix has to offer.
My Beautiful Bipolar Mind led me (or, to be more accurate, dragged me) to a spiritually based way of living that has penetrated me to my core. It has seeped into the very DNA of my soul.
The life I lived on the fringes of society while I had untreated Bipolar Disorder was all the more immiserating because I didn’t fit in to the Matrix of consumerism, material achievement, status, or any of the other hollow elements of Americanism portrayed in Sinclair Lewis’s Babbitt. Yet I was “supposed to,” and I punished myself without mercy for my inability to assimilate.
Today, I feel a sense of belonging with my brothers and sisters in recovery and with all the suffering outcasts of the false, perfectionist Matrix in which we are immersed at birth. Indoctrinated to believe is “The Way.”
I no longer perpetually pursue, nor pummel myself for “failing to attain,” wealth, adoration, instant gratification, winning, being right, dominating others, imposing my will, being the best, transactional relationships, accumulating material possessios beyond what I need, gluttonous fulfillment of my desires, or other illusory forms of “joy” the Matrix offers.
Thanks to My Beautiful Bipolar Mind, The Matrix no longer enslaves me in miserable bondage.
As long as I remain spiritually fit, when confronted with the Matrix, I find myself metaphorically surrounded by harmless cascading green bits and bytes. Like Neo.
And I know from lived experience that there are millions more Neos out there. I am blessed to be closely connected with some of them.
They are my people.