Resistance is … Forever

I’ve been thinking quite a bit as of late about the rest of my life.

I imagine I have this in common with those who contemplate all over the world, and especially those considering making a life-long commitment of any sort. And perhaps I have this in common as well with those who know as well that making such a commitment means turning away from something else, shutting a door that has long been an option always hovering at the back of one’s mind, wrenching a key in a lock and destroying it – because otherwise you’ll risk making a promise you don’t know you can keep.

It’s a frightening time to be successful and mentally ill in the United States. Top administration slurring socially acceptable comments as you try to still your shaking hands. Months of wrangling insurance to find help. The community at large making baseless comparisons to perpetrators of violence. Over-publicized lobbyists calling for black triangle lists.

And I count myself among the lucky.

I ride my mania with all the joy and productivity my analytic mind will allow, knowing the depths that are to follow. I create beauty and brilliance, I research and write and succeed without thought of sleep or sustenance or limitations.

And when I fall, from the mania, or from a trigger, or – more often than not – from no where at all, I seldom walk alone.

I have heard Suicide’s Siren Song for almost 13 years, on City streets, on lofty mountains, in Buddhist temples,  in bone-dry river beds. More often than I have taken her hand, have I turned my head away. Her hand is warm and soft, but not so much as my mother’s. Her grip is strong and reassuring, but my father’s is moreso. When I am ill, which is less and less frequent, I know in her arms lies safety and truth and correctness for everyone I love.

But I would rather have him.

I know the point where illusions smother analysis and the kind of darkness with no stars leaves my trembling hand only one key to turn. It’s always there. The door in the back of my mind.

I don’t think a woman, even an ill woman ever working to become well, can say forever with a backup route sketched out. And when you make a promise and mean it, this is what you do – I step forward into your arms and deny the tantalizing tendrils of song calling me beyond the bleakness.

It doesn’t make them go away.

Illness isn’t a switch turned on or off at our whims. So I worry that I can’t close that door.

But I know that if I’m walking beside you and her Siren Song comes along, it will always be your hand I take. I know that if the starless darkness falls, the promise I made will shine. I know that a promise made is rooted in my intrinsic stubbornness that makes my work fantastic when I’m less than, marries me to a task of which I’ve long since wearied, and made me choose family and lithosphere so many times before.

I know that if I make a promise to you, I can continue to resist … always.


A special thank you to the courage and truth of George Rohac, who helped me feel able to muse about my own bipolar disorder II in a public forum.


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