I’m at that phase of The Chest Cold/Bronchitis Opera where initial mania (Ooo, goodie! I get to sleep all day and eat Raman Noodles!) gives way to the longer aria of depression. I’ve been singing this part for several years now, and sometimes the Dark Solo can go on for months. As can the bronchitis itself. It’s a nasty, double whammy. Sorta like Brünhilde losing her immortality AND getting thrown on a pyre. Heh, Heh. That Wagner. What a cut up.
This season, though, I’m finding the depression to be different. Not easier—that strum und drang never gets easier—but simpler. This time, I have the gifts my mom left me to help me through the whole Ring cycle—her almost-new Honda and a small monthly income from investments.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again—the stress of poverty kills. The hopelessness and desperation it creates turns a person into a sack of mindless meat. It yanks away the will to live and leaves said person on bloody knees. It’s a weight that can’t be shucked off or reasoned with—like Sisyphus’ stone (Oops. Wrong Mythos).
I thank my mom every day for taking away my need to choose between medicine for chest blight and gas for her wonderful car. I thank her for taking away the stress of being squashed-flat by poverty. Eliminating that stressor has already made a huge difference in how I deal with my bipolar disorder. Now I have a real chance to manage it.
But I still have to manage it. Last week, someone asked me if, since I had a little more money and didn’t have the stress of my Peer Support job, I’d ‘get over the whole bipolar thing now.’ I wasn’t sure how to answer. It’s not like a cold sore that flares up when you get nervous and then fades away. It’s not a case of hives. It’s a mental illness. I still have to strap on my breast plates and take the stage. Every single day. And belt out that damned song.
Don’t be fooled. The fat lady sings because she has to, not because the show is over. This is one show that never ends.