So I'm Not Alone
It's amazing to me that when I have chosen to share with someone about my challenges with bipolar/depression (and perhaps it just reflects my cautious choice of people to open up to? but I believe that it's more than that), the person generally tells me that either they themselves or someone very close to them has also suffered from it (dysthymia/depression/bipolar).
I have told a few people by email over the past year, but I've also occassionally shared it with someone I've met, say, at the Spinning Loft or elsewhere, so it's not only online.
It one regard it makes me feel less alone knowing that I'm not the only one who has spent days, weeks, feeling paralyzed in bed (not to mention several hospitalizations), but it also makes me shudder to think how many of us have gone through this, have experienced such 'long nights of the soul' -- because it's pretty darn lousy.
As an aside, since so many of us also have cats, I have to say that at least for me the cats really help pull me through. It sounds kind of silly, but they don't care how much I sleep, or how down I feel, they just lay around and purr anyway. Hey, they sleep something like 20 hours a day themselves, right? I just find their furry presences so soothing, and their purring so healing.
But nothing changes the fact that this stuff is really, really hard.
And I'm 12 Today
Today is my 12th clean and sober birthday (or anniversary, depending on where you go to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings). Hard for me to comprehend, since, in my drug-addled despair back in 1995 and early 1996, I had no expectations (nor really cared) whether I lived past 27.
Kurt Cobain (1967-1994), Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970), Janis Joplin (1943-1970), visual artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988)--I could name a whole host of fascinating creative people who didn't make it past the somehow magical age of 27. Why 27? I don't know. Just because. (Wikipedia even has an entry on this regarding musicians; see the 27 Club.)
But at 27, I got clean and sober, and haven't imbibed a drink of alcohol or taken an illegal drug since.
Of course, with all of the toxic stuff out of my system, it turned out that I had an underlying mood disorder; at 1 1/2 years sober, I was depressed, and was subsequently diagnosed with depression. A few years later, it turned out I was Bipolar II (and that's why the anti-depressants weren't working). It's been an adventure--that much is true.
Mr. O'Kitten has been clean and sober since 1999. We met at an AA dance in Manhattan in the summer of 2000. More of this story to come...with cats, of course.
Chortled by Obsidian Kitten at 1:29 PM