Alliance. you come with your intention. your concerns. i respect you. you want to work and improve upon your life. i want to help you reach your potential. we begin our journey together. you let me into deeper parts of your psyche. you trust me. i am a professional. i have learned to listen for cues, to help bring unconscious (dreams and symbols and drives) out of the dark and into the light. maybe it’s based on a thought process (attitudes and beliefs which shape what you value in your life) you learned in childhood, how you got your needs met then in an environment particular to you and you alone. maybe it’s how you feel or associate or dissociate and go numb. i want to ask the right questions. open-ended. to help you explore your inner world. so you can see how your thoughts and feelings and attitudes shape your behavior. to help you see your choices. you don’t have to act on impulse again and again. you can pause and consider alternative ways of being. you may resist this, because it’s hard work. it can bring up painful memories. things could get worse before they get better. i want to help you through your resistance. i appreciate how you have survived. you are dynamic. ever changing. we are working together to get your blood flowing. you may feel disconnected from yourself. this is existential work. i want you to feel so alive in a modern world of madness which tends to dehumanize us. i want you to feel purposeful and find meaning in life. to empower you. you are doing your best. you are open and trusting and honest. you are willing to change. you are also so human and resistant to change. we all are. it’s okay. i am your companion for a while. we have a working relationship. we got this. thank you for coming. for letting me in. let’s do this. we got this. -katya
What if I cannot live with anyone, ever again, I thought to myself, before falling asleep. I have been tired since I asked him politely to leave. He did not take it very well, and I did not take his not taking it well, well. I was tired by trying to share my space, and by trying not to share my space, and fell fast asleep.
Up the stairs the atmosphere was boisterous, everyone seemed happy like evolved, and my mind kept turning us over and over, wondering why we were so quiet, down here, so reserved, like somebody had died. I was in the midstream (exactly halfway up a long and straight stairwell) when the matron of the house came about before bed asking around and offering her hand, to make the last hour a good one, keeping us safe and needless, tidying up.
Her daughter, my friend, had left a small book behind, with a cover splashed in pink, which stood up on the floor by the couch. What if she never returns, ever again? The book had small truths littered about its pages. I wanted to offer it to the contemplative boy across from me on a broken chair, but I could not move. I’m not much of a lucid dreamer.
She spoke to us kindly, my friend’s mom, she made me feel I was helping her just by being there. She had always been the kind to illuminate your presence for you. When I awoke, I wondered would I see her, ever again? She died many years before.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Kay Jamison has spent most of her adult life studying mood disorders and living with bipolar illness. In this memoir, she faithfully shares her experience. She takes us inside a manic episode as she remembers it, and then the subsequent deep depression. Even breathing becomes a chore. She details the times she spun out and how the beauty of the world through fresh mania soon becomes lost in a whirlwind of racing thoughts and confusion. Anyone who has needed medication may relate to the resistance to taking it Kay describes so well, and the consequences of refusing meds when you need them. For years she started and stopped Lithium, and even when she knew she needed it, she would stop when either she fell dreamy in love with the memory of her mania, or the side effects became too much to bear. Turns out she was on a much higher dose than she needed. But the side effects of Lithium were nothing compared with the devastation which came of allowing her mania to resurface. Her marriage and friendships were poisoned. She maxed out her credit cards. Her professional life suffered. She wanted to end her life.
Miraculously, with the help of family and friends and therapy and meds, she was able to run a mood disorder clinic at UCLA, gain tenure, and today stands as a highly regarded clinician at Johns Hopkins. But most importantly she survived it all. Bipolar illness, aka manic-depression (although the latter usage has fallen out of fashion in diagnostic circles, she believes it sums up the experience), takes lives. People get attached to their mania, they dream of their mania, and some never come around to accepting they need meds. This book is a must read for anyone with bipolar illness.
The church was good when
all were selfless
blaring ego hid
there’s nothing will stop me
you will be mine
no law can enforce
could not quiet
like yelling and
There were years gone by questioning nothing. Not even all the dirty ugly predicated isms in plain sight.
Kids who grow up in any kinda consistent environment, no matter the level of dysfunction, ascribe their acceptance upon it. As did i.
Then came barreling upon me, an expansiveness i had never known. I wanted to stay tight. Small. To know your name when i saw you in the streets. For you to know mine.
To keep our hard earned reps.
Our shared histories.
The disturbance in my atmosphere saw me smaller, lesser known, more fearful, lesser understood anymore.
I could hide in the laundry bed of a thousand other passerbys. No one but my mom might miss me.
I might not even miss me, myself.
For who was i formed out of icy isms in a blind microcosmic state of purified disaster?