Pills to Poetry: The Burden of Non-Compliance

The conversation between my wife and I when I don’t want to comply with medication or sleep. A bipolar dilemma. A caregiver’s burden.

Pills heart

~The Burden That No One Sees ~

“It’s late.” She’s barely awake, squinting.
“I’m not tired”, I tell her, and continue working.
“That’s the point”, she says under her breath.
“What’s the point?” I’m lost.
“With your condition…” she’s exhausted. I’m making it worse.
“Seriously I’m fine.” I insist.
“Take your meds.” She isn’t giving up.
“I’m not tired”, I say.
“You have a big day tomorrow.” She’s more patient than I deserve.
“I know. But I’m wide awake.” I continue working.
“That’s the problem.” Her face is pretty, even half asleep.
“What’s the problem?” I’m lost still.
“You’re getting manic.” Her tone is serious.
“Not manic. I’m just really busy. It’s a project…”
“It’s 2am”, she informs me.
“Okay. In thirty minutes I will.”
“No. Take them now.”
“Fuck. Okay. Fine.”
The bedroom door closes behind her as I pour a handful of perfect little pharmasanity shapes from the burnt orange, child-proof bottle. I choke them down with a large swig of beer. She hates when I do that but does not complain because at least I’m taking the goddamned medication.

pills heartt

After a week or so of these types of conversations, she usually ends up putting me on a bedtime schedule with a tight ritual involving complying with meds. Because I love my wife and trust her, I often go with it. Well, okay, I put up a fight half the time, which occasionally puts her in the position to give me ultimatums. This is love. This is bipolar disorder. This is a bipolar marriage. And I still fucking hate taking pills.

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Touched With Fire: Bipolar Movie Review

My review of ‘Touched with Fire’, a film about bipolar disorder.

I saw it twice. Last weekend, and again today. I don’t get to see many new films and I hardly ever go to the movies. But I’ve been waiting for this to hit theaters. And hit it did. For me anyway. The first viewing of TWF ignited so many emotions in me. I admit my expectations weren’t high considering the media doesn’t paint mental illness too favorably. I guess my guard was up. I was rooting for this film so much before even seeing it. I was rooting for the bipolar audience.

Synopsis

Meet Marco, played by Luke Kirby, and Carla, played by Katie Holmes. Both of are incredibly talented writers. Both of them are diagnosed with bipolar disorder. From my educated opinion, research, and personal experience, I would say they have bipolar type 1. Bipolar disorder type 1 is characterized by extreme highs (mania) and extreme lows (depression), and can be accompanied by psychosis. Both Marco and Carla are patients in a psychiatric hospital when they meet and they form an intense bond. Together they ignite each other’s fire. They sneak around in the hospital, and eventually form a relationship on the outside, which is front and center to a whirlwind rollercoaster.

Writer/director, Paul Dalio based the characters off of himself, and the film from his own experiences with bipolar. He incorporates the strong influence of art, poetry, famous people with mental illness, and the bipolar queen, Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison. Dr. Jamison even has a cameo in the movie.

Critique

One reason I saw TWF a second time is to make sure I wasn’t going to review it based solely on my rush of emotions. But the truth is, Touched With Fire is actually very emotional. Dalio represents a very realistic insight into the bipolar life. Manic episodes are unruly, impulsive, unbelievably creative, and indescribably passionate. These episodes are just as defiant and destructive. We see this in both Carla and Marco. We also see them crash. Again, each action and thought from the characters ring into true suicidal depression. As someone who’s lived with type 1 for over 16 years, I could absolutely relate to where these characters were, in each moment. I can’t imagine that the rest of the audience didn’t feel this spilling from the screen as well.

Another area that Dalio dove into is the realities of medication non-compliance. Non-compliance is a serious symptom of the illness. (I still fight my wife about taking my meds.) The film gives Carla and Marco an opportunity to demonstrate their views on why they don’t like to be medicated. Once off of the meds, there is a gradual deconstruction of their mental states, showing what happens when someone with severe bipolar disorder is not accepting treatment. It also involves their parents, who all seem to be pretty supportive and caring, while showing how the manic and depressive episodes affect them.

Katie Holmes makes a return to the screen, playing Carla, and her performance really did give me goosebumps. Luke Kirby was born to play the part of Marco. Both actors portrayed the challenge of channeling the characters’ emotions, actions, impulses, thoughts, desires, and talents. They nailed it.

My only less than positive critique is that this film is not for everybody. I guess this isn’t really critiquing the film, but rather the audience. For people who know absolutely nothing about mental illness, or who are not here to learn about it, go see something else. I was biting my tongue each time the woman down my row would obnoxiously laugh at the psychosis Marco was experiencing or the manic love the characters had. She took no social cue that nobody else was laughing until about a third of the way through the film.

Last Words

The first time I watched Touched With Fire, I got choked up so many times. I felt Paul Dalio was pulling material from inside my head. The moon plays a heavy influence in the film, and I have a huge obsession with the moon. And I’m sure many, many bipolar folks are writers with moon obsessions, but in the moment, it spoke to me. The frustration of Holmes’ character as she tries to learn of her life prior to becoming sick, to Luke Kirby’s character philosophizing every single thing. My mania has dragged me to that point too many times. I was crying at many points during the film. I was scheming on which medications to stop taking. The second time I saw the film, it was much more cognitive. I studied their behaviors and of course, compared myself to some, but mostly just watched the transformation from hypomania to mania to severe depression to being stable to impulsively triggering instability.

Overall, an excellent film. I will be adding it to my personal library. It’s only in select theaters right now, but if possible, go see it.

TWF

 

Alter Ego: A Poem About Piper, a.k.a. Manic Delusions

Alter Ego

Hey there siren, hey there again.
Without warning, how long has it been?

Hey there wild one, hey there storm.
Untamed whispers, in seamless form.

Hey there you, hey there Miss Thing.
Complete invasion, the chaos you bring.

She wears me out,
She breaks me down.
When Piper calls,
I come around.
She lures me in,
Without a sound.
I lust for her,
And we are bound.

Hey there lil nympho, hey there alright.
Pheromone syrup, smothered all night.

Hey there electricity, hey there alive.
Inexpressible hype, off the high dive.

Hey there obsession, hey there crave.
Euphoria spree, you won’t ever behave.

She wears me out,
She breaks me down.
When Piper calls,
I come around.
She lures me in,
Without a sound.
I lust for her,
And we are bound.

Hey there liberty, hey there Queen Bee.
Envied butterfly, perpetual and free.

Hey there persuasion, hey there yearn.
Thick addiction, never to learn.

Hey there enigma, hey there silhouette.
Delicious delusion, you’ll soon regret.

She wears me out,
She breaks me down.
When Piper calls,
I come around.
She lures me in,
Without a sound.
I lust for her,
And we are bound.

Piper

When my Bipolar Starts Speaking in Rhymes

Sometimes I feel a little needy,
But I’d never let it show.
To quench my thirst makes me seem greedy,
I guess you’re not the last to know.

I’m trying not to get stoned,
And I really want a drink.
Well, at least just for tonight,
I’m trying not to think.

Bipolar pills mouth

My free spirit has been building high,
Tattooed wings inside a cage.
I smuggle sunshine in my mind,
And shove the blame on manic rage.

I’ll try not to get too stoned,
And I want a second drink.
Well, at least just for tonight,
I’m trying not to think.

Desperate urges send electric shocks,
Pharmaceutical relief.
I contain my soul inside a box,
Swallow them with no release.

I’m already way beyond stoned,
And I regret that other drink.
Well, at least just for tonight,
It’s impossible to think.

For Shits and Giggles, I Now Have a Tumblr

Because two WordPress blogs weren’t enough. Because a Facebook blog page, a personal Facebook, an Instagram, Pinterest, and two Twitter accounts simply weren’t enough. You can now find my crazy self on Tumblr as The Bipolar Lesbian.

My purpose for creating this mini blog is pure simplicity, all the while combining two parts of myself- my sexual orientation and my mental illness. I plan to showcase media such as photos, gifs, videos, and music. I also want to make this a designated space for my poetry, which I will be pouring more of myself into here in the future.

Tumblr has been around for a little while now, but is growing at an increasingly fast rate. If you have a Tumblr account, or are interested, I recommend checking out my baby blog. I want to have fun with it and with an audience, I can deliver just that!

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It Went Too Fast, Love – a poem about heartbreak

If I could, I really would
Catch every tear that fell.
Though I know I really should
Accept that time will tell.

It was a lost cause,
But you’re not lost, love.
It was a past love,
It went too fast, love.

I imagine her expression,
As she quickly shut the door.
All too clear was her rejection.
I clean the pieces from the floor.

Strawberries fragrant in the air,
Strawberry scented, like her hair.

Tire tracks provide evidence,
Matching tread marks on my heart.
Spinning sick, it makes no sense.
There came an end before a start.

It was a lost cause,
But you’re not lost, love.
It was a past love,
It went too fast, love.

Her fingerprints left in the dust,
Silky strands clogged in the drain.
That skin was more than glowing lust,
Her ideals around this room remain.

Strawberries fragrant in the air,
Strawberry scented, like her hair.

Need an intervention of the soul.
May I have the will to dream?
Once was fire, now burned a hole.
Is this as broken as it seems?

It was a lost cause,
But you’re not lost, love.
It was a past love,
It went too fast, love.

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My Insecurities Have Insecurities, a poem

Her name is envy, and I water her with her praise.
She depletes me of my passion with her charismatic ways.
My green-eyed goddess is introspectively corrupt.
Yet she triggers the deepest fire, fighting to erupt.

Motivation, situation, inspirational attack.
Sheer ambition, meditation, intuition that I lack.

My game is wilted, and I feed my own revolt.
Therapy and drugs leave me grasping in the cold.
My domestic bliss is superstitiously corrupt.
Clawing to escape the deepest fire, fighting to erupt.

Motivation, situation, inspirational attack.
Sheer ambition, meditation, intuition that I lack.

The shame has surfaced, and I hide from the very truth.
I don’t satisfy my convention so I pacify and soothe.
My aspiring lust for life doesn’t seem so corrupt.
Self-induced rage is the deepest fire, fighting to erupt.

Motivation, situation, inspirational attack.
Sheer ambition, meditation, intuition that I lack.

That blame is distended to all the other girls.
A lack of confidence wreaking havoc in my world.
My insecurities fully weighted and corrupt.
Sabotage destruction of the deepest fire, fighting to erupt.

Motivation, situation, inspirational attack.
Sheer ambition, meditation, intuition that I lack.

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Nothing But A Vision, A Poem

If I could re-dream a dream, it would be the one where she asked me about my attractiveness.
And that sensation in the pit of my gut when she balked at my modest “I’m average, I guess”.
For she continued to adore in an awe-struck manner, eloquently, dominantly, decidedly.
She brought out the sheepish in me, complimented by none other than shock and brutal flattery.
She isn’t real. None of it was real. It was nothing but a vision, a stroke of my imagination.
 
How often can I dream?
Every day or every night?
What all does it mean?
Is it false or is it right?
 
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If I could re-direct my direction, I would have never been in the position to spend the night.
And that blow to the hollow of my gut when she cried at my frantic “I’m sorry, I swear”.
For the scene continued in a tension-filled manner heartbreakingly, desperately, recklessly.
She brought out the remorse in me, complimented by none other than shame and tender injury.
She isn’t real. None of it was real. It was nothing but a vision, a stroke of my imagination.
 
How often do I scream?
Every day or every night?
What all does it mean?
Is it false or is it right?
 
If I could re-emerge an existence, it would be fluid and the inventor of charismatic overdrive.
And that warmth that rushes my gut when she notices my assertive, “I’m happy, I’m me”.
For I endorsed a promise in me, to re-birth in a manner so gracefully, graciously, remarkably.
She brought out the risk in me, complimented by none other than force and sincere approval.
She isn’t real. None of it was real. It was nothing but a vision, a stroke of my imagination.
 
How often does it seem?
Every day or every night?
What all does it mean?
It can’t be false if it seems right.

When Boredom Makes You Lose It

Blasé, bored, mundane. 
Everyday the same.
 
I think I’ll go insane.
But just myself to blame.
 
Sugar dripping in the rain.
Porcelain robot I became.
 
Stimulate a thirsty brain.
Force fed back into the game.
 
Trading glitter for cocaine.
Imagination taking aim.
 
Disenchanted I sustain.
Listless hours ought to shame.
 
Unamused, dried to pain.
Chaos spikes a dull mind-frame.
 
Boredom has me on a chain.
Slaving to a world so tame.

 

Purge – a really intense poem

I check my pulse to see if I’m still living
In the spillway to the remnants of my thoughts.
I just might daydream about a daydream,
And harness a fantasy about the ones who came before
The ones who came before the ones who didn’t care.
 
I search my heart to see if I’m still yearning
For the roadway to the seedlings of my life.
I just might embrace feeling this feeling,
And open my soul to quench the thirstiest thirst
Of the thirsty firsts for the needs to which I bear.
 
I clean my mouth to see if I’m still tainted
In the airway to the speeches of my intention.
I just might mix poison with poison,
And demand an understanding as I visualize
The lies of the lies that I cried in despair.
 
I wrack my mind to discover the key
To a pathway of authentic ramification.
I just might abscond the chains of sanity,
And infect my cerebral gears that speared the fears
Of indifferent years I grew from what was spared.
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Best Friend, A Poem

Best Friend

Desperate look with bloodshot eyes,
Liquid fix helps the hours you cried.
You yell for me, shout for me,
Begging to save.
Grab for me, grasp on me,
Always your way.
Threw you a dozen ropes of remedy,
Marveled at the woven noose of travesty.
How did you do this to us?
Why do you do it to yourself?
The ropes turn to the sharpest thorns,
My blood, dignity, trust is scorned.
Still you yell for me, shout for me,
Begging to save.
Grab for me, grasp on me,
Always your way.
Figure it out now with me gone.
I’ll take a new path that can’t be wrong.
How did you do this to us?
Why do you do it to yourself?
My friend, I wish you all that shines.
Free from ropes, alone you fly.
I can’t let you yell for me, shout for me,
Beg me to save.
Grab for me, grasp on me,
No longer your way.

Today

Today
Today I feel like a star,
Today I’m more alive than ever.
This time I know I’ll get far,
It’s time to show them my clever.
Today my mind is sound,
Today I manipulate the waves.
Upon me is a new sense of found,
Clothe me in fragments that saved.
Today I dress up the world,
Today I invest in my heart.
I am no longer a tortured girl,
It is no longer backward from start.
Today my blood is hot,
Today I depend on my fire.
An action shows what you’ve got,
Reaction will lead to desire.
Today the sun bathes my skin,
Today electricity swallows my veins.
I thirst for the notion to begin,
I absorb these emotions, wild and strange.

zen waterfall

Parade of Pills

Just a little ‘ol poem flirting with lunacy and pharmaceuticals…

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PARADE OF PILLS
The drama mask,
Tie it tight.
Toxic prisms
In the light.
Choose your mind
Blue, pink, white.
Wash it down,
Pose no fight.
Happy, shiny
Crystal height.
My jester hat
Falls off at night.
Behold my thoughts,
And take a bite.
Smelling voices,
Tasting sight.
Dance on arrows.
Choke me right.
Bells are screaming
Crash down kite.
Veins are ticklish,
Flesh so bright.
Parade of pills.
Test that flight.

Crutch, a Poem About Bipolar Depression

Okay, the not so exciting part of Bipolar Disorder is that nagging feeling of depression. The downside of the pole. The dark cloud. You get my point. And because I’ve been dealing with it’s annoying existence, you get to hear about it. Haha. On that note, here is a poem I wrote describing my current state of mind, and how I feel stuck, but want to be free from it. Enjoy.

CRUTCH
Cut me up with that serrated tone,
Surviving multiple tricks and tangles
to leave a fragile core un-mangled.

Swallow me whole then spit me out,
I feel that destructive appetite
then savor that insatiable afterlight.

Take me in before it gets too cold
in my pretentious cell, so ripe.
The gradient dream is impossibly bright.

Drink me and my liquid darkness,
Saturated deflation once in vain.
Desire to evolve never the same.

Cradle me with a protective whisper.
Convince my thoughts to fade away.
Compulsive existence plays the break of day.

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Psychopharmocology

This poem is dedicated to the psychotropic medication soap opera that many of us have faced. Bipolar medications are very specific and often a method of trial and error, and most usually a frustrating adventure. My loving (and very patient) wife helps manage my medications, which I am eternally grateful for! Anyway, I wrote this little poem with the world of meds in mind.

Psychopharmocology:

Little pills just like candy,

Gagged and bound, forgotten code.

Simple thrills and what they would be

Altercations a la mode.

Sweet and salty syndication

Reclaimed a garter at the seams. 

Climb the ladder’s big sensation

Pharmaterror sugar dreams.