Madness. Marya Hornbacher. It’s terribly triggering, and then it’s terrifying, and then I’m jealous.
She cut. That is triggering. The precise description, moment by moment frames. She cut too deep. That is tempting. Has been. That has been tempting.
She drank. And it fucked with her meds. I drink. And I’m on a handful of meds. And I don’t want to stop.
She gets manic—and it’s scary to think that one psychotic break is all it takes to be bipolar I. But I’m not like that. No. I’m fine.
And then I get jealous. Jealous of her mania. That it is productive. And long lasting. My hypomania leaves me as quickly as it comes.
But no. I’m not jealous of mania. I don’t want mania. I want my spurts of good hypomania to last, to never drop off into lethargy and anadonia, to never morph into a violent hypomania.
I’m jealous of her stability. She’s written THREE books. My ability to create is not like hers. I’m jealous that her bipolar went into remission. And she felt NORMAL. She was a grown up doing grown up things.
I feel like a frightened child, reading this book. Because I’m afraid I’ll become bipolar I. As though it’s a virus. Because I’m jealous. Because she is so grown up at times and I’m . . . not.
I’m 26, on my folks insurance as a “disabled child,” living at home, scared of my first shift back at work (four days from now) after three and a half months off, scared of going back to the hospital, scared of what will happen when IOP runs out and I’m down to one hour of counseling a week instead of three group sessions and two individual sessions.
Ms. Hornbacher and I have little in common: we work with words, we have forms of bipolar, we’ve been hospitalized, we know the demons of disordered eating . . . that’s probably it. But her book is tearing me to shreds.
As I come out of a hypomanic episode and read of her stability, of her time with bipolar in remission, I love and hate her for her honesty. I know things go wrong for her again, there’s still a bit of book to go—it can’t all be sunflowers and blue skies. But I resent her for having energy. Pure energy at times and manic energy at others.
I want her to be well. (But, I’d resent her for that, too.) Like me, though, she won’t. We won’t. I read memoir because “happily ever after” pisses me off—it’s a lie that mocks reality. Yet it hurts. I hurt for her and for others with bipolar I or II and even for myself. I hurt because of the madness and the madness hurts everyone, eventually. Be well, I want to wish the world, but that feels grandiose. Be stable? Stay afloat? With timidity, I suggest that we be.