We see her go through dangerous mood-swings, but I tried never to come right out and say "Annie was depressed and possibly suicidal that day" or "Annie seemed particularly happy that day."If I have to tell you, I lose. If, on the other hand, I can show you a silent, dirty-haired woman who compulsively gobbles cake and candy, then have you draw the conclusion that Annie is in the depressive part of a manic-depressive cycle, I win.
The point about manic depression or bipolar disorder, as it's now more commonly called, is that it's about mood swings. So, you have an elevated mood. When people think of manic depression, they only hear the word depression. They think one's a depressive. The point is, one's a manic-depressive.
You see, people in the depressive position are often stigmatised as 'failures' or 'losers'. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. If these people are in the depressive position, it is most probably because they have tried too hard or taken on too much, so hard and so much that they have made themselves 'ill with depression'. In other words, if these people are in the depressive position, it is because their world was simply not good enough for them. They wanted more, they wanted better, and they wanted different, not just for themselves, but for all those around them. So if they are failures or losers, this is only because they set the bar far too high. They could have swept everything under the carpet and pretended, as many people do, that all is for the best in the best of possible worlds. But unlike many people, they had the honesty and the strength to admit that something was amiss, that something was not quite right. So rather than being failures or losers, they are just the opposite: they are ambitious, they are truthful, and they are courageous. And that is precisely why they got 'ill'. To make them believe that they are suffering from some chemical imbalance in the brain and that their recovery depends solely or even mostly on popping pills is to do them a great disfavour: it is to deny them the precious opportunity not only to identify and address important life problems, but also to develop a deeper and more refined appreciation of themselves and of the world around them-and therefore to deny them the opportunity to fulfil their highest potential as human beings.
This is the great lesson the depressive learns: Nothing in the world is inherently compelling. Whatever may be really 'out there' cannot project itself as an affective experience. It is all a vacuous affair with only a chemical prestige. Nothing is either good or bad, desirable or undesirable, or anything else except that it is made so by laboratories inside us producing the emotions on which we live. And to live on our emotions is to live arbitrarily, inaccurately-imparting meaning to what has none of its own. Yet what other way is there to live? Without the ever-clanking machinery of emotion, everything would come to a standstill. There would be nothing to do, nowhere to go, nothing to be, and no one to know. The alternatives are clear: to live falsely as pawns of affect, or to live factually as depressives, or as individuals who know what is known to the depressive. How advantageous that we are not coerced into choosing one or the other, neither choice being excellent. One look at human existence is proof enough that our species will not be released from the stranglehold of emotionalism that anchors it to hallucinations. That may be no way to live, but to opt for depression would be to opt out of existence as we consciously know it.
At heart, I have always been a coper, I've mostly been able to walk around with my wounds safely hidden, and I've always stored up my deep depressive episodes for the weeks off when there was time to have an abbreviated version of a complete breakdown. But in the end, I'd be able to get up and on with it, could always do what little must be done to scratch by.
The Chinese believe that before you can conquer a beast you first must make it beautiful. In some strange way, I have tried to do that with manic-depressive illness. It has been a fascinating, albeit deadly, enemy and companion; I have found it to be seductively complicated, a distillation both of what is finest in our natures, and of what is most dangerous.
Kay Redfield Jamison
They say there's so much beauty in the world, but I don't see it. Perhaps that's my problem. Am I crazy for having major depressive disorder, or is the rest of the population crazy for not having it? How do you even define sanity? Is it the will to live another day in spite of a lifetime of failures? Or is it the desire to keep going after you've lost everything you really, truly cared about?
Cyma Rizwaan Khan
Depression, somehow, is much more in line with society's notions of what women are all about: passive, sensitive, hopeless, helpless, stricken, dependent, confused, rather tiresome, and with limited aspirations. Manic states, on the other hand, seem to be more the provenance of men: restless, fiery, aggressive, volatile, energetic, risk taking, grandiose and visionary, and impatient with the status quo. Anger or irritability in men, under such circumstances, is more tolerated and understandable; leaders or takers of voyages are permitted a wider latitude for being temperamental. Journalists and other writers, quite understandably, have tended to focus on women and depression, rather than women and mania. This is not surprising: depression is twice as common in women as men. But manic-depressive illness occurs equally often in women and men, and, being a relatively common condition, mania ends up affecting a large number of women. They, in turn, often are misdiagnosed, receive poor, if any, psychiatric treatment, and are at high risk for suicide, alcoholism, drug abuse, and violence. But they, like men who have manic-depressive illness, also often contribute a great deal of energy, fire, enthusiasm, and imagination to the people and world around them.
Kay Redfield Jamison
Depressive lucidity, usually described as a radical withdrawal from ordinary human concerns, generally manifests itself by a profound indifference to things which are genuinely of minor interest. Thus it is possible to imagine a depressed lover, while the idea of a depressed patriot seems frankly inconceivable.
In this town you can be a wife-beating, manic-depressive crack-head and everyone opens their arms to you. They say, "Hey, pal, don't worry about it. We'll get you into recovery. It's all part of the journey." But if you become a born-again Christian and love Jesus Christ and want to share that with other people, they say, "You've committed the unpardonable sin.
I contemplate the idea that maybe I'm an alcoholic. I get this occassionally, the need to define myself as something-or-the-other, and at various times in my life have wondered if I'm a Goth, a homosexul, a Jew, a Catholic or a manic depressive, whether I am adopted, or have a hole in my heart, or possess the ability to move objects with the power of my mind, and have always, most regretfully, come to the conclusion that I'm none of the above. The fact is I'm actually not ANYTHING.
Selling your apartment in New York is like dating a manic-depressive.. you get used to cycles of elation and despondency. Every time someone would come to see the apartment, there was the thrill of the date. You want to be presentable, so you clean the place up, make sure it smells good, put on some mood lighting and mellow music.
There is no common standard for education about diagnosis. Distinguishing between bipolar depression and major depressive disorder, for example, can be difficult, and mistakes are common. Misdiagnosis can be lethal. Medications that work well for some forms of depression induce agitation in others.
Kay Redfield Jamison
I spoke so much about being a manic-depressive. I want to bring everyone back to my earliest memories of this companion of mine. Some people call this companion I have an ailment, or worse a terrible nightmare from which some people cannot awaken. I know that I have nothing to be ashamed of. I have nothing that should garner a stigma.
Nature is, above all, profligate. Don't believe them when they tell you how economical and thrifty nature is, whose leaves return to the soil. Wouldn't it be cheaper to leave them on the tree in the first place? This deciduous business alone is a radical scheme, the brainchild of a deranged manic-depressive with limitless capital. Extravagance! Nature will try anything once.
When you read the [Twilight series], it's like saying 'Edward Cullen is so beautiful I creamed myself'. I mean every line is like that. He's the most ridiculous person who's so amazing at everything. I think a lot of actors tried to play that aspect. I just couldn't do it. And the more I read the script, the more I hated this guy, so that's how I played him, as a manic-depressive who hates himself. Plus, he's a 108-year old virgin, so there's clearly some issues there
A friend called the other day. 'How are you?' she said. The sun was shining, the sky a merciless blue. It was only eleven in the morning but I had been awake since three twenty. I was in bed because, as usual, I could think of nowhere else to go. I said that I was feeling low. Low is the depressive's euphemism for despair. She said: 'How can you be depressed on a day like this?' I wanted to say: 'If I had flu, would you ask me how I could be sick on a day like this?
Since I am suffering with type 2 bipolar disorder mainly on the depressive side of the bipolar disorder. I am not afraid nor am I disappointed with it; if this is what God Almighty want me to have; I will make sure that I will make good use of this disorder; and, be the best person that I can be.
Leonard and Virginia married in August 1912. Virginia was 30. Soon after her marriage she suVered another breakdown and her mental health declined sporadically over the following year, culminating in a suicide attempt in September 1913. They were advised against having children because of Virginia's recurring depressive illness, a cause of some regret to her, and a point of much heated debate among her later biographers.
Depression, when it's clinical, is not a metaphor. It runs in families, and it's known to respond to medication and to counseling. However truly you believe there's a sickness to existence that can never be cured, if you're depressed you will sooner or later surrender and say: I just don't want to feel bad anymore. The shift from depressive realism to tragic realism, from being immobilized by darkness to being sustained by it, thus strangely seems to require believing in the possibility of a cure...
I have often asked myself whether, given the choice, I would choose to have manic-depressive illness. If lithium were not available to me, or didn't work for me, the answer would be a simple no... and it would be an answer laced with terror. But lithium does work for me, and therefore I can afford to pose the question. Strangely enough, I think I would choose to have it. It's complicated...
Kay Redfield Jamison
I primarily use poetry as a purge, a self-medication device when I'm in the depths of loneliness, anxiety or in the throes of depression. When I'm lost in the darkness of mental illness, I spill forth a deluge of words and prose that are oftentimes grim, dark and depressive. And when my poems are spilled forth into one of my poetry journals, I feel a weight has been indeed been lifted from me, and my mind can rest just a bit easier.
The tragedy of a species becoming unfit for life by over-evolving one ability is not confined to humankind. Thus it is thought, for instance, that certain deer in paleontological times succumbed as they acquired overly-heavy horns. The mutations must be considered blind, they work, are thrown forth, without any contact of interest with their environment. In depressive states, the mind may be seen in the image of such an antler, in all its fantastic splendour pinning its bearer to the ground.
Peter Wessel Zapffe
My mom was a manic depressive schizophrenic who, after a year in prison, went home and shot herself. My sister, Kirsten, an amazing poet, who was raised by this woman, and was dating a guy who broke up with her for the fourth time in three weeks. And one day, she came to his house, got a gun, and blew her brains out all over his headboard. I just went through a divorce, five years in court and cost me $2 million dollars. If anyone, by law, should be forced to take antidepressants it's me... But instead, I choose to be an antidepressant. And you can take me with alcohol.
My stay in Camp Betty was the longest I'd been without drink or drugs in my adult life. [...] At first, they put me in a room with a guy who owned a bowling alley, but he snored like an asthmatic horse, so I moved and ended up with a depressive mortician. [...] The mortician snored even louder than the bowling alley guy - he was like a moose with a tracheotomy.
One of the great tragedies of life, it seems to me, is when a person classifies himself as someone who has no talents or gifts. When, in disgust or discouragement, we allow ourselves to reach depressive levels of despair because of our demeaning self-appraisal, it is a sad day for us and a sad day in the eyes of God. For us to conclude that we have no gifts when we judge ourselves by stature, intelligence, grade-point average, wealth, power, position, or external appearance is not only unfair but unreasonable.
Marvin J. Ashton
Something which is against natural laws seems to me rather out of the question because it would be a depressive idea about God. It would make God smaller than he must be assumed. When he stated that these laws hold, then they hold, and he wouldn't make exceptions. This is too human an idea. Humans do such things, but not God.
Far too many doctors-many of them excellent physicians-commit suicide each year; one recent study concluded that, until quite recently, the United States lost annually the equivalent of a medium-sized medical school class from suicide alone. Most physician suicides are due to depression or manic-depressive illness, both of which are eminently treatable. Physicians, unfortunately, not only suffer from a higher rate of mood disorders than the general population, they also have a greater access to very effective means of suicide.
Kay Redfield Jamison
Despite popular opinion, there are no important parallels between Madonna and Monroe, who was a virtuoso comedienne but who was in secure, depressive, passive-aggressive, and infuriatingly obstructionist in her career habits. Madonna is manic, perfectionist, workaholic. Monroe abused alcohol and drugs, while Madonna shuns them. Monroe had a tentative, melting, dreamy solipsism; Madonna has Judy Holliday's wisecracking smart mouth and Joan Crawford's steel will and bossy, circus master managerial competence.
Nature is, above all, profligate. Don't believe them when they tell you how economical and thrifty nature is, whose leaves return to the soil. Wouldn't it be cheaper to leave them on the tree in the first place? This deciduous business alone is a radical scheme, the brainchild of a manic-depressive with limitless capital. Extravagance! Nature will try anything once. This is what the sign of the insects says. No form is too gruesome, no behavior too grotesque. If you're dealing with organic compounds, then let them combine. If it works, if it quickens, set it clacking on the grass; there's always room for one more; you ain't so handsome yourself. This is a spendthrift economy; thought nothing is lost, all is spent.