I’ll just put that out there as a disclaimer so you know what follows is tainted.
This is a mood that seems to keep coming back. Well. That’s bipolar disorder in a nutshell. So to speak.
I know this mood and I have history if only from how big Bipolar Bad-Assery is in my little Cloud of Topics at right. I recognize the ferocity and physical stamina. A terrible intolerance develops. And then there’s the ice-cold anger. It started a few days ago with a niggle in the back of my mind. At odd moments it would pop into full consciousness like Schwarzenegger bursting through a door.
I’m fighting for my life.
It surfaced at TOPS yesterday, and again in the water this morning as I swam my mile. So I took myself for a drive today to give this moody thought some room. What I found is that this isn’t the whole thought, just the opener. In toto, it goes like this.
I’m fighting for my life, so step up or get out of the way.
And suddenly the anger and intolerance make more sense. Even the extra strength and endurance. I’m gearing up to go solo again.
This mood, this attitude, runs counter to all the discussions I’ve had with my therapist about relationships. She’s counseled me about how relationships change, how people come and go out of a life. She reminds me to take people for what they are and to be accepting of what they can offer. This is realistic advice. But, sometimes, I can’t see how it helps me much.
I don’t need coffee dates or tactfully casual conversations as much as I need allies who will get bloody up to the eyebrows with me. But, finding a loyal berserker isn’t easy. Or realistic. Real people have messes of their own to worry about—sick parents, and mortgages, and unemployment. All that feels like do or die for them, too, so they’re hardly going to save their ammo for me. Or if they do happen to save a clip, they end up shooting in the wrong direction or even at me. Friendly fire, of course, but still lethal.
Which leads to another conversation with my therapist—my need to make people understand me. I don’t like being misunderstood. I don’t like others deciding what’s best for me or making assumptions about me. But, really, all that is none of my business. I can’t help what other people think or do. I can’t stick my hand inside their gray matter and plant the seeds I want growing there. But, sometimes, they act out of the stories they’ve told themselves about me. And then they make it my business. Which I don’t handle with great diplomacy. I don’t mind so much if you can’t fight alongside me, but get in my way and I might blow your head off. Nice. You can see why I might have trouble holding onto friends.
I see what’s happening here. I’m turning into that Hero person who Stands Alone. Maybe I’ve always been that person. It might be one of the reasons I was drawn to comic books as a kid. As soon as I was able to read, I stole from my brother’s Marvel collection. Those guys understood. They fought for their lives every month. They were me.
When I went to the new Captain America movie last week and watched Steve Rogers risk everything, the niggle in my head practically shouted. That’s me! And then [SPOILER ALERT] when he quit fighting and let Bucky beat him to smithereens, the niggle still shouted. That’s me, too! Cap had allies. He even had a handful of people he trusted. But, basically, he was alone. I get that. And sometimes the hero just gives up. I get that, too.
That’s as far as this train of thought is going, because to follow it any further would just indulge the mood. It will shift in a few days and all this Hulk energy will drain. But, there might be some new questions for my therapist on Monday. Life and death questions. Because in the end, I’m still fighting for my life.