You have to laugh!

First published on Blurt it out in February 2012

During the 45 years of suffering from Bipolar, there have been many times when I thought of changing my name to Curtain. You see where I grew up In Lancashire, particularly Post-War, the default position for grief, despair and depression was ‘pull yourself together’. Lancashire! – God’s own county – where the men are men and the sheep are frightened! In my case, being fabulously handsome, and when in Euphoric phase, just oozing with irresistible charm, my definition differed, being where the men are men and the women are grateful. On that point my ex-wife might differ. I once presented her with some Olympic condoms, gold, silver, and bronze, and asked her to choose. She said lets go for silver and see if you can come second for a change! But help is always at hand, for as male readers may concur; SRI’s have the exact opposite effect! A silver lining if ever there was one.

As I hope is already obvious, I like humour and seeing the funny side in almost anything, especially in me and the blight of Bipolar. It’s been the pivotal aspect in my survival, and which, when coupled with age and experience, has made the condition bearable. Think of this article for example – had I not got the condition then arguably I might not be getting my thoughts into print. And for me the catharsis is two-fold in that I get to come out and be loud and proud, and at the same time, maybe I’m providing some hope and comfort to fellow sufferers.

It’s clear from the research I’ve done that whilst the condition has marked similarities in all those who have it, the overlay of one’s ‘normal’ persona colours the Bipolar palette in infinite and often wonderful ways.

I know now that after 45 years, there will be many, many  Dysthymic moments, when I will be unable to be remotely positive – but having survived them so often in the past makes it possible to view the light at the end of the tunnel as being just that, and not a bloody train. I describe my ‘bloops’ as being akin to farting in a Spacesuit – the second you’ve done it you regret it, but you can’t escape the smell!  But to stretch that daft metaphor, I can get used to the smell and continue the journey. Never quit!

So if you are taking SRI’s and they work – great!  And if they give you indigestion (very possibly), don’t moan, just belch with unconfined joy and blame it on Bipolar. I only wish that breaking wind could be ascribed to the side effects, but alas no, so I have to make do with the pet dog as scapegoat.

I hope the message is clear, try to see the funny side. Yes I know it’s impossible at times to do that, but resist whenever you can. Self mockery has proved to be a wonderful coping strategy. Note the word coping – it’s not a solution – and I for one don’t believe there is one. But time, humour and a large dose of self deprecation has been a sort of salvation for me.

So in time honoured fashion, and in the interests of good feature writing, let me return to being a curtain and draw myself to a close. Good luck!

Kit Johnson

First Published

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