Monday, May 7, 2007

Support Group Auditions: A Confession (Part 2)

The point was that I was somewhat at a loss. On the one hand, I said I wasn't defined by this illness. On the other hand, I couldn't seem to write about anything else. Actually, I would start writing about other subjects but whatever I was working on would always end up being about depression or bipolar disorder.

And all my ideas at night--when I was asleep--which is one of my most creative periods, revolved around my illness in some way. One of my dreams was that I was a Depression Diva, kind of like a Dear Abby for the depressed set. I came up with these very amusing questions and answers, and I awakened myself because I was laughing so hard.

When I told my husband about it, he said, "Honey, I'm not sure that most depressed people share your sense of humor."

"Well, my audience is really bipolar depressed people," I answered. "Maybe they won't think I'm funny when they're depressed but they'll really laugh when they're hypomanic."

"Maybe you should call yourself the Bipolar Depression Diva," he suggested.

"It's not as good a name," I responded. "But it might target a better audience for me. I think I'll start the Bipolar Depression Diva blog."

So, a number of years ago, I started the Bipolar Depression Diva blog, wrote a few posts and ended it. I received some nice comments but the people who wrote to me were so depressed that I felt worse each time I read a new comment.

"I can't be the only bipolar person who pokes fun at this illness as a way of healing," I said to my husband.

"Well, you've kind of got a quirky sense of humor," he answered.

"C'mon," I responded. "Don't you think that there are other BIPS (bipolars) out there who are like me?"

He paused before saying, "Honey, I'm just not sure how many bipolar folks go to bed at night and wake up with the idea of writing a play called 'Support Group Auditions.'"

"But don't you think it's a great idea?" I asked him and then continued without letting him answer. "You see, the thing is that when I started researching support groups, and talked to a few people, I found them so depressing. One woman told me that their group not only met at a neuropsychiatric hospital but they spent the entire time talking about all the inappropriate things they did during the week. I was stunned. And a man who was the leader of another group told me he's no longer participating."

"That's great news," my husband said. "He's feeling so much better that he's moved on?"

"That's what I thought. But when I asked him, he said he lives in a room in a hotel, he doesn't work, can't afford car insurance any more, and so he can't drive to the meetings. When he's manic, he said he thinks up schemes for bizarre businesses--like that is a healthy activity. When I hung up the phone, I had such a headache that I went to bed for two hours."

"Now that's depressing," my husband said.

"That's what I thought. So I decided that the best way to find a support group would be to hold auditions. I'm kind of thinking it would be like a Bipolar Chorus Line. I could play my Autoharp or my banjitar (it sounds like a banjo but the fingering is like a guitar) and sing some of my best bipolar lyrics. It would be great to find other bipolar writers, poets, dancers, singers, or musicians. Maybe the people don't even have to be bipolar. Personally, I find that cancer survivors are a funnier group. You should read some of their books and blogs. But that's just me."

My husband, who is my best fan, agreed that holding support group auditions was a splendid idea. I wasn't sure how to orchestrate it so I filed it in my Splendid Ideas Box and haven't yet pursued it.

"The bottom line is that I think I may be afraid to meet other BIPS," I told my husband.

(to be continued)


Anonymous said...

You truly understand bipolarity. Your post made me laugh and brought tears to my eyes. Thank you!

I, too, have a sense of humor although I've often wondered whether other "BIPS" do.

I'm "in the closet" about this illness because I'm worried about my career (I'm an attorney with a big firm). Reading your blog is like a breath of fresh air.

Bipolar in Manhattan

BamaGal said...

Susan---you crack me up----I have been there when all I wanted to was wallow down in the mud with the other whiney, crying, BIPS. But I get over it.

You keep doing what you do--
hey can I audition for your support group---that idea just floors me....LOL

Polly said...

I've met lots of bipolars, although I don't know any here where I'm currently living, and every single one of them has had a sense of humour. I wish you knew some of the people I did!

I didn't know until about a year ago that some people were on long-term disability due to bipolar disorder. Every manic-depressive I knew in real life was working or a student, and the same with everyone I knew/read about online from the late '90s until about a year ago. Every bipolar in the partial hospitalization programme I was in last year went right back to work once they finished the programme.

marja said...

I'm bipolar and a rather serious person, but not depressing unless I'm truly depressed and can't really help it. Most of the time I'm just hopeful - hopeful for some of what most people would think are hopeless things.

At my church support group I bring a little introductory talk to each meeting, almost always designed to encourage - usually spiritual in nature. Then we have a discussion on it. It sets a hopeful mood. People do need an opportunity to vent their problems, though, and we do that in the second half of the meeting. But because we set a hopeful tone at the beginning that usually carries into the sharing time.

jinnah said...

There once was a lady named susan
Who really was quite the comedian
She thought one night what the hay
And decided to create a play
Auditioning each wannabe thespian

So. Am I in?

JayPeeFreely said...

Nice post. I'd say that many happen to have a sense of humor, but are afraid to reflect based on their dealings with the "Norms."

I'd say it is a mechanism to survival...aside from the condition, the world is screwed up enough by everyone to need a bit of crass humor, if only to survive the days...