Bipolar Ramblings

Thoughts and rantings about my life and stuff.

Bipolar Ramblings

If anyone reads this when I have passed to the big bad beyond I shall be posthumorously embarrassed. I shall spend my entire afterlife blushing.

All my life, I always felt different and the way I felt about certain things, I knew something was wrong. When someone in my family passed away, I would feel it ten times harder than anyone else. Truthfully, it annoyed the hell out of me.

Do you know that feeling of when you’re a little kid, playing jump rope? You know, one person would be on one end turning then the other would do the same, and you’re anxiously waiting to jump in? I felt (and still feel that way) all of the time.

I guess you can say I had some form of a decent childhood. When I was born, I never slept. I never could fall asleep, nor could I stay asleep. My poor mother would try everything: rub my back, play with my hair, rub my feet, rub my arm, sing (not greatly), rocking me... Nothing at all seemed to help.

In many ways, I just knew something about me was totally different. Mentally.

When I was in the fourth grade, I had my first bout of depression. I wouldn’t sleep, I would worry about so many things (such as leaving the light on, worrying about the door not being locked, etc.) and my grades slipped. I wouldn’t sleep for days because I just felt I didn’t need to. What was sleep anyway?

When my parents saw this pattern, they finally decided to take me to a psychiatrist. After months of deliberation, and wondering what the hell was really wrong with me, the psychiatrist finally told my parents that I had ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). There was also talk that I was also experiencing pre-anxiety attacks, and there was some talk about me being bipolar.

But my parents thought that was a crazy suspicion...

My mother’s cousin, Tiny, once told my mother and father that there was a possibility I was bipolar. She noticed the signs and she went through the same thing with her son, so she felt she was being helpful in just letting my parents know the signs and warnings for me in the future.

But, again, they felt it was an insane idea.

I found out a few years ago that I am actually bipolar. I do have anxiety and I found that some mechanisms do help me. Like writing, for example.

“Why?” It keeps me focused for long enough to complete thoughts. To let each train of thought run to its conclusion and let a new one begin. It keeps me thinking. I’m afraid that if I stop writing I’ll stop thinking and start feeling. Not that writing on my notepads managed to actually empty my mind—though some would argue—but I was grateful to relieve the overflow.

Like most bipolar people, I have in fact thought about committing suicide. I used to cut, and I used to have thoughts of hanging myself and just taking it all away, leaving my empty forever. But as I stood with that noose around my neck and the blade to my wrist, I thought about a lot. And I’m glad I didn’t do it.

You see, I just did not want to take part in my life anymore. It could’ve just gone on without me; I didn’t want to give it any help. I didn’t want to see it, I didn’t want to talk to it, I didn’t want it anywhere near me. It took too much energy. I refused to be a part of it. If you have a life, even if you get used to it ruining your sleep, spoiling your fun, requiring your somewhat undivided attention, what overwhelming relief one must feel when it finally skips town, if it ever skips town.

I didn’t like having to keep the spinning plates spinning on top of all their various and sun-dried poles. They could’ve just fell off the poles and break for all I care. I censor myself and where the fuck does it get you? Gussying up your thoughts and putting them to paper.

Sometimes, I just wished that I could leave myself alone. I wished that I could finally feel that I punished myself enough. That I deserved time off for all my bad behavior. Let myself off the hook, drag myself off the rack where I am both torturer and torturee.

I ask my grandmother before she passed away, “What was I like as a child?”

“You were very serious,” my grandmother answered. “You had these big brown eyes and you were always going, ‘What’s that? What’s that?’ You wondered what everything was. You would frown and point a lot, like a conductor looking for your orchestra. You always seemed very busy, like you were between appointments all the time, but you were just a little child.” That explains a lot.

I always thought about what others thought of me. In the end, it doesn’t matter. My grandmother once said to me: “Who do you want them to think you are? How do you think people see you? Or don't you let them near enough to see? You always make up their minds for them. Do you think you succeed in convincing people that you are what you seem to be? You make people meet you on your own territory. You don't help them.”

See, what I do is I let them verbally hang themselves and then feel better about myself, my power, my own sense of worth. You see, you as a person, have the power to alienate them and if they allow it, you might even manage to make them feel awkward and foolish—foolish for letting you affect them at all. Do you want them to like you? Or are you one of those people who "don't care what people think." You're not living your life for them, so why should you give a fuck what people think? You make people come to you and, when they eventually do, you punish them with your smugness. Nothing ever out of character.

But I want people to like me. I am someone who wants very much to be popular. I don’t just want you to like me, I want to be one of the most joy-inducing human beings that you’ve ever encountered. I want to explode on your night sky like fireworks at midnight on New Year’s Eve in Hong Kong.

Sometimes I used to think that I'm afraid I'm happy, but because I expected it to be something else, I questioned the experience. So now, when in doubt, I'll assume I'm happy.

When someone tells me something negative, I may not take the criticism well, but that doesn't mean I'm not hearing it. I'll hear it later. Right now, I'm storing it in my delayed response area, because it's hard for me. I wish I was someone who welcomed criticism and immediately understood its value, but I'm not, and if I look unhappy about this, I am. But, unfortunately, it hurts all three of my moods.

I guess you can call me—alright. I hate the word. But, I guess you can call me a survivor. But, you know the bad thing about being a survivor...? You keep having to keep getting into difficult situations and keep fucking up in order to show off your gift.

I used to work in South Philadelphia, so sometimes I would just walk around the city alone. Watch the people, smell the food, the bus exhaust, the smoke coming up through the grating. It made me feel protected somehow, and I found a sense of belonging in the hectic sprawl. And the next minute I would feel like the one who couldn’t break the code, hit the right stride, catch the wave. Potholes and traffic and bums, oh my. With all the honking and the hum of movement, the living, breathing blur of noise gently pressing in on me, the great purr of SEPTA turning into a dull roar. I had felt so silent on the inside, my head as quiet as a stretch of sand, a cathedral silently worshipping the life that was all around me, storing it up for later when I needed some 'too much' to draw upon.

Another thing that grinds my gears is, does anyone really ever relax? I don't think you ever get to relax. I mean, sure there's a couple of people who could, but I bet they don't. Because by the time they get to where they could relax, they don't. Because by the time they get to where they could relax, they've gotten completely used to not being able to. How do you just suddenly become somebody who relaxes? The kind of ambition you need to get to that place is not relaxing. It's searing. I think there's probably something about living your whole life in a popularity contest—trying to get people to like you who you couldn't give a flying fuck about—that kills relaxation. But, that’s just me.

All these things in my head? These ramblings? These are what I think of on the daily and it messes me up. It really sucks because when I want to actually sleep and relax, I don’t and I can’t.

I should really let people I meet do the work of piecing me together until they can complete, or mostly complete, the puzzle. And when they’re finished they can look at the picture that they’ve managed to piece together and decide whether they like it or not. On their own time. Let them discover you.

You know how most illnesses have symptoms you can recognize? Like fever, upset stomach, chills, whatever. Well, with manic depression, it's sexual promiscuity, excessive spending, and substance abuse—and that just sounds like a fantastic weekend in Vegas to me!

In the end, I just suspect that no matter what happens I will allow these problems and things to hurt me. Eat away at my insides, as it were—as it will be. As it always has been. Why am I so accessible? Why do I give myself to people who will always and should always remain strangers? I have always relied on the cruelty of strangers and I must stop it now. And it will stop.

Well, this is me, this is my life. I suppose in part I'm telling this story now because I want all of you—and I do mean all—to know that I wasn't always a somewhat-overweight man without an upper lip to his name who can occasionally be found sleeping behind his face and always thinking in his mouth.

Read next: Never In the Cover of Night
Joey Giannini
See all posts by Joey Giannini