(A young artist’s pictorial depiction of Bipolar Disorder)
Everyday I struggle with what it must have been like for Saagar. What state of mind did his illness create? Why couldn’t he find any words for it? How much of it was due to the medicines he was on? I have tried to imagine it and learn about it from various books and blogs. The closest understanding of it comes from reading the first hand accounts of those who suffer from Bipolar disorder. Their writing is as honest and as human as can be.
“It has been a fascinating, albeit deadly enemy and companion. I have found it to be seductively complicated, a distillation both of what is finest in our natures and of what is most dangerous. At first my illness seemed to be simply an extension of myself- that is to say, of my ordinarily changeable moods, energies and enthusiasms. I perhaps gave it at times too much quarter. And because I thought I ought to be able to handle my increasingly violent mood swings by myself, for the first ten years I did not seek any kind of treatment. Even after my condition became a medical emergency I still intermittently resisted the medications that both my training and clinical research expertise told me were the only sensible way to deal with the illness I had.
Manic Depression distorts moods and thoughts, incites dreadful behaviours, destroys the basis of rational thought and too often erodes the desire and will to live. It is an illness that is biological in its origins, yet one that feels psychological in the experience of it; an illness that is unique in conferring advantage and pleasure, yet one that brings in it’s wake almost unendurable suffering and not infrequently, suicide.
Medications brought with them seemingly intolerable side-effects. It took me far too long to realize that lost years and relationships cannot be recovered, that damage done to oneself and others cannot always be put right again and that freedom from the control imposed by medication looses its meaning when the only alternatives are death and insanity.”
– an excerpt from “An Unquiet Mind”, a personal testimony of her own struggle with Bipolar Disorder since adolescence by Kay Redfield Jamison, a Professor of Medicine.