October 17, 2009

My Bipolar Checklist

This is something I wrote a long time ago after my first panic attack in months. Thought it might be something useful to share...

Okay Linea. Here we are. Here we are again. You on the bathroom floor. Your boyfriend tired and worried. Your mind numb. Now, given that this hasn’t happened in months and months we must figure out where this came from. It’s time to use the skills that you have gained in this "vast journey" of yours.
     First. Your “Am I Depressed” checklist:
     Within the last week have you been staring a lot? Been unable to read/clean/get important things done? Have you been drinking alone? Do you spend hours sitting at the computer doing nothing? Have you been unable to cry? Do you have a need to harm yourself?
     Second, “Am I manic?”
Within the last few days have you been pacing, shaking, or cleaning excessively? Do you have a lot of repetitious thoughts, words, or phrases? Have you started the mantra of “I need, I need, I need…”? Has there been excessive spending, partying, anything?
Third, in general, have you:
     Had an upset stomach?
     Been throwing up?
     Been cutting?
     Been eating excessively?
     Been drinking excessively?
No. No. No. No. No. 
Everything checks out fine. 
This is not a bipolar episode. I often find myself checking these lists daily. If it is none of the above then I know that I am simply having the same normal feelings of pain that every other person on earth experiences. If it is none of the above then I simply need to see where the pain is coming from and then just breathe it out. Just sit with it knowing that I have been through worse. I can get through this.

October 14, 2009

Everything is Everything

I just read an article by John Frow called "A pebble, a camera, a man" on "Thing Theory" where he talks about the concept that "things, too, embody human will". He speaks about the fact that the speed bump is not merely a thing in the road, but something that gives an "instruction, on behalf of the police or some traffic control authority, to slow down on this stretch of the road". He explains that to call the speed bump "non-human" is to "ignore all the ways in which human will is translated into things and in which things in turn work as delegates which relay back to us these configurations of human will". In reading this it reminded me of my favorite phrase: "everything is everything".

When I begin talking about my belief that "everything is everything", (that everything either already is or eventually becomes connected in some way, that life always seems to find a way to circle back around, that everything has an intense interdependence upon everything else, and that every piece of this world is equally important and present within every other piece,) I am always told that I must be getting manic. I always have to laugh because though I may be going a little too far thinking that the number eleven is extremely telling in my life (because I seem to see an increase and reoccurrence before a major event), or in thinking that "rabbits are my power animal", I am certainly not the only one who sees the patterns in the world. I have even been told that people who are bipolar, or "mentally ill", see patterns more often. This may be true, and though this may make me see things a little more connected then they might actually be sometimes, I can't help but know in my soul that it's true: Everything is Everything...

"But we consist of everything the world consists of, each of us, and just as our body contains the genealogical table of evolution as far back as the fish and even much further, so we bear everything in our soul that once was alive in the soul of men. Every god and devil that ever existed, be it among the Greeks, Chinese, or Zulus, are within us, exist as latent possibilities, as wishes, as alternatives." -Hesse-