As part of my quest for living a better life with bipolar disorder, I spent this past weekend in Minneapolis/St. Paul, reweaving connections with old and dear friends, and sending out a few new runners. These are the kind of friends who will make me stand in their kitchen until they understand the difference between rapid cycling and mixed state; the kind of friends who find a restaurant for lunch on the other side of town because it will accommodate both their Paleo diet and my vegan preferences; the kind of friends who make me laugh until I have to hop to the bathroom to avoid leakage.
And when I have a melt-down (as I did on Saturday), these are the kind of friends who let me bolt back to my hotel without offense, who will hold my insecurities and shame like a porcelain bowl until I can shake the ashes into the trash. We can say to each other after a morning of coffee and gab, “Are we done? I’m done.”
These are people who allow me to be myself, who are honest and clear, who look at me with compassion and see all. They are the keepers of my history since I can’t remember it. They fit forgotten pieces into place. They restore me.
This is a difficult time of year for those of us with Seasonal Affective elements included in the bipolar disorder. Spring brings chaos, fluctuations in mood, and, for me, warp speed cycling. This is the time of year I am most likely to be hospitalized. I need the support of people who love me, but my tolerance for stimulation and novelty is severely limited. It’s a quandary. But my friends are willing to walk this weird tightrope with me. And when I can rise up from the ashes, I am grateful.