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This is Life

by Serina Matteson about a year ago in bipolar
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One Fatal Night

Occasionally, you meet someone who claims without trepidation that they want to know what you are thinking, seeing, hearing, feeling when they realize you are having a manic episode. Yes, a close friend, all one of them, wants to see inside your mind so they can better HELP you. God bless her. She meant well; I know that now, but it still stings when I think back on that all to predictable day. To this day I know she truly and sincerely wanted to help. I naturally hesitated but nonetheless, I let her in. Never again. My experience went a little something like this.

“This is life, my dear friend. I knew today was going to be different when I bounced out of my bed. I did not trip over my shoes like I usually do so that was the first good sign. Maybe I am going to feel, dare I say, happy instead of frustrated and angry at the world. What was the tip-off? The colors.” I reinforced to her that I was not speaking metaphorically.

“The colors. Can’t you see? The colors are so magnificence they blind me.” I continued with my description of mania. “When I walked outside this morning, the flowers stood at attention. The illuminating colors of God’s creations were like a frolicking parade of vibrant rainbows. Most days I only see dull, muted colors of grey. Oh, so boring, depressing, and drab greys. But not today.” I put her face in my hands and stared intently into her eyes and said, “No, today I see periwinkle, turquoise, indigo, fuchsia, and amber. See the trees? I bet you would say they are green. But no sweetie they are not. See how they are beginning to turn? Today they are screaming xanthous.” I released her head from my hands once I watched her eyes grow slightly rounder in shape. I had a sudden urge to stop elaborating on my mood but resisted and continued forward on our journey together.

“Let’s get off this porch and into the warm sunshine. Grab my sunglasses, please. OH, and my cigarettes.” I took her hand and lead her down the steps and we walked toward the open field beside my home. “When I have a day like today the first thing that goes through my busy mind is, ‘Oh know. Why can I not just have one freaking day of happy normalcy that does not come with impending, complicated, and probably severe consequences?’” She tried to interject but of course, the thoughts had already hit warp speed and the brakes had gone out so she could not get a word in edgewise. “See these glasses? These are not rose-colored glasses. Not for me or others that share similar genetics or diagnoses. These have those cursed bipolar lenses. Damn, these lenses make everything bewitching. The flowers smell incredibly sugary and you want to devour them. In fact, there is a flower over in that direction that you can boil up into a tea to drink and you will trip your ass off! But I do not like partaking in that because I have a hard enough time controlling my mind now. And dear you are just too fragile. With these bipolar lenses on, I see a long-lost stranger when I stand in front of the mirror. She is much younger and ravishing. Her boobs do not sag, there is no cellulite on her thighs, she has this flat, ripped stomach going on, and not a line on her face. DAMN, she looks good. You know what let’s go inside.” This time she reached for my hand and I was taken back. She caught me off guard. However, I remember feeling so gushy inside and accepted. Now that I think back that should have been the main signal to jolt me back into some part of reality. That day it didn’t. My mania grew deeper inside me where it would be harder to reach and expel.

When we got to the house I raced to the bathroom and she ran closely behind on my heels. I would look back to see if she were keeping up and she had this look of excitement on her face that reminded me of my little brother on Christmas each year when he realized Santa had left him something under the tree. “Hon first go fetch us a glass of wine and get back in here. We are going to do our makeup first and then we are going to find the most come-hither outfits I can scrounge up. Then after you get a little buzz going on, I tell you what our next plan of action is.” We were like two high school cheerleaders again, reunited and ready to raise hell. Of course, the colors, oh the colors of our makeup were just like the flowers. It was fluorescent blue, pink, and yellow eyeshadow and glittery, ruby rouge topped off with purple lipstick. Then we spray-painted our hair pink and blue because that was all the color I had. I found two skin-tight dresses that just barely covered our butts, spiked heels and we were set to go.

She asked with anticipation where we were going as we loaded into the car. I couldn’t help but giggle at first, I was so excited. “We are going to the only place in our small town where you can meet good-looking men. We are going to Walmart.” She burst into glorious laughter. That was all the motivation I needed. “See, this is how it works my friend. We will sit in the car until we see one we like. You know, a really, hot stud muffin. We will casually follow him and then we will accidentally bump into him and of course, apologize for our clumsiness. We will make brief, insignificant chatter and if he goes along with the obvious pretend conversation, we ask him if he would like to have a drink. If he takes the bait, then we offer a joint too. If he is still playing the game at that point, well, let’s say, we let nature take its course. Do what? Well, no I haven’t had anyone take the bait. But they will, one day. Ok, so if he doesn’t take the bait, we chase him down in the parking lot when he comes out. Why do you think I told you to grab the tennis shoes? That’s right. I’ll chase and then tackle him and then you will wrap his wrist up with the masking tape.” She looks over at me and she is no longer laughing so hard. But I was. “I’m just kidding you. We are just going to the liquor store. Yes, we got all dressed up just to go down the road.” The look of relief on her face was priceless.

Then it happened, like always. That tickling feeling, I had been feeling in my stomach was turning into nausea. The mania was getting too big to contain. “Hey, you know maybe you should go on home. Why? Because it’s starting to get ugly. I don’t want to ruin your night. OK, remember it was your idea. Those colors are changing. The reds, the oranges, streaks of blue, they are conforming, like a fire. It’s going to spread fast. It will be coming for me. Hey, do you smell something? I do. Damn, it’s those freaking flowers. They have turned rancid.” We sat together on the porch and she watched me intently. “What will happen next? Well, I’ll have to call for George. George who you ask. ‘Attention shoppers, George, George Dickel could you report to customer service please,’ That George. How will it help? We are going to start partying our asses off and then you will pass out. I’ll keep going because mania always gives me plenty of tolerance. The breeze that caressed my skin this morning like a sympathetic lover is changing directions. It’s angry and it sings. Can’t you hear it? Shh!” I could see the look. You know the look. The one you always get from people who don’t know what you are. It is barely visible, but it is there on her poor face. She said she wanted in. “Drink up little lady. What? Yes, I take my meds. They just don’t always work. Especially when life throws a major bombshell at you. Like my father dying. Yes, that kind of stress can throw you out of whack. So how is your drink? Oh my, you’re way behind. Drink faster. Why? Must I describe everything in detail? I’m heading toward the point of no return. Soon I won't be able to distinguish reality from delusions. I will no longer be able to ignore those torturous voices in my head. What happens when the bottle is empty? You’ll be tucked in nice and quiet in my bed and I will hit the road. Probably go over to the next town and try to pick up a man. It will probably be someone else’s man so there will obviously be a fight that I am sure to win. The cops will get called and I will go to jail. By the way, there is money in my panty drawer to bail me out. The cops will taze me because that is just what they do. I’ll probably get arrested for assault, public intoxication, and resisting arrest, and then tomorrow my name will be in the morning paper.”

The good news is I never made it off the front porch that night. The bad news is I never saw her again. The phone number was changed and no forwarding address was given. I must say I was surprised. I felt since I had stayed out of jail that not much damage had been done. I obviously have remembered things differently. Next time there will be cameras.

bipolar

About the author

Serina Matteson

I am just a country girl living in the south. I had a great childhood but cannot say the same for adulthood. I love to write, draw, and paint. However, I do none of those well enough to support myself much less be known for them.

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