This is what my head says . . .

 Today I thought I’d share a poem I wrote when my bipolar symptoms were in evidence–one that, I think, illustrates the chatter that, even now, I push aside but hear vaguely in the background–a whisper that back-drops and wall papers my expereince of almost everything–every bowl of cereal I eat, every peice of paper I pick up,  every book,  every door I close or open or slam shut, hoping to silence the sing-song.

This is what my head says . . .

The back of the truck
     is let down and I am
     in the street again
                lines down
          the center of the roadway
                yellow voices
The color of a dress I had
     age three
                yellow roses on the bodice
                yellow roses on the table
          where the place is set
                for us to eat zucchini
                and avocado and other vegetables
          with green skin that must be peeled
                away before consuming
Before comes earlier than after
               as does the obvious
              preacher talk
     of Jesus saving other people
                from their sin
Sin is always in the third person

20 thoughts on “This is what my head says . . .

    • Interesting observation, Renee. Not only that, but sometimes it’s hard to grab hold of the language at all. It’s like a soundtrack playing in the distance–something I can tune out when I’m feeling well. It’s just kind of there in the background.


  1. I wonder if our society has made certain “disorders” negatives when in reality they are simply different ways of seeing the world. Perhaps you see the world more clearly because of the chatter; maybe the chatter has messages to share. Your writing speaks volumes, because you have so much inside.


    • I have to say, that I have often wondered the same thing. Especially since there are some good things about bipolar disorder–namely that it tends to lend itself to creativity.

      So, yes, I agree–I really do, Lisa.


  2. Kathy, I too, agree with Lisa’s comment.
    Yesterday, I listened to a talk given by spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle in which he addressed the topic of mind chatter. His advice is to observe or notice the thoughts without judgement and resistence by being present or focus attention in the body. Just allow without a need to get rid of. Eckhart teaches to practice being present in the Now (present moment) often as the key to the rise above human mind chatter which is also part of the collective human mind psyche. Eckhart’s experience has taught him that the human mind has limited human knowledge and that the Intelligence of Life Itself which we have access to comes from the eternal Creative One Life. I find his talks fascinating and the practice of being present in my body instead of my head is helping my daily living immensely.

    We don’t have to believe what society dictates. Our deeper inner knowing is the real teacher.

    Hope the packing and preparing to move home goes well.


    • Thanks, Marianne. what you say about living in your body rather than your head is actually quite helpful. Sometimes I forget that. And yes, it’s my own deeper knowing that’s most important. I appreciate these reminders—————


    • Yes, I would never be able to keep this at a distance without medication. And it took years to get the medication correct. Several things to keep in mind here:

      First, there is more than one kind of bipolar disorder. Second, psychotic disorders exist on a kind of contiuum with schizophrenia at one end, schizo-affective disorder in the middle, and bipolar disorder at the other end. My diagnosis in clinical terms is a bi-polar type of schizo-affective disorder, which pretty much means I sit somewhere between schizo-affective disorder and bipolar disorder on the continuum.

      Hope this helps, and thanks for the question. It’s a good one.

      Bottom line–different folks will have different expereinces depending on the subtlties of the diagnosis–rather, knowing the details of diagosis can help one understand some of these subtle differences in symptoms. I usually just tell poeple, if I tell them anything at all, that I have bipolar disorder, as that’s easiest for most folks to understand. But really it’s much more complicated than that. Maybe this is something I should do a post on sometime.


  3. I’m very close to a person with bipolar disorder, or something that has been vaguely defined as such. I feel for you and wish you the best with finding balance and happiness. Your poem is beautiful.


    • Interesting observation, Terri. We certainly all have the potential for strong and extreme feelings. Glad the poem speaks to you. That’s what makes a poem work, when theres an echo of everyone in it.


  4. Interesting observations about church at the end of the poem, Kathy. The lines between right/wrong, mental health/mental ‘illness’, creativity/madness are not as straightforward as we are often led to believe. I think we as a human race try to comfort ourselves into thinking that there are easy answers to some of life’s biggest questions, because it can be too overwhelming and complicated to acknowledge (let alone accommodate) such a broad continuum of behaviours and beliefs. Beautiful poem once more.


    • Dana, you have said so beautifully something I fully believe to be true, but don’t think I could have said nearly as well. When you are no long willing to accept the easy answers, life becomes way more complicated than most people can tolerate. Thanks for this clarity!


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