LIKE A MAN POSSESSED: BIPOLAR DISORDER AND ME
“Mahomes plays like a quarterback who also embraces that fear…Mahomes plays like a man possessed….It’s like watching someone cornered, staring death in the face, and making one final wild attempt at survival. Even the most surgical game-winning drives have a manic aura about them.” (Jacob Harris on Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes’ embrace of a deep, fundamental fear of losing)
Recovery, staying mentally healthy, and surviving a severe mental illness have much higher stakes to the individual sufferer than the outcome of an NFL football game. But die-hard fan that I’ve been for 44 years, all the while waiting for my Chiefs to finally get an elite QB (and ending up with a 23 year old prodigy, no less), this quote that I read about the psyche of young Patrick Mahomes inevitably resonated deeply with me.
“Cornered, staring death in the face; embracing fear; playing like a man possessed.” Those words left me shaking my head in disbelief that after 40 plus years of tenacious striving to survive the self-destructive onslaught of Bipolar Disorder and 26 years of blood, sweat, and tears to become and remain stable and sober, I had not dared to recognize or admit that the “man possessed” is me. Because I wake up “cornered, staring [a deadly, incurable disease] in the face” every day.
My healthy fear of a relapse -back into self-medicating, mania, or depression- motivates me nearly as much as the wonderous benefits of stability and sobriety.
The almost primal fear kindles a flame of passion to “go to any lengths” to stay sober and stable. A passion so intense that I work my recovery regimen “like a man possessed.”
For a 52 year old who has hit bottom several times, and led an incredibly self-destructive life, another relapse would almost certainly be lethal. I know I have another relapse in me, if I am not diligent and vigilant. But I seriously doubt I have another recovery in me.
And with strength from the Higher Power of my understanding, AA, medication, all the wonderful people who support me, and my plethora of recovery tools, I “embrace fear” and begin another day.
Every day that I am blessed to remain on Earth.