Sunday, August 15, 2004

The Silver Lining's Cloud

Brendan and I just returned from an entertaining and entirely necessary vacation at Lake Powell, the largest man-made lake in the country. It's beautiful, with deep red canyons rising above the lake on either side. The lake, a reservoir of a dam on the Colorado River, is at a historic low; it's at something like 30% of it's capacity.

Anyway, upon returning from this trip, I find myself downright joyful. I was touched by the spontaneous kindness of other people who rescued us when our boat was beached, when our boat floated away in the night and when we ran out of gas. (We're obviously seasoned mariners!) It's inspiring to be invigorated by the kindness of humanity, the true and unadulterated kindness of people. We can never repay the favors these people gave us. But they came to our rescue anyway. You just can't get any more generous than that.

Upon starting another joyous pattern of hypomania, I confess I'm apprehensive about slipping back into yet another depression. That's the ugliness of being bipolar. Every silver lining is followed by a cloud. I realize that's a classic pessimistic sentiment; some people might say that every cloud is followed by a silver lining. But the fact of the matter is that silver linings simply don't last that long.

Sometimes I wonder if people who are mentally ill are just more sensitive to the spiritual world, like we are in tune with vibrations that other people just don't recognize or experience. Maybe we feel the profound sadness of those who died on 9/11 and we know how much they miss their families. Maybe we feel that walking into a hospital, some people are saying goodbye while others are saying hello. Maybe we understand that behind a happy face lies a troubled person.

Or maybe, we just think we feel these things because we're a little crazy.