Their ideas for the screenplay were nothing short of brilliant, yet there was something very unsettling about it from the very beginning, and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it until recently. I was blinded by the end result and the idea that this project would transform my life … our lives, in extraordinary ways. I was distracted by shiny objects; the charaters in the story – the music, the scenery and the mind-bending conversations had with random strangers along my journey.
Have you ever seen the illustrated movie, Waking Life? It’s about one man’s journey down the rabbit hole through a myriad of spiritual awakenings, exestential crisis and kaleidoscopic experiences. My manic breaks were profoundly similar to those portrayed in the movie, but with a generous twist of messy and fantasy-laced love and spontaneous travel added as fuel.
And although their enthusiasm and fever were palpable, they didn’t seem to want to hear what lay beneath what they saw through understandably skewed and stigmatized lenses. And maybe the fault lies with me. I choked because I was just learning to exercise my voice. It seemed to me that they were basing the entire story off of only the tip of the iceberg; Society’s reaction and retraction to and from a gal who publically committed social suicide on social media by wrapping everyone into a play by play of psychosis, euphoria and mania-fueled escapes from reality.
As with anyone who has tipped over the edge into the psychotic experiences that can be triggered by Bipolar One, there was so much more to the story than what lay on the surface. In fact, most of the movie-worthy gold lies beneath the chaotic waves that broke me. Somewhere within the mind, saturated in a euphoric high, lies the unraveling of the authentic self where all makes perfect sense as the story drifts through calmer waters that anchor into depths rarely ever seen by others.
And that hidden story was exactly what I wanted to see at the forefront of this project. I wasn’t discounting the genius in highlighting reactions to the chaos, positive or negative, but I didn’t want that to be the focus. Unfortunately, that was the main thing fueling their desire to help make this project a reality. They were leaning heavy on timing and marketing that would have undoubtedly caught the attention of this social media-crazed society. There is beauty in the breakdown, but the way it was sounding, I would have ended up looking like a bigger fool than I already was and I had suffered enough already. I leaned heavily on the beauty that unfolded within the experiential aspects of it all and the strength within a brilliant and resilient recovery.
I’m a huge fan of seeing the positive in most anything, including something as complex and destructive as Bipolar One and psychosis. I have to see the positive and creative edge or I’d be lost without meaning or propellant to launch me forward into the fullness of life. Taking up a positive view dispels stigma and that was my intial, overall goal.
On top of what was said, I also should have known better than to naively believe that someone with little mental health experience could accurately summarize the complexity found within manic breaks that have been unfolding for 6 years, especially when even they decided to unfollow me long before he agreed to help out, as a result of stigma, fear and frustration. How could I expect the masses to understand if the writer himself refused to try? Unless you can dissect my brain telepathically, I dont think it’s going to work. Although I appreciate the enthusiasm and the generation of ideas, I think it’s time to move on and look elsewhere. Maybe I’m going to be the one carrying this torch for the last leg of this creative journey.
I refuse to fall victim to this notion that Bipolar Disorder equates to tragedy, struggle and perpetual brokeness. It’s a beautiful disaster – saturated in spontaneous adventure, messy love, twisted humor and unparalleled bravery.