Sunday, April 29, 2007

Bipolar Lyrics 2

Actually, I already posted lyrics to two other songs, I Feel Pretty from Westside Story and On Top of Old Smokey on my other site, Honk If You Write to Heal. Today's lyrics are from Puff, The Magic Dragon, a folk song, which was written by Leonard Lipton and Peter Yarrow and sung in 1963 by Peter, Paul, and Mary. (For some reason, I'm having trouble showing the guitar chords, and I'll add them later today.) Who says we bipolars don't have a sense of humor?

Susan, A Bipolar Mother

Susan, a bipolar mother, lives in West L.A.,
And does the best that she can do, with her illness every day.
She takes her pills religiously, keeps mood charts like a pro.
Drinks no liquor, takes no drugs, which are bad things as you know. Oh!

Susan found a good psychiatrist, who explained what she should do,
how to cope with a mon-i-ker of atypical bipolar II.
Medications were a problem; they failed when er'r prescribed,
Her disappointment was intense, and sometimes Susan cried.

Lithium and Depakote, and Lamictal too,
didn't stabilize her moods or chase away the blues.
Neurontin and Abilify didn't make a dent.
Only finalized the tag of treatment re-sis-tent.

The side effects were legion, dry mouth was a drag.
Head sweats were embarrassing, and weight gain made her gag.
Heart palpitations worried her; the rashes were a pain.
Forgetfulness was really bad, but hair loss was her bane.

The illness lives forever; it doesn't go away.
The optimum is maintenance, each and every day.
Stay focused and resilient; research all you can,
Get a doctor who's darned good; take an aggressive stand.

Don't give into bleakness; tomorrow's always near.
Hold on to the ones you love; they chase away the fear.
Their strength is like a tether, in depths and flights beyond,
A grounding to the safest place while you await the dawn.


Anonymous said...

My mother found your blog and emailed me. She wrote, "I think Susan Bernard may be the only bipolar person online who's not only accomplished but has a sense of humor. She's also married and has a son. Maybe she can give you the advice you're seeking."

I was diagnosed as bipolar two years ago. I had one manic episode. Because my maternal grandmother suffered from this illness, my mom knew the symptoms. I was able to get immediate help. My doctor put me on lithium and I'm fine.

I'm a college senior and I'm entering graduate school in the fall. But eventually I want to have a career, get married, and have children.

It really frightens me that everyone who has this illness seems so miserable. I don't see myself as "mentally ill" and I can tell that you don't either.

Why are there are so few "normal" manic-depressives?

An Ivy League Senior

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Dear College Senior,
I'm really glad I was online when you left your comment so that I can quickly respond. I must admit that I've asked myself the same question many times over the last 14 years.

There's not an easy answer. Perhaps, it's partially due to the fact that in most cases, it takes a long time to get the proper diagnosis.

It's also significantly easier to treat the "manic" side of the illness than the depressive side.

Even though lithium has proven effective for many bipolars who come to this illness from the manic side, due to the marketing efforts of the pharmaceutical companies, many psychiatrists are prescribing Tegretol and Depakote instead of lithium (which I believe has a far greater tract record of success --although I need to do some research to confirm this).

Clearly, your mother's knowledge of the illness, her insight, and ability to get you immediate help made a difference.

In my case, although my parents didn't know anything about bipolar disorder when I was in college, and no one in my family was diagnosed with this illness (aside from me).

What I had going for me--which I believe is unusual--was that I grew up in a stable environment, my parents deeply loved each other and their children, and I was encouraged to pursue my dreams.

Having said all this, I would like to address some of the other issues you raise in tomorrow's post. So stayed tuned. I'm so glad you emailed me. I truly do believe that you can be bipolar and live a happy and full life. And I'm sure that other people who read this blog share my point of view.

P.S. The most difficult question you pose (just kidding) is about retaining one's sense of humor despite adversity. That's a good question and one that piques my interest. I promise to research this topic in depth!

Joel said...

It's easier to keep a sense of humor about the manic episodes, but best that we forget the depressive ones.

Mom, Interrupted said...

I LOVE your song kids go crazy because of the songs I sing...and those are some of the top 3...funny. Nice to come by another LA woman (are you a Doors fan by any chance)

Polly said...

Anonymous: I'm mentally ill, but I don't see why that should stop me from being "normal." I recently received my master's degree, I have a great relationship with my boyfriend, I don't have a job in my field yet but I have two part time jobs, and I've been completely stable for the past five months. It's also been more than a year since I was *noticeably* ill -- I didn't miss a day of school or work in the past year, and no one (except my boyfriend) was able to tell when I wasn't feeling well.

Why are there so few "normal" manic-depressives? Well, one reason is that not all of us respond to lithium, or any other drugs, as well as you do. I couldn't swear to you that I don't respond well to lithium, because I've never taken it, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't, because I'm the complete opposite of a good responder to lithium and the textbook picture of a good responder to anticonvulsants -- a rapid cycler with psychotic manias and mixed states, no known history of manic depression in my family, and my manias follow my depressions. It took a long time to find meds that work for me, but I'm doing really well now.

marja said...

I have bipolar type 1 and was so severely psychotic at the beginning (40 years ago) that I spent 9 months in a mental hospital, thought to be schizophrenic. I'm a different person now and someone who doesn't know me or my history would think of me as "normal".

Although I do suffer periodically from the symptoms, I am not miserable. In fact, I consider myself a very fortunate person and would not want to trade places with anyone. Most of the time I'm happy and grateful for the life I live.

I'm not able to work at a regular job, but have always filled my time with creative activities that benefit others. So, though I make little money, I am productive and feel I'm a useful person. Fortunately I've been married for 38 years to my best friend and he has supported me well.

But...thank God for modern medication.

Anonymous said...

I suffer from bi-polar/manic depression and as much as I enjoyed your comments they are of little to no use to me.Normally I am a very active,positive person who has a sharp mind.Here is my life's situation.I have been living in my car for almost three years(I am one of the working poor.No matter how hard I attempt to better my life, it never stays improved.I am a n/d/n/s.My religion has sustained me but that is no more.What is one to do when there is no lite of any type at the end of the tunnel called life.I omitted that I am also disabled.

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Dear Anonymous,
While I have certainly have empathy for your plight, my blog is not intended to solve the challenges you face. It's good that you're finding solace from your religion. But what you obviously need is an array of services. There are a slew of mental health organizations in every state in the country as well as services for the disabled. There are case workers who can help you negotiate the process. There are also consumer organizations like NAMI and DBSA, which have hotlines and information. I wish you the best of luck in finding housing, help, and support services.