I’m working on a writing project – which is the ambiguous name I give to song lyrics, short stories, essays, poems, and attempts at novels, just in case I don’t finish the thing which is almost always. Anyway, the narrator/protagonist of this particular project is starting to take shape and take on dimensions and feel like an approximation of a plausible person, which is what I’m going for. But there’s something missing. My protagonist is not mentally ill. So there’s a challenge here.

The storyline calls for a pretty hefty amount of absurdity, so I think creating a sane character in an absurd setting isn’t, in practice, dramatically different from creating an insane character in a non-absurd setting. I could be wrong about this. I’m excited to find out.

But I’ve been a weirdo all my life and then “weirdo” got stamped with the clinical “bipolar” around age 22, so I kinda question my ability to explore how the average brain works. Maybe I’m just being down on my own abilities and refusing to flex muscles to see if I do indeed have them, I’m kind of negative. At any rate, and I’ve said this before, probably out loud and probably here, I assume that the average brain is a dull space. I assume things happen methodically and I assume the average brain doesn’t tend to question whether or not to pathologize this or that emotion upon feeling it. ‘Course, the thing about average is that it’s a pretty blurry figure. Everyone’s bizarre on their own right, regardless of mental illness. My narrator doesn’t have to be sick to be weird.

‘Cause of course (s)he’s gonna be weird.

So, I guess, in the context of simple daily functioning, how does my thinking and behavior differ from someone who doesn’t have bipolar? Not in the broad overall sense, but more like, what am I thinking as I board the bus vs. the person behind me? I’m hyperaware of how I situate myself in my surroundings. I don’t just take a seat. I often feel watched and very occasionally judged. I have a very hard time sitting still. I have mildly dissociative fantasies to kill the boredom, it’s one of the reasons I’m almost never bored. And then there’s the disentangling of bipolar traits from simple Laura traits, and just believe me, 8 years of therapy will make that hard for anyone. If I explore something long enough, the detail seems infinitesimal.

Maybe I’m in a unique position here, ’cause most often, to me, the world feels absurd and arbitrary. I can totally work with absurd and arbitrary. They’re my vernacular.

Boiling this all down, I guess I’m questioning whether I can craft an imaginary person who responds as reasonably to a situation as is required when I don’t know if I could pull that off myself. Also, y’know, people have done this shit for as long as storytelling has existed so the more I think about this and the more I write about it, the more I’m sort of seeing that this is really an issue with me and my self-doubt. Despite my history of candor here, I actually have a super hard time sharing my creative work, even with close friends because I fret over details, I fret over how they’ll interpret it, I fret over its general likability. Sometimes, I wish I had a proxy who could assume all credit for whatever work I do and I can just enjoy the work (except when I backtrack on that if the work is received positively and I want my props, because of course I do).

Anyhowl, I guess all this explains my sporadic presence here and…my absences to come…sorry…really. BUT! BUT! A couple weeks ago was Casual Bedlam’s first birthday. This baby is a year old! And I’m still writing about about my poop, just like the inaugural post. Poop, one of the greater equalizers. It’s kind of out of character for me to do something for an entire year, so this is a proud moment for me. CB is not my first or second bipolar blog. Some of the early few died before the first post ’cause I couldn’t settle on a font or a background color or some shit. You guys, you guys, I did a thing. I don’t get to say that a whole lot. I get the chance to feel proud of it even less often. So, ending on a high note: Happy belated birthday, Casual Bedlam, here’s to many more!


Tagged: absurdity, bipolar disorder, creativity, daily life, mental illness, poop, therapy, writing

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