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Bipolar

An Opinion, A Fact, A Diagnosis?

A conversation today brought up a topic that made me really uncomfortable. I didn’t know the person well, and they began to go quickly from an opinion about someone’s lack of mental health to a diagnosis. His diatribe went something like this:

“My dad’s neighbor, he’s crazy. I mean really crazy. He’s psychotic, bipolar, schizophrenic.”

Really? Another educated person from a nice family maligning me unawares? My eyes rolled skyward. He didn’t notice. My internal monologue was running. “Do I come out of the mental health closet? Do I say I have bipolar? Do I not? Do I?” I do not.

Spiffy rejoiners came to me six hours after the fact.

What if I said, “So you know a lot about mental health. How can you tell if you’re talking to someone with bipolar?” (leading question…) “Is it the way their face looks? (I’d wait for their answers) “The way they stand? What they say? Do they say the sky is green? Do they talk a mile a minute? Do they have grandiose illusions? Suicidal ideation?”

Or I could simply say, “Bipolar, you mean like me?”

I want to educate people. I’ve passed for regular vanilla long enough. Time for the big reveal that I am pineapple mango surprise.

I’m going to think of funny quips that sum up symptoms, to let people know what they are. I’m going to be as brave as the people who’ve marched for civil rights. Next time I’ll say:

“Bipolar, like me.”

and let the chips fall where they may.

Happy Manic Monday! –Rebecca

Mental Wellness

A Poem: Love in the Cold

We like Star Trek in our house. Deep Space Nine was a particularly good series. Two favorite characters are the love birds Kira and Odo. What would Kira write about her partner? Here’s her new take on Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18; Summer’s Day.

Winter’s Day Sonnet

Shall I compare you to a winter’s day
You are equally fair yet twice as cold
Thoughts silent snow, nary a word you say
Sheets frozen on the line none can fold

Sometimes too brief the eye of heaven shines
When snowstorms of solitude you’ve sought
Your spirit is willing but your mouth says nein
Thus my soul’s fire and flames warm you not

Eternal winter frosts lips and cools heels
In lieu of an embrace I meet an ice shield
You repel emotion; know not how you feel
In your insulated parka you remain sealed.

No one can bend your no’s and perpetual declines
Perhaps I cannot be yours and nor you ever mine.

–Kira (Rebecca Cuningham) 9/26/21

The two Deep Space Nine characters, hot and cold, Kira and Odo, have immense tension until one day Odo initiates their fateful kiss in the hallway.

Happy Manic Monday!

Mental Wellness

Every Little Thing I See

As a child I noticed flowers every once and a while when I came across them. As an adult they form the patchwork quilt of my thoughts. Every summer walk I am compelled to take photos of the flowers in our neighborhood. I find it difficult to pass by the opportunity to capture the fleeting floral images. I stop, I crouch, I stand on tip toe, I lean. Finding the camera angle and time of day to take the best picture is like a meditation. Results vary; a few photos shine, a few photos fail, but the time behind the lens brings me joy. Sharing photos on my websites has doubled my joy.

What do you love to do?

Happy Manic Moon-day! –Rebecca

For more nature photos see: https://fakeflamenco.com/2021/08/28/fotd-satellite-dish-or-hibiscus-bloom/

Maiden’s Bower Photo: Rebecca Cuningham
Mental Wellness

2 Weeks of Walking, Swimming, and Paddling

I barely moved for 14 months. I sat in a chair, read, blogged, got up once and a while to make family meals. Walking upstairs made me breathe heavily. That was me in the pandemic. Once in a while I masked up and took a walk or biked somewhere when the weather was good. Mostly, I got beyond cabin fever to not even want to leave the house. I certainly didn’t feel like swimming indoors.

This summer, I decided to reclaim the peace of mind that is fitness. It’s easier to be calmer when I’m getting exercise. I promised myself I would walk at least for 15 minutes a day, or swim as many laps as I could in the pool, paddle for an hour, or bike to do errands six days a week.

I am happy to say that now I have two weeks where I’ve accomplished my goal!

I sleep better, socialize more easily and feel better about myself when I’m active.

Also a plus, no more huffing and puffing up the stairs!

Do you have an exercise routine? Does it help your mental health?

Happy Manic Monday! –Rebecca

Kayak with Water Lily Photo: Rebecca Cuningham