Such a tourist

16.11.08 – Bipolar support network

Up. Down. Up. Down. Sitting across and staring at my hair, eyes deep, pleading and blotched with tears. It’s like someone put me on a string and bounces me up and down she says she says she feels out of control and like she’s floating she’s drifting and she’s so on her own. No wonder with those hollowed cheeks, scare anyone off a mile. “Have you just found out?” “Yes.” “How long have you known?” “Forever.” Sympathetic eyes, knowing looks, a communal nodding of heads. In anxiety and isolation comes a community who bond in knowing the pain of others, recognising in others some new perversion of the pain they know themselves. Parents. Children. Carers. Friends. The same crowd, the same victims. “Is your hair a product of one of your creative phases?” “Yes, and your breasts too, I suppose?” “It’s lovely.” “Yours too.” An outside that reflects the disjunction and the chaos within. When words become mere little black marks or sounds on over-congested airwaves the visual comes to be a manifestation of the un-expressed self. A mask thicker than usual, because the cracks are deeper. Tears? Oh yes, there are tears. Deep, heaving ones because he’s desolate he can’t find it in him to believe he loves her and deserves to love her, and so he’s been losing her for years. Soft, gentle tears of those who’ve learned that crying does no good and so needs not be noticed by anyone. Sharp, shocked sobs because you suddenly realise what they say refers to you. Yes, they believe every word you say and so as she’s falling she’s floating she’s drifting out of control she’s looking to you to catch her, you to pull her in and stop the rollercoaster of agony and ecstasy and cut her from her strings. Go into groups of three and draw out a picture of how you feel on your highest and lowest points. One of those large women wearing a long skirt from Peacocks sitting with her legs disconcertingly apart, skirt sagging between her knees like a hammock. Boy, 17. Draw a high point; sunshine, rainbows, flying humans and indestructibility. I am queen of the dingoes and my hair is the texture of silk. Draw of low point; darkness, knives. A hideous scream, lost in a swirl of confusion. Citalopram and Xanax. Share it to the group, show how you feel, parade your innermost feelings on a piece of paper in childlike scrawl. Feel inadequate. Feel ashamed. Feel small. Come back next week with a mood board, anything, scraps of paper, magazines, bits of fabric. A mosaic of a life of commodity and community you’ll never understand. Sit for a minute in silent reflection and find some inner calm. Calm. Calm. You haven’t known that feeling for a long time know, riding the wave and hoping it doesn’t pull you down too deep or carry you so high up you’re propelled too far and never come down again. “It was lovely to meet you, I do hope you’ll come back next week,” smiles, handshakes, air kisses and hugs. Caress my hand lightly because it’s too awkward. We’re normal, we’re both normal, we see what we present and that’s normal enough. It’s the end of the evening and we’re not really crazy any more. Hug me tight with abandon, clutch me to you because now you have to go back out there and the walls go back up for another week. You’re alone again now, you’ve let go and walking away but I’m holding your strings, I’m pulling you back, bouncing you up and pulling you down and next week we’ll do it all over again and I’ll see when you next week we’ll do it all over again

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