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What Nighttime Is Like in My Sleep Deprived Bipolar Mind

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There is a million black velvet hands brushing across my eyelids coaxing me to sleep. But if I close my eyes they’ll cover my nose and mouth. An old voice tells me every worst case scenario and maybe if I’m very small and weak the memories will stop laughing at my inconvenient tears.

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They’re watching from the corners and they have a black velvet snake curled on the ceiling ready to strike. The second I close my eyes I’ll feel the needles of fangs in me.

The old voice tells me I’m lazy and I’m just not trying hard enough. The old voice says if I cared I’d be quiet and let him sleep. So I learned to cry in almost silence a long time ago.

Jerry, asleep and unaware of my audience, snores softly. He doesn’t understand. But even I don’t understand, so we are both lost.

The black velvet fingers across my face coax my eyes to close but I dare not. I cannot. The shadows can’t move if I’m watching them.

A small man and a tall man standing in the corner of my bedroom with their square shouldered suits and faceless forms. There’s a soft rustle of hair charged with static that may or may not be my own. She crawls blind on the floor, dazed from the hit and feeling for her glasses as if that would slow the bleeding.

I get to watch my most vulnerable self cower on the ground, shrouded in long black hair and trembling ever so slightly without a sound. A fist curls in the black curtain of hair and it knows I’m watching. It likes it when I watch. But the shadows can’t move if I don’t blink. I owe it to myself to watch, to not re-live that memory.

The old voice shouts all my doubts at me — too loud to ignore at night. I’m a bad mother. I’m a bad partner. I’m a bad daughter. Everyone would be better off if I weren’t here. I’m a fraud. Slut. Prig. Fat, lazy cow. It knows how much I hate being called lazy. The old voice lists all my flaws and you don’t have to have truth for people to listen, the right answer is the loudest.

I’m extremely susceptible to suggestion. The faintest whispers blossom into full choruses of songs that weren’t even playing to begin with.

Some might call it schizoaffective, but I think I’m a garden variety bipolar with a very vivid imagination.

Stress and sleep deprivation stand in the shadows in boxy shouldered suits.





Medication isn’t a silver bullet to stop the demons, it’s the stake clenched in your fist. You have to get close — make it personal.

It’s just me and the old voice in the forced air silence, now. Shadows lay flat and formless against the walls. I have a mental illness but it doesn’t have me.

I won’t promise I’ll win every night. But I survived tonight and that’s enough for now.

Getty image via Good_Studio

Originally published: March 13, 2018
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