It’s no secret that I’m Bipolar. I don’t really do secrets, my life is a fairly open book and it’s also common knowledge that I’ve just been going through the mother and father of a depression that nearly led to me chucking myself in the river with a concrete block strapped to my back.
Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a misery post. Don’t do them either. I’d just like to explain, clearly and factually what it’s like being like me. As with so many other afflictions, the symptoms are different for each patient but this is how it feels to be me.
I think of it as an out of control elevator. There are buttons in the usual fashion but the bloody machine has a mind of its own. I can hit “top floor” and it starts to plummet. It’s probably in the place where I work. Certainly the building is one I know well – in psychiatry, dream interpretation usually accepts that the building represents the self. The upper floor is a wonderful, pretty suite of offices and an apartment with a lot of views over a city with parks, leading out to the country in the distance. Only people I like very much work on the top floor and the atmosphere is great. Someone puts fresh flowers on my desk every morning and the coffee machine magically refills itself all the time.
The worst part, however, is the subterranean car park. The lights don’t work. It is in complete darkness, the walls drip slime, unidentified creatures crawl and slither through the ooze on the floor. Once down there, the ceiling starts to descend so that you can’t stand up and even if you find your way to the elevator doors, there is no guarantee that they will open.
All I can do when shut in that place is sit with my back to the wall, hoping the doors will open so that I can drag myself back in. Eventually they will and I can press a button and see where I end up next time.
Today the elevator took me back to the Top Floor – somewhere I haven’t been for a long time. It’s good to be back but terrible to look at the phone messages I left on the ansaphone when I was stuck in the underground parking. Wipe the tape. I’m back, the flowers on the desk are pretty and the coffee is hot.