By Isca Stieglitz
November 19, 2010
This opener stems from my background in psychology and on going charity work in the field of mental illness. I hope it helps/informs a little. I also hope that the links work!
Two Polar Bears and the ‘Glacier Mint Brawl’?
Imagine the scene; ‘Morgenstimmung’ by Grieg is playing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bihp6gwTdeg
Soda, the polar bear, pops her head out of her snow hole; she flicks one of last night’s fish cache into her mouth and pads, with a saunter, over to her ‘glacier mint’; remember those?:
http://www.retrotvads.com/tag/eric-fox/ - scroll down a little for image of packet.
Soda is about to take up her position, when suddenly ‘Ace of Spades’ cracks the gentle stillness, “Oh no, here comes Val!”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxJwP0izGgc
Val, the other polar bear, steams forward and engages Soda in their ever so regular ‘glacier mint brawl’; a sometimes fraught exchange over the right to stand on the mint.
Let’s pan away from this scene; one of them will win out...until the next time.
Two Polar Bears? This is one of my more ‘fun’ descriptions of an illness I have lived with for most of my life and was diagnosed with ‘proper’ nearly ten years ago. It is Bi-Polar disorder aka. Manic Depressive illness. Either of the terms is fine with me. I quite like ‘disorder’, because that’s how it is sometimes – a life in disorder; a life disordered.
I have come to describe my Bi-Polar in many different ways over the years:
• The chocolate duvet – a depression can sometimes feel very familiar. It can allow me to escape and get off of the world, to simply stop because I cannot stand any stimuli – music, heavy clothes, water on my skin, loud noises etc. It can be a comfort, like chocolate and bumfy duvets. Until ‘it’ turns.
• Black treacle and live black bubble gum– ‘it’ turns into a wading blackness, when my simply moving through air feels like I’m being held down. It is rather like the almost living black ‘goo’ in the film ‘Spiderman 3’; the one which formed Peter Parker’s alter-ego. It can hurt all over simply breathing in and out. http://www.comicbookmovie.com/fansites/Shadowgeek10/news/?a=22575 - scroll down to 'black spidey' mirror image photo.
• Mad cat lady! – when I first had hallucinations, I was terrified. I saw ‘madness’ square in the face and thought I was losing my mind; I think perhaps I was. I would see cats/kittens walking about, as casual as you like, I didn’t know why, but there it is. I now know, through psychotherapy, that it is most likely related to wanting to protect and rescue ‘something or someone’ and feeling unable to. Myself, most likely.
• Psychedelic dreaming – synaesthesia, no need for drugs here! Hearing colours and seeing music and sound, is very strange, but like the ‘kittens’, I have come to accept it as part of the symptoms of my illness and mostly occurs during a transition between depression and mania. Synapses firing, creating some of the most beautiful light shows and shapes I have ever seen.
There is lots of information about Bi-Polar out there, so I don’t aim to add superfluously to it. If there is demand, I would be happy to write more and perhaps cover more practical help and how I’ve managed to live a rich life. Life has been much more on an even keel for many years now, a little 'dull' in comparison to the old days, but much more liveable.
For now, let me take you back to Soda and Val...but what is this?
From this... http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-491859/Polar-bears-play--unbelie... - scroll down to the fighting bears.
To this... http://animals.howstuffworks.com/mammals/polar-bear3.htm - scroll down to mother and cubs - now that makes a change ;o)
With a bit of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rS-bFYScJQ
Can’t resist the ‘cheese’, but dedicated to my daughter, Hannah, nevertheless. Probably wouldn’t be here without her.
Notes & Credits. Soda and Val are named after Sodium Valproate, one of the many medications used in the treatment of epilepsy and other illnesses including Bi-Polar disorder: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_valproate
I wasn’t sure if I needed permission to use these images and music for non-profit illustration, so just in case, thanks to:
Fox’s http://www.foxs.co.uk/ , my daughter and I love the mints, especially for travelling and it gave me an image of light relief.
Columbia Pictures, Marvel Studios, Lara Ziskin Productions, the ‘Spiderman’ trilogy is fantastic and often very moving, do watch it. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0413300/
You Tube, Edvard Grieg (RIP) and the brilliant AC/DC and Westlife. I own all of these albums and recommend them for different moods.
Polar Bear Images: http://img.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2007/11_01/polarbearAP0511_468x265.jpg http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/polar-bear-5.jpg