The cake boss I am not. I’ve been trying to create a visual image of bipolar 2. So, I “baked” a virtual cake. Here goes, I’m not the best baker in the cyberverse!
Take 2 cakes; one baked in a pan that was too small; the other in too big of a pan. The cakes are both lopsided, burnt on one side, not cooked on another. Rising was random. In other words, you have a kitchen disaster. These layers, “uniquely” represent the anger/frustration/binges/urges of hypomanic episode. (Variety of cake up to you: chocolate; vanilla; red velvet; cheese.)
Filling is needed to hold the two halves together so a two layer cake can be constructed; raspberry jam; chocolate chunks, gauche, toasted coconut any filling that will hold the two layers together. The filling represents those stable times when feeling a balance between anger and sorrow; it holds the cake and sometimes me together.
After you have balanced the two layers with filling and a few swift moves by a knife, it’s time to wrap the confection with icing (pick your favo(u)rite flavo(u)r)
I’m not a great icer; somehow the cake crumbs always get into it; I can’t put it on evenly – there are mountains and valleys of icing and a dilapidated “fence” around the sides (even when using the cake icing turntable). Icing is the depression that wraps me (and other bipolar 2 folks) in the shadows and is a constant companion.
I step back and look at my creation. A slice of the cake would give you a bipolar 2 dessert, consuming the three layers that lay bare the emotional turmoil, pain, binging, sadness, balance, and stability. Did you bring a fork?
staring at my feet; will I dance or no?
The bipolar 2 colo(u)rs are virtual paints to scatter on a canvas primed with shades of grey. From light dove grey to the colo(u)r of a leaden sky; my continuous depression is the base coat of my virtual art studio. Sometimes my virtual paints are water colo(u)rs or oils, other times pastels or charcoal. The thickness of the layers of paint is part of my therapy; to help deal with the ramifications of mental illness.
Just as my feelings of guilt, my fear of rejection, my inability to move forward continuously press down on me, the urges are overwhelming; every pore, every cell, every atom is screaming at me to indulge in all my addictions. And, when I “paint” my mental illness, the colo(u)rs are layered; each represents an addiction; the return of dragons I thought I’d already dispatched.
Never completely banished, sugar still is the seductive siren that calls to me in gentle tones. I swear an oath to myself that I’ll only eat X or overindulge in Y today; tomorrow, I’ll get back on track of weight loss and elimination diets. Ah, but like the 2 year inertia, “Let’s forget about tomorrow, for tomorrow never comes!”
So far, the “demon rum” is on the shelf at the liquor store, not in my glass. (Actually, I don’t drink rum; prefer hard cider, good wines and beer). I’ve fought that demon before. But now it’s time again for me to put on my suit of armor, take up my shield and sword, and with a battle cry, begin the fight again.
Life is a series of puzzles and paradoxes; lunacy and logic; serendipity and synchronicity; ironies and incongruities. Today begins another wearying round of attempts to find professional, or community-based, or government-sponsored accessible, affordable, and appropriate mental health support. No wonder I’m talking in alterations, and musing “profoundly.”
I dread this exercise in futility. My particular situation may not “fit” into their private or public practice, organization, facility, focus; accepted insurance plans, or whatever. I’m contacting them because I was given their name and number by my health care insurance provider, or a physician (non-mental care), or found them through research on my part.
It was bad enough that only 2% of the health care professionals I left messages for returned my phone call. I assumed that since the people I was contacting worked, in some capacity, within the mental health care system, the response would be handled carefully, with compassion and respect. This was most often NOT the case; the reaction would be unacceptable whatever the context of the conversation. These “conversations” were less than professional. I was yelled at, treated with distain and condescendence, told I was wasting their time, or to call a crisis help-line if I became a danger to others or myself. Already bruised and battered, these reactions were the last thing I needed. A simple “no – I/we can’t help you,” would have been more appropriate. None offered an alternative source/resource.
Wish me luck. So far the mapping (getting to) hasn’t been very promising. Sigh.
* borrowing from Pink Floyd’s The Wall. Another great line: “I have become, comfortably numb.”