During my depressive bipolar cycles, a river is what remains in my mind. Always. The sea, now that you can forget — the way the wind ruffles the surface or falls calm like a lake — but a river is what remains after my memory of it has seemingly passed, even after my imagination stops adorning it with riffles and dark wet holes and oxbow lakes. It lingers.
I am an Alaskan woman in love with a river. I love the muskeg along the banks of that river, the crooked black spruce that struggle for the sky but always fail, their bark wet with the effort, their limbs broken from the start by their own soggy roots. In Alaska, muskeg means a river is nearby. In the case of my very own river, the Delta Clearwater, it means it is flowing, slow and cold and spring-fed, somewhere beneath the tundra at my feet, and somewhere beneath where my grandparents built my family’s rickety old cabin….
A previous blog post of mine has been published on The Mighty. You can read more of it here: https://themighty.com/2018/01/suicidal-delta-clearwater-river-helps-me/
Do you ever trick people into thinking you are OK?
Individuals with bipolar disorder quickly learn how to become tricksters—because the truth is simply not polite.
I leaned to the left in the photograph, laughing as I held a puppy on the bow of a green riverboat. I was smiling my slightly crooked smile, and in the background—in a dark sky above black spruce trees—were two bright arcs of a double rainbow. A puppy, a smile, a rainbow—all three were the unmistakable symbols of pure and perfect happiness.
Little did the photographer, or anyone else, know that it was all a trick. Despite the props in that photograph, despite being surrounded by joy and backlit by rainbows, the sky was still dark.
Read the rest of my article at https://www.bphope.com/blog/the-bipolar-trickster-smiling-in-the-face-of-it/.
My husband could say I am “worth it” despite my bipolar illness, but he does not. Instead, we both say that is a question that should never be asked.
When it is below zero and I am ice fishing on a frozen Alaskan lake, I concentrate all my energy on catching fish. Each time I fish, my husband—who knows I love fishing more than almost anything—immediately goes into support mode.
Read the rest of this article about bipolar disorder and love at https://www.bphope.com/blog/love-bipolar-disorder-and-being-worth-it/.
Remorse after a bipolar episode can cause tremendous pain, but when everybody else says “don’t look back,” I say: “look.”
I once read a book about tracking animals, and when I lived for several months on the edge of the enormous Chugach State Park in Alaska, I tracked a snowshoe hare in the alder thickets along the side of a popular hiking trail.
Read more of my blog article at bphope.com https://www.bphope.com/blog/self-tracking-moving-forward-after-a-bipolar-episode/
Creativity can offer relief from bipolar depression, and it can help your hope soar as you realize your potential to help others through self-expression. Read and share my first article for bp Magazine:
Disappearance is easy in Alaska, but after decades of wanting to escape into the wilderness, I know now why I always come home.
He simply got up and walked into the wilderness. His name was Justin and he was teenager living with a mental health condition, an affliction that affects so many of us, so he walked into the Chugach Mountains, the vast front range that towers over Anchorage, Alaska. He was never seen again. I was 13, with my own budding manias and depressions, and thus began my first fantasies of disappearance.
Continue reading my article on bphope.com: https://www.bphope.com/blog/my-bipolar-fantasies-of-disappearance-and-why-i-always-return/
On the rivers I used to float upon in western Alaska, I liked to just eat the peanut butter out of the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. There was just too much chocolate in the whole thing for me. As I sat on the edge of the big rubber raft in my waders and wading jacket, I would fling each piece of extra chocolate into the ripples below. A velvety gift to whoever fancied it.
Read more at http://oc87recoverydiaries.com/bipolar/