Cities are such dynamic things. I live in one! It’s a dysfunctional city in a lot of ways, but it’s still there. In my city, there are entrepreneurs, construction projects, and, of course, people! Some people live in the bright part of the city. Some people live in the dark side. I’m kind of a nomad. I move from one end to the other. Sometimes, I live in the middle of the city, where what everybody else calls ‘normal’ days occur.
I sort of like the bright part of the city, where light is everywhere, and there’s so much energy. The world seems to be better over there. Anything is possible! Life is yours to live! Nothing can go wrong! But if you go far enough, the light starts to play tricks on you. You think you see something, but it’s just a mirage, but you don’t know it is.
Then there’s the dark part. Darkness can be nice and beautiful in a way until you get far enough in, and there is a fine line between far enough and too far. Then the ground gets all sticky and muddy, and the world starts to dim as you slide deeper. The light seems to get farther and farther away, and eventually it is as far away as the stars in the sky, and the brightness and the energy is just a memory. You want the brightness and energy, but you have none left, so you sink farther and farther into the pit, and you can’t even struggle anywhere as you get pulled under.
Some people don’t come back from the dark. Some people go too far in the light, too, so they don’t come back either. When I’m in the ‘normal’ days, it’s scary to think I might not come back, but when you start to go one way or the other, or even get pulled both ways at once sometimes, it gets harder to care.
In the light, when you go one way, the way with all the energy, there’s positives. The brighter it gets, the more positives there are, and the less you can see the negatives. A lot of the ‘normals’ think that’s a good thing. But if all you see is positives, everything is safe. That’s not the way it is. Things can still hurt you, but you don’t think of that, so you do stupid things. That’s why some people don’t come back from the light.
On the other hand, in the dark, when you go one way, there is no energy, and there are negatives. The darker it gets, the bigger the negatives are. Eventually, the negatives can’t get any bigger without damaging you. That’s why a lot of people don’t come back from the dark. Even if you do get out, it leaves marks, like inky splotches on a background. You can’t just take away the ink. You can try to paint over it, but it’ll always be there, even if you can match the colors perfectly. And you can’t just get a new background. That’s not how it works.
Sometimes, though, the light and the dark try to coexist. It’s not like the brightness of day, or the darkness of night. It’s more like an eclipse. There’s ideas and brightness there, but it’s overshadowed by something dark and sticky, and because the light isn’t there, there’s no energy.
A lot of people who live in this shadowy, dimly lit place don’t talk about it. People can see you when you’re in the light, but the light isn’t there. People can find you in the dark because they’ve seen you in the light. But this place, this façade of light, this veneer of darkness, can look normal. There’s light around the edges. It looks like day, even if it’s dim. Maybe it’s just cloudy? But it’s not. It’s torture, just as bad as the mirages and just as deep as the pit.
Then, if you can get out of the muck before you sink, if you can orient yourself in the light before you soar away, you can travel back to ‘normal.’ And once you’re there, people don’t think about it anymore. And you try to do that, too. But somewhere deep in your mind, you know that you’ll wander too far again, not willingly, but because you have to.
And where is this? Is this a place in the world? Sort of, but it’s more a place in the mind. Physically, things can be explained. Chemically, something’s wrong. But emotionally, mentally, it’s a rollercoaster.
What is this city I spoke of? It’s the city I live in every day of my life. This is a city that seems invisible most of the time, that people speak of in whispers, and that rumors spread about it are exaggerated or completely false. So few talk about it honestly, and those that do are crazy.
This is the reality of bipolar disorder.