Yorkshire Times
Voice of the North
Christopher Jackson
Features Writer
9:13 AM 8th June 2015

Still Kit

For those who follow me you might well have noticed quite an absence of late.

I refuse to count the days since I last blogged as it might well depress me once more, and much prefer to bask in the soft glow of feeling more positive about life right now.

This too will pass, but I know it's best to welcome the euphoric phase and enjoy the good things it brings.

I have managed (don't ask me how) to stem the tide so to speak and avoid slipping into a deep depression, but boy does it take all one's energy and then some.

It saps you and drains you and you seem to enter a period of nothingness. But this is preferable to that feeling expressed by Edgar Allan Poe

'I struggled no more, but the agony of my soul found vent in one loud, long, and final scream of despair'

Melodramatic? Of course! - but not that far from the truth.

I have learned over 45 years with Bipolar to manage it between my ears: I kicked away the meds and eschewed yet more 'shrinks', and I'm here still to strike a blow for mental health sufferers.

It was uplifting to watch Still Alice recently, which was profoundly moving and superbly scripted and acted.

The moment she stood there having wet herself because she couldn't find her own bathroom was so poignant, and indeed mortifying, and yet despite such embarrassment, the character Alice managed to move on and slowly find a way to deal with it.

Humour came to the fore and she was able to laugh at the absurd cruelties of her condition.

In that respect she and I are as one - humour has defined my route to coping and living with what I've been given.

After all what is the logical alternative - to wallow in self pity.

Done that! - gets you nowhere.

If you suffer from the condition then take heart - it does get easier. But you have to go through the grief curve just like bereavement.

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross got to spot I reckon - even if she is a Psychiatrist!

She said there were 5 stages:

Denial: - this is an absolute. Most people with a mental condition seek to deny it. I did - and for too many years
Anger: - This is the why me? phase - it's not fair and so on.
Bargaining: - this is classic mental illness fare, as you wrestle with your demons, promising to God or whomever you look to - 'that you will be a better person from here on in if only this curse is lifted'
Depression: - the realisation that the bargaining phase isn't working the leads to a feeling of utter hopelessness - 'what's the point' - 'I give up' etc.
Acceptance: - the desired outcome where one truly comes to terms with the condition one has, and learns to both live with it, then manage it.

I'm an adherent even though I lingered too long in each stage.

Learn from me - whilst you certainly cannot forcibly race through the stages, you can think about it and try your best to see where you are and then deal with it.

Trust me on this - if you have a mental condition then it's sound advice.