Wednesday, May 7, 2008

How To Be Bi-Polar In LA

LA is a hard town. A lot of people gravitate out here to make a fast buck, and have a “Get out of my way” attitude. It’s a hard place to make true friends and meet someone special in hopes of a long lasting relationship. That’s been my experience, anyway, and I’ve been living out here about 20 years. They say LaLa Land is the Land of Fruits and Nuts, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s the Land of Flakes as well. Don’t get me wrong, though. LA has a lot of things going for it, else I wouldn’t have lived here so many years.

I love all the different cultures here; I find it interesting. I’m originally from Alabama and grew up in the sixties outside of Birmingham, that and Selma being just two of the hot beds of racism at the time. I lived in the country and went to an all white school, and I remember a particular incident when I was in elementary school. I remember they tried to integrate black children into our school one day. We all watched out of our classroom windows to see deputies escorting these children inside our building. I’d never even seen a black kid before, expect on TV. I don’t know what happened to these children after that, but they never returned to our school. When I was a freshman at the adjoining high school, we had one black teacher. She taught typing. I used to look at her and wonder where she came from. My Mama lives in Mississippi with her sister. I tried a few years ago to live there when I lost my apt. and couldn’t afford LA anymore. They still wave rebel flags there. The black community there is called Nigger Town. I had to leave that place and come back here.

LA is a fast paced society, and with its “Get out of my way” attitudes, sensitive people like me are at a loss as to how to keep up. Me, I’m Bi-Polar. I don’t like to be bi-polar. It’s not an enjoyable state of being. In fact, I hate it very much. It’s ruined my life. See, I don’t get many of the manic highs that are associated with my disease. I get the other side of the seesaw. I get the crushing depression, low self-esteem and hopelessness that it entails. ‘The Black Dog’, as Sir Winston Churchill described his depressive episodes. I admire people like him so much. That he could rule a country in a time of a World War and be depressed is beyond me. He must have had a true strength of character.

You know what I do? I sit and stare at TV for countless hours, inert. I have to have something to occupy my mind or I give in to endless obsessive negative self-talk that drives me mad. Either that, or I lie in bed for days on end and vegetate. I’ve been on many different drugs to combat this, and little have helped me. I’d say I’ve been on at least 20 different drugs over the years. Mood stabilizers, anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, tranquilizers (I suffer from phobias and have anxiety attacks as well), you name it, I’ve been on it, it seems. I’ve been a full-on recluse for about 10 years now, venturing out sometimes when I can’t take it anymore, only to crawl back soon afterwards like a whipped puppy when LA’s cacophony of noise and relentless sunshine beats my brow. I have no patience and am irritable a lot of the time because I’m so sensitive to everything. The endless traffic snarls here puts me round the bend soon enough. I also suffer the physical aches and pains of depression, and I get weak and feel ill when I get out. Sometimes I have to pull over in my little car and just sit, waiting for the wave of exhaustion to pass over me. Sometimes I don’t know if I can make it home, but eventually, I get back here.

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