Blog Elle

Holding it all Lightly (Elle)

This is a really serious topic but I can’t write about it with any darkness or weight or sense of seriousness or I’ll be smothered by darkness and weight and seriousness. It’s a bit fundamental, and you can only approach fundamental things from out the corner of your eye. Staring truths straight on can blind your retinas…

I mentioned before that I’ve learned over the years to hold things lightly, and not get too attached to things. The reason is that everything in my life shifts and changes the whole damn time – it’s the fundamental nature of bipolar disorder. No sooner do you settle where you’re at but you’re off again somewhere else. But the changes aren’t simple, or easily accommodated. Curling inwards deeply paranoid about other people turns into gregariousness and need for company. Distance turns into connection. Inability to make decisions on simple matters turns into rapid fire decisions on important things. Entire world views tumble and turn.

John has been away this past wee while, busy doing his comedy ‘day job’. He’s doing a run of shows this week in Newcastle, and I’ve just decided at the very last minute to go down to Newcastle tomorrow for his last show. John’s comedy is fantastic, and I’m really looking forward to it. But here’s my point – I spend much of my time struggling to get out the flat. I struggle with being fearful of the world, fearful of people. I struggle with making decisions, and change unsettles me beyond belief. But a wee touch of hypomania and I’m whizzing off round the country on a whim to catch up with a friend.

If I’m struggling to make the serious point I’ll try it this way – how do I know who ‘I’ actually am?? I can’t hold opinions with any conviction, because my opinions change with my mood. I can’t hold my feelings on other people in general with any conviction because I feel differently about people according to where my head’s at. I can’t hold political convictions while I feel that the world is so impossible to pin down. I can’t hold my religious feelings with any conviction – I’ve witnessed angels but equally felt the times when it seemed that god was gone from the universe. It pays to hold things lightly while you can’t get a grasp on any of it…

I’ll stare down the truth then – I feel like I don’t exist. I keep taking action in the world but I feel like I don’t exist. I keep taking action in the world even though this is terrifying. There is no ‘I’.  I should probably do some housework, and make that phone call I’ve been putting off for weeks and other such mundane and worldly things, but hypomanic brain has it for the time being. Off I go.  I’ll hold it all lightly in the knowledge that it’ll change – same as it always does.

3 thoughts on “Holding it all Lightly (Elle)”

  1. Transience, it’s a very real thing. We’re all transient beings of course, and I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to have a transient personality. I hope there are some fundamentals that can be held onto, I think there must be like our own morality and ethics. Though speaking for myself I have stronger different ones than I did when I was younger. Maybe it’s like that but yours just happens swiftly, and changes. No probably not, I admire your acceptance in ‘holding lightly’. Sounds difficult, and as usual you explain the inner workings of your brain really eloquently.
    Hope you got to Newcastle and enjoyed the show. I saw the one on Thursday and enjoyed it a lot. Seriously funny and funnily serious.
    Love this blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ali – thanks for your thoughts. I think there are some fundamentals to be found – unchanging parts of the soul maybe. But I find it very variable (as with everything!) – sometimes I feel like I dive to the heart of me and find nothing solid at all. Those times are really terrifying. At other times the world (and I) feel a bit more solid.
      I saw the show last night and it was fantastic. John nails it in terms of busting wide open the space for people to talk about mental illness but making you double over laughing while you do it. And you’re always ‘laughing with’ rather than ‘laughing at’ – there’s a great feeling of inclusion and togetherness during the show.
      So glad you enjoy the blog! I’m just thrilled to be part of the conversation.

      Liked by 1 person

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