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)