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Scattershot: My Bipolar Family Scattershot: My Bipolar Family by David Lovelace
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“Depression is a painfully slow, crashing death. Mania is the other extreme, a wild roller coaster run off its tracks, an eight ball of coke cut with speed. It's fun and it's frightening as hell. Some patients - bipolar type I - experience both extremes; other - bipolar type II - suffer depression almost exclusively. But the "mixed state," the mercurial churning of both high and low, is the most dangerous, the most deadly. Suicide too often results from the impulsive nature and physical speed of psychotic mania coupled with depression's paranoid self-loathing.”
David Lovelace, Scattershot: My Bipolar Family
“Compared to bipolar's magic, reality seems a raw deal. It's not just the boredom that makes recovery so difficult, it's the slow dawning pain that comes with sanity - the realization of illnesss, the humiliating scenes, the blown money and friendships and confidence. Depression seems almost inevitable. The pendulum swings back from transcendence in shards, a bloody, dangerous mess. Crazy high is better than crazy low. So we gamble, dump the pills, and stick it to the control freaks and doctors. They don't understand, we say. They just don't get it. They'll never be artists.”
David Lovelace, Scattershot: My Bipolar Family
“I know the empathy borne of despair; I know the fluidity of thought, the expansive, even beautiful, mind that hypomania brings, and I know this is quicksilver and precious and often it's poison. There has always existed a sort of psychic butcher who works the scales of transcendence, who weighs out the bloody cost of true art.”
David Lovelace, Scattershot: My Bipolar Family
“It's difficult. I take a low dose of lithium nightly. I take an antidepressant for my darkness because prayer isn't enough. My therapist hears confession twice a month, my shrink delivers the host, and I can stand in the woods and see the world spark.”
David Lovelace, Scattershot: My Bipolar Family
“Suddenly I wanted to get better. Mania wasn't fun anymore. It wasn't creative or visionary. It was mean parody at best, a cheap chemical trick. I needed to stop and get better. I'd take whatever they gave me, I pledged silently. I'd take Trilafon or Thorazine or whatever. I just wanted to sleep.”
David Lovelace, Scattershot: My Bipolar Family
“I've been accustomed to mysteries, holy and otherwise, since I was a child. Some of us care for orphans, amass fortunes, raise protests or Nielsen ratings; some of us take communion or whiskey or poison. Some of us take lithium and antidepressants, and most everyone believes these pills are fundamentally wrong, a crutch, a sign of moral weakness, the surrender of art and individuality. Bullshit. Such thinking guarantees tradgedy for the bipolar. Without medicine, 20 percent of us, one in five, will commit suicide. Six-gun Russian roulette gives better odds. Denouncing these medicines makes as much sense as denouncing the immorality of motor oil. Without them, sooner or later the bipolar brain will go bang. I know plenty of potheads who sermonize against the pharmaceutical companies; I know plenty of born-again yoga instructors, plenty of missionaries who tell me I'm wrong about lithium. They don't have a clue.”
David Lovelace, Scattershot: My Bipolar Family
“Love is not enough. It takes courage to grab my father's demon, my own, or - God help me - my child's and strap it down and stop its mad jig; to sit in a row of white rooms filled with pills and clubbed dreamers and shout: stop smiling, shut up; shut up and stop laughing; you're sitting in hell. Stop preaching; stop weeping. You are a manic-depressive, always. your life is larger than most, unimaginable. You're blessed; just admit it and take the damn pill.”
David Lovelace, Scattershot: My Bipolar Family
“I now know for certain that my mind and emotions, my fix on the real and my family's well-being, depend on just a few grams of salt. But treatment's the easy part. Without honesty, without a true family reckoning, that salt's next to worthless.”
David Lovelace, Scattershot: My Bipolar Family
“In our family "whim-wham" is code, a defanged reference to any number of moods and psychological disorders, be they depressive, manic, or schizoaffective. Back in the 1970s and '80s - when they were all straight depression - we called them "dark nights of the soul." St. John of the Cross's phrase ennobled our sickness, spiritualized it. We cut God out of it after the manic breaks started in 1986, the year my dad, brother, and I were all committed. Call it manic depression or by its new, polite name, bipolr disorder. Whichever you wish. We stick to our folklore and call it the whim-whams.”
David Lovelace, Scattershot: My Bipolar Family