In a Petri dish | Sick, sick and sick

A Narrative Essay

By Holly Beaton


Cultivating a sense of self suspended in contrast to my mind – my personal approach and tenacious attempt to co-exist with co-morbidity; as I am both a recovering addict and a child of the mania and depression spectrum; swinging effortlessly from either end of too much and never quite enough.

The “diagnosis” I do accept, painstaking in my continuous investigation of the meaning of both.

I started off lockdown in the full swing of productivity; sewing and upcycling, writing, cooking, creating – even cleaning. Making witchy tinctures, growing baby echeverias, relishing in the four corners of my own sacred circle. It’s moments like those; of unstoppable inspiration, moving onto the next action that always feels quite spectacularly impenetrable. Until that is, I can no longer make it out of bed; the energy dissipated from my once curious eyes. What the fuck was the point of any of it?

I am the cup overflowing with nectar and niceties; making everyone proud – stable, caring, open.

Until I pour out the contents, inconsistent and empty again; apathy always seems to reign.

Bipolar; the polarity in mood or state of being, is a dance that my brain dances strictly with my body. No one else is invited, even when I call them over and beg them to stay; and in some perverse way, I want to be utterly alone. When I am depressed, loneliness is the only comfort that makes sense.

Don’t touch me; I want to hurt.

I am the manically laughing, hyperactive starbeam when I come back; fleeting moments of true joy; true wonder of seeing through these eyes that I call my own. Sullen no more.
To keep these moments from escalating, keeping them at just “enough”, I devour the medication, and bend backwards in my routines; “Management” being the very best outcome for warding off the inevitable demise; crashing and burning that always, in all ways, arrives.

I could think of a thousand ways to rattle my bones and torch my skin for one taste of a remedy that makes me utterly sane; one that keeps me totally consistent, psychiatric ward visits infrequent, and able to indulge in the occasional drink – or puff – but that is a wish for another life. When your brain conjures up its own peculiar set of drugs and sends you quantum leaping beyond the etheric realms; they call it “psychosis”. Unplugged, unhinged and totally fucking demented.

That is my natural state.

And in the deepest, darkest corners of my mind; when the pity and “It must be so tough for you” army arrives; I am secretly grinning from ear to ear. How else would I exist in a dualistic reality on this planetary gem; but in contrast to the ebb and flow of nature Herself? Sure, all of life strives for stasis and stability; but the road leading there is full of twists and turns.

So when a hurricane hits, and the mountains crack – and volcanoes spit. Would they say Earth was crazy too?

Planets can’t be psycho-analyzed; and this is not a Jungian Universe.

And I am not observable in a petri dish; sick, sick and sick.

I am up, up and up

and every time I fall and rise, I gather more and more gusto for the next fight; healing, wholly – Holly. Exhausted, and enough.

Time to rest.