I figure that if I have to endure the worst parts of bipolar disorder, like psychosis, I get to laugh as much as possible along the way. Somewhere Over the Rainbow, I've Lost My Damn Mind: A Manic's Mood Chart is the story of one Millennial's bipolar life, with moments ranging from the ridiculous to the terrifying to the hilarious. Blending pop culture references and cyberspeak with psychiatric terms, it combines the funny, conversational tone of Sh*t My Dad Says with a nonlinear narrative structure similar to that of Manic.
The book began as a blog: if you had a delusional relationship with Britney Spears, wouldn't you brag about it to the entire world? To create the book, I organized the blog entries like a mood chart, a therapeutic tool which assigns colors to states of mind. The entries are divided into three sections, Depressed, Normal and Elevated, and cover the past three years: my psych ward getaways, my vision of fighting alongside Jesus at Armageddon, my attempts to find a woman who accepts that I sometimes lose my mind. Therapy "sessions" with a fictional psychiatrist provide my present-day reflections on each entry. (I had to create my ideal shrink because I tend to fight with the real ones.)
Somewhere Over the Rainbow will be the first humorous memoir about bipolar by a member of the Millennial Generation--today's young adults. My book's humor, cultural references and Internet origins will appeal to Millennials, now entering their twenties and thirties, as well as younger Gen Xers.
More than an account of coming to terms with a mental health condition, it's a story of being young and feeling lost, dealing with heartbreak and still finding plenty to laugh about, no matter what happens.
KEY TERMS:ATROXTHEATROPHOBIA, #TRUESTORY, CRAZINESS, PURE EVIL
Submitted on 4/1/11
So my blood work came back from the lab this week. You would have known about this if you followed my tweets; you really should, I’m funny sometimes. One irregularity popped out at me. They can’t tell a lick about my BMD from these tests, but they did find out about my immense fear of scary movies what I call atroxtheatrophobia. My brothers despise them too, so it’s a family trait.
I’ve only gone to the theater and watched three scary movies in my life:
1.) The Blair Witch Project in high school with Cuzin Art (I still make him go down basement steps before me).
2.) Sawwhile I was in the Witt Bubble on a double date (well, Tristan and Boomer went, so I had shades on in the theater and kept my eyes closed through most of it; #truestory#fact#honesty).
3.) A Nightmare on Elm Streetin A-Town with my girlfriend whose name was so Southern she hyphenated it; she was way out of my league, and she got a kick out of annoying me by getting the entire ticket line to make fun of how nervous I was about the scary movie (good thing she was fine as hell or I wouldn’t have put up with that shit; who am I kidding, yeah, I would).
Ever since I can remember, I’ve had this fear of scary movies and shared it with my brothers. I think Monkey put it best when he described why he hated horror movies: “Let’s see how you do when you’re a seven- or eight-year-old kid and you’re home alone, out in the middle of the country in a remote cornfield, and your older brothers are the only ones around; and they’re scared as hell too. I guarantee you won’t be watching any of that scary movie shit then.”
The last thing my brothers and I were about to do on a dark, cold, weary and eerily calm night in the country was watch Children of the Corn (oh, and Crybaby Bridge; not real fond of you either). Instead, my brothers and I could probably be found watching Comedy Central and trying to laugh the fear out of our minds.
So of course when it comes to handing out symptoms of BMD, I get dealt one of my ultimate fears of horror films: psychosis. What can be more terrifying than the complete unknown? Nothing scares me like pure evil. Pure evil has no reason, no cause, and no justification for its ways; how can something without sympathy do anything else? That is what I see in my mania. It comes as it pleases and does as it pleases. The craziness that overcomes my world can be described simply as my own person horror film come to life. Yet I’ve found pride in living with this. Pride in knowing I am strong enough to overcome my worst fears and then some. And I’m proud to know that I live in what others can only experience in horror movies. Boy, that sounds crazy, which kind of makes sense.
JP: This entryreminds me of an article I read a few years back in the New York Times May 11th, 2008 issue by Grabrielle Glasert titled “’Mad Pride’ Fights a Stigma” , and I want to share a part of it with you because I think you will like it, Derek:
“Until now, the acceptance of mental illness has pretty much stopped at depression,” said Charles Barber, a lecturer in psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine. “But a newer generation, fueled by the Internet and other sophisticated delivery systems, is saying, ‘We deserve to be heard, too.’ ”
About 5.7 million Americans over 18 have bipolar disorder, which is classified as a mood disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Another 2.4 million have schizophrenia, which is considered a thought disorder. The small slice of this disparate population who have chosen to share their experiences with the public liken their efforts to those of the gay-rights and similar movements of a generation ago.
Just as gay-rights activists reclaimed the word queer as a badge of honor rather than a slur, these advocates proudly call themselves mad; they say their conditions do not preclude them from productive lives.
JP: I’ll take it from that ear-to-ear shit-eating grin on your face that you liked it.