The Bad Side of The Moon: The Darkness and the Hurt of the Bipolar Illness

Posted on March 27, 2011. Filed under: Commentary, Redemption | Tags: , |

There ain’t no need for watchdogs here, to justify our ways

We lived our lives in manacles, the main cause of our stay

And exiled here from other worlds, my sentence comes too soon

Why should I be made to pay on the bad side of the moon.

Lyrics from the April Wine song Bad Side of The Moon

An acute and searing white pain reverberated throughout my being as I contemplated what had been only a few minutes earlier that which I never thought I would ever have to consider. Right off the bat, and because there are so many convergent points of consideration, I will not go into the specifics of the source of this gut wrenching revelation. Besides, anyone who has lived and loved someone who suffers from Bipolar likely understands all too well, the crystallizing realities that shake the very foundations of what you thought you knew, and the fact that everything you thought you knew about the other person no longer applies. In other words all bets are off and, as any expert will tell you, let nothing from this point on surprise you. Anything and everything is now a possibility.

The primary purpose of this post is to share the experiences and feelings that can cascade either sequentially or in a simultaneous roar of thundering progression when the unthinkable happens, and what you need to do in terms of taking a eternal versus an acute view of the events that are rapidly unfolding so as to avoid making the situation worse. Or as another expert so wisely put it . . . you are now the only adult in the family capable of sound decision-making. Take this responsibility seriously and be prudent in all that you do.

Make no mistake there is a bad side of the Bipolar Moon, where the illness takes a myopically and irresistibly compelling control of the sufferer that drives their actions into the realms of shocking and destructive behavior. This of course provides an influencing explanation for said behavior but, it does not limit or excuse them from it. Unfortunately, and as you will discover in even greater depth, the manipulative characteristics of the illness will go into high gear as the Bipolar sufferer will do and say almost anything to avoid facing up to the consequences of their actions. After all, for them the battle has raged inside the limiting confines of their heads for such a long period of time that few have ever ventured out to gauge their behavior in the context of the every day world. This in and of itself can be aggravating, in that they will try and create an illusion of normalcy or conversely pursue a ego satiating high road facade in which outsiders who are unaware of the true gravity of the situation will rush to support their courageousness in admitting there is a problem without actually disclosing the extent to which said problem has impacted those around them.

Besides pausing to accept and then properly deal with the initial rush of cacophonous emotions upon the initial discovery of what has been going on behind one’s back and out of the range of one’s contemplation, this is perhaps the most critical juncture in an evolving and fluid situation.

To start, be prepared to experience the Bipolar sufferer’s wrath when you do make responsible decisions and inform your support network of what has happened. To the sufferer of this illness anything that cracks the illusion of their deception is perceived as a threat, and there is no greater threat than facing reality beyond their own distorted sensibilities and the feeling that they have been found out. This is why it is imperative that you recognize that you will have feelings of anger and resentment (along with shock and hurt) and that in your sharing with others, you make certain that you are dealing from a position of practical necessity with a longer-term view versus simply reacting to an albeit understandable upset. In short, it is still important to remember that the illness does play a role in what has happened and that when the wall between the Bipolar sufferer’s perception and reality comes down there is significant exposure and a corresponding risk associated with the self-condemnation they will inevitably feel.

For me, I have no illusions that I will for the next few days and perhaps even weeks, experience the emotional aftershocks of a devastating situation in which I find myself an unexpected but necessary participant charged with navigating the challenging waters of a life and family turned upside down as a result of mental illness. This being said I do truly believe that through prayer, patience and constructive reflection, as well as the recognition that there will be periods of anger and dismay, there is another side to this dark tunnel. In fact I think I can see the first rays of hope shining through.

It is for this reason it is important to understand that the acknowledgement, understanding and proper venting of one’s emotions – and yes you will need to vent, is essential to maintaining an important foundation of equilibrium that will provide the initial building blocks of recovery and ultimately victory.

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