The World According to Me
Perception of events is personal. What you perceive, and what everyone else perceives, is uniquely coloured by who and where you are.
The accepted, standard mood spectrum runs from 1 to 10. One is extremely unhappy (suicidal thoughts, glass half empty and probably chipped). Ten is deliriously happy (whooping for joy, rolling about on the floor laughing).
With bipolar mood disorder (at least my perception and individual experience of it) the spectrum goes from minus 3 all the way up to 13. Minus 3 means chronically depressed (constant suicidal ideation, depressive psychosis) while 13 means unbridled joy (delusions of many sorts, inability to function normally).
This is the perception of myself within my illness.
This insight has come at the cost of a few very serious mental breakdowns (or within the context of Bipolar they are merely referred to as mood episodes, because let’s face it I couldn’t keep count).
But far from woe is me, I’m more at ease with myself than ever. A lot of my behaviour (over which I would in the past have seriously beaten myself up) becomes, not excusable, but certainly understandable.
Part of what has led to this helpful shift in my behaviour is creative writing.
Most of my output has been poetry, also some flash fiction, short stories and prose. It has been an important weapon in my arsenal, allowing me to work through thoughts and feelings without immediately acting on impulse.
Poetry as a form of expression, free verse and stream of consciousness, has been a great way to work out excess mental energy. The result has been incredibly calming and helpful.
I have been writing poetry solidly for a year now. I have written and co-written over 100 poems during this period, some of which I compiled into an anthology called Black, White and Red: Volume One.
It’s available as an e-book on Kindle if you’re interested. It is rough around the edges but I’m proud.
My plan is to self-publish the second manuscript in October. Right now I’m waiting for any last minute contributions and giving myself a chance to promote it at poetry nights throughout September.
So I would encourage anyone who is thinking about creative writing to do so.
Don’t restrict what format you write in. I found poetry’s immediacy and ability to be performed in front of people exhilarating and addictive. But I also have written short stories, little bits of flash fiction and charted out a series of science fiction novels.
In fact my Black, White and Red project is encouraging contributors in both written and visual fields to stand up and be counted. My Facebook page is open to all who would like to contribute or just look through the content placed on the page by its users.
I have a “well, they can do it so why can’t I” attitude which would perhaps be inappropriate for brain surgery or psychology, but when it comes to creative voices, we all have one.
Our 9 to 5 existence can get in the way. But for now I have slipped outside its monotonous grasp.
I am more than ever on the outside looking in.
I may look perfectly ok, but I’m not I’m inherently different.
With figures varying from 1 in 100 to 1 in 1000 sitting somewhere on the bipolar spectrum, we may be a minority, but I assure you we are not a silent one.
Well I’m not. Not anymore. And I never hope to be so again.
Poetry can be empowering. Here is my call to arms for everyone who wants to do something creative, fun or positive.
Fuck the negative(s)!
Let’s tear it all down
Like the Berlin Wall
Smash the Divide
Quell that voice
That says don’t
Who say “Can’t”
Tune myself away
From your radio of
HOPE robbing beats
That part of your inside
Telling you it won’t
I’m YELLING at you
That it might just
Or even WILL
So say with me
FUCK the negative!
Louder still, another go
FUCK THE NEGATIVES!
1…2..3 Fuck The Negatives!
Thomas Smith (Gillies) is an active poet and performer currently living just outside London. He believe that creativity is for the majority, and we all have a voice. Find Tom on Facebook or buy his first volume of poetry for Kindle here.