Wednesday, May 7, 2008

How To Be Bipolar In LA 3
Sandi Yeah, Me.

Here at our building, we can have pets, and that’s important to me because my 2 cats help me when I’m down in the pit and can’t climb out. I love my cats; they’re gentle and sweet. Their affection keeps me going when I don’t think I can survive one more day, one more minute in this town. These apts. are single occupancy only, and visitors are not encouraged to stay the night, so I get very lonely here on my own. I cuddle with my cats and feel a bit better. Animals really are therapeutic. I wouldn’t want to live if I couldn’t have a pet to soothe me.

When I lie in bed, I write in my journal to get some of this shit that’s bogging my brain down on paper, or else, it leaks. These negative unending thoughts torture me when I feel particularly ill, and I’m a frustrated human being on the whole, because I’m artistic and have bursts of creative ideas, but depression annihilates Beauty. I haven’t done my art in years, and can’t even lift a pencil to sketch. I become too apathetic to care.

I wish I could be like my favorite Bi-polar, Vincent Van Gogh. I make occasional trips to the Getty Museum in Brentwood when I can function, to see my favorite painting by him: Irises. I can just picture him in one of his tortured manic highs while in the gardens of the mental hospital he was confined to in Arles after he went loco and cut his ear off. I stare at his brush strokes and can feel the passion and artistic desperation that fueled him to paint almost non-stop. The frenetic energy of his paintings mirror my racing thoughts, and I wish I could reach out and touch the lovely colors and by that, somehow touch his hand through time and his canvas. I feel sad for him. I want to let him know he is loved and appreciated and we in this world hold him in awe. That he is not alone in his pain and that we all need his beauty very much. I love you, Vincent. ‘This World was Never Meant for One as Beautiful as You,’ as the song goes.

There was a movie back in the 80’s I liked very much, starring Timothy Hutton. After drowning himself to save another, he dies and goes to Heaven, and there meets the fellow residents. They are carrying on, doing creative things, like writing sonnets or painting, and from there it is passed down as inspiration to us mere mortals on Earth. I’d like to think that’s how it really is, and that Vincent is out there among the stars, painting galaxies for us to peer at through our telescopes. I hope I can go there one day and get to meet him.

Another favorite Bi-polar of mine is Kurt Cobain. He was a great songwriter, and it’s sad when talented people like him commit suicide, because the world mourns the ruined potential of it all. I’m listening to him right now. You can hear pain in his voice. “Hey Kurt, why didn’t you get help, Sweet heart? Why did you want to join The Dead Too Young Club? Couldn’t you take a hint from Janis, Jimmy and Jim? You rock, dude.”

Once, I read Patty Duke’s autobiography about being bi-polar, entitled, “ A Brilliant Madness.” That pretty much sums it up for me, as far as I’m concerned.

A lot of us suffering from this disease are intelligent, articulate, talented individuals, but we have to wade through the noisome knee-deep muck to survive, and it can be a loathsome business. Death taps on our rusted mental-hinged doors, and suicidal ideation becomes the norm if we don’t fight it and get some help. It ain’t easy being cheesy. I used to be a fun loving girl with a quick wit and a bubbly personality. I had two jobs and supported myself. Now I feel like a dullard and a wastrel.

I feel horribly ashamed of our society for letting mentally ill people fend for themselves in the streets of LA. I’ve been homeless, and it’s a miserable existence. I’ve never been straight up out in the streets, but I’ve slept in my car and on couches, and it’s the bottom of the barrel, that lifestyle, and there’s a lot of cold-hearted people out there who pass by the mentally ill on the streets and find them repulsive, like the ill chose that life because they’re lazy or something. I mean, where do they go if they need to go to the restroom? How do they get food to eat and water to drink?

By the way, sleeping in a Geo Metro is very uncomfortable. You have to scrunch down in your seat so you’re not spotted by someone and not get bothered by the police. You have to find somewhere safe to park, so you don’t get raped. I had to pee in a bowl and throw it out the window. I usually got urine all over my hands. I’d go to McDonalds to wash up and try to look presentable. I’d look in the mirror and see how haggard and starved I was. McDonald’s was the only place I could afford to eat at. Egg McMuffins for 99 cents. I’d go to the library to park and try to get more sleep. My legs would go to sleep from sitting in the same position, because I was too depressed to get out of my little car to stretch. I’ve contemplated many times over the years of jumping off the end of Santa Monica Pier and feeding the fishes.

There are a lot of selfish people out there with bulging wallets that could help these people out, but instead get a thousand-dollar pair of shoes, a three thousand dollar purse, or a five hundred dollar hair cut. Or maybe they spend a million dollars on a wedding and reception, only to get divorced a year later. I’m talking about these over-priced celebrities in this town. It makes me sick, thinking about how they get money poured over them and expensive freebies because they happen to be famous. I think a lot of them forget where they came from, and their big egos make them believe their own hype.

I used to like Russell Crowe until he picked up a phone in a fit of temper and hit a hotel employee in the head with it. Now, he’s just a thug to me. I won’t go to see his movies anymore. I used to be a front desk clerk at a hotel. I also used to be a bartender. “Hey Russell, What’s Up, Punk? Why’d you do that? I’ll kick your butt, and I’m 5’3” and 108 lbs! I’m little but I’m feisty. I’ve bounced bigger dudes than you out of my bar.” The Hells Angels and gang bangers used to come into the dump I worked in as a dancer in San Fernando Valley. I have no problem telling men off when they’re being jerks. I grew up without a father. My Daddy was electrocuted in our basement when I was 7, and I remember him abusing my Mama. Russell, I’m just joking, I don’t want to scare you or anything! Ha.

There are babies starving out there in the world, but these select few of the rarified stratosphere they inhabit feel no social obligation whatsoever to help their fellow man. I’m sure all celebrities, sports figures, rock stars, corporations and other rich people are not all like that, of course, except maybe Leona Helmsley. The Queen of Mean left all her money to her cat. Selfish to the bitter end. People like Bill and Melinda Gates have it right. I think rich people have a moral obligation to the poor of the world to help them out and feed them. What about more food pantries, or donations to places like Goodwill or Salvation Army? I get all my clothes there. Goodwill also helps people find jobs. I go to the job center in back of the store to surf the Internet for job sites and to use the fax machines to send resumes. I’ve decorated my whole apt. with furniture and furnishings that I’ve gotten from the thrift shops I go to. You can even donate your old cars or boats if you want. And it’s tax deductible. Charity begins at home.

I wish I could help. I wish I could build more places like where I live for the mentally ill, but a lot of neighborhoods don’t want places like this anywhere near them. They think having mentally ill people amongst them bring down property values, and they’re a little bit afraid of us as well. Maybe a lot afraid. I’m more afraid of the criminal types hanging out in front of our local 7-11 than anything my fellow apt. dwellers can throw at them. We stay to ourselves and go to our therapy sessions and see our psychiatrist at the local mental health clinic to get our meds.

My friends and I were pretty offended when Tom Cruise announced to Matt Lauer that there was no such thing as post-partum depression, and that he had the inside scoop on the mental health system. We thought him a fool. And Britney Spears, get some help, honey! You can’t do it yourself! Anna Nicole Smith needed some help too. Too bad she turned to drugs and alcohol instead. Now she and her son are dead.


  1. Thanks for writing, my brother and I follow the bi-polar path, found your blog last night in the b/p group. Write on! Here is to us, if writing lets us be...

  2. Thanks so much for the input! I need some encouragment!