Have You Ever Felt A Pain So Powerful So Heavy You Collapse I’ve Never Had To Knock On Wood But I Know Someone Who Has

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Have you ever been close to tragedy, Or been close to folks who have? Have you ever felt a pain so powerful, So heavy you collapse? I’ve never had to knock on wood, But I know someone who has… Which makes me wonder if I could.

Have you ever had the odds stacked up so high, You need a strength most don’t possess? Or has it ever come down to do or die, You’ve got to rise above the rest? I’ve never had to knock on wood, But I know someone who has… Which makes me wonder if I could, It makes me wonder if…

I’m not a coward, I’ve just never been tested. I’d like to think that if I was I would pass… Look at the tested and think there but for the grace go. I’m afraid of what I might find out, I’ve never had to knock on wood But I know someone who has, Which makes me wonder if I could.
“The Impression That I Get”; The Mighty Mighty Bosstones

What the fuck is it with us? Even when we have a support network, even when we’ve spent time and energy actually developing a support network, why is it at the first sign of trouble we just dump the whole fucking thing and head for the nearest closet where we can wallow in our misery?

At least four people in my blogroll have either, over the past six weeks, dealt with Tragedy by shutting themselves away from the people directly around them or abandoning their blogs, or both. One of them, right now, has decided stopping his medication is the best way to deal with the death of someone close to them. Which is the dumbest fucking response anyone could ever make.

There’s a tendency to start thinking these blogs are primarily meant for Others to read rather than as places for Us to write about the stuff we need to work out… so when Shit happens we end up breaking off important connections as well as giving up an important outlet which we can use to work the Shit out. If writing is how you work stuff out then don’t forget to write about the stuff you need to work out. Somewhere.*

Look… people don’t work through the Stages of Grief by writing on a blog. But the actions surrounding the blog can be therapeutic. When we’re in the suck fest that is Grief we need structure, we need a basic framework so our physical self can get out of the way of our mental stuff. You need to get out of bed, you need to wash, you need to get dressed, you need to sit with a coffee, you need a cigarette, you need to look out the window and see some movement, you need to see some proof of Life.

And if you post on a regular basis and it has become part of your regular routine then, yeah, you need to post and check stuff out online. Cutting yourself off from the people around you is not an answer. Cutting yourself off from something which has made you happy over the past months and even years makes no sense either. I’m not saying Interact with people who leave little messages, or even those who leave insightful responses, I’m suggesting — strongly — it’s the interaction of the blog Itself which is important.

You need to do the things you normally do, otherwise you begin to tell yourself you really don’t do anything. And in times of Grief we need people interacting with us in any way possible. We need a hand on our shoulder, but if it’s available sometimes we need an email in All Caps telling us to WAKE THE FUCK UP and get back into treatment so you can deal with this Shit from a position of strength… sometimes we just need a funny video from YouTube. But we’re not going to get those if we abandon the support network.

Besides… this is the new FaceSpace Blogger Social Paradigm people, we’re reaching across the planet looking for people and companionship we can’t find down the street because people like Us are hard to find… well This is it, This is who We are. You’re the alcoholic, depressed and occasionally suicidal neighbour I’ve chosen to get to know, and I’m yours, and you’re someone else’s and together we’re a support network for each other.

So do not, ever, hesitate to send an All Caps email and a funny YouTube to someone you think is in trouble. And don’t be afraid to look for them.




About Gabriel...

...diagnosed with manic depression when I was nineteen, for the next 14-years I lived without treatment or a recovery plan. I've been homeless, one time I graduated college, I've won awards for reporting on Internet privacy issues, and a weekly humour column. In 2002 I finally hit bottom and found help. It's now 2022, and I have an 8-year old son, and a 12-year old son... I’m usually about six feet tall, and I'm pretty sure I screwed up my book deal. I mostly blog at saltedlithium.com....
This entry was posted in Bipolar, BiPolar Christmas, Bipolar Disease, Bipolar Disorder, Classic, Clinical Depression, crazy people with no pants, Depression And Christmas, Health, Intervention, Lithium, Living With Depression, Living With Manic Depression, Manic Depression, Punk, Salted Truths, YouTube. Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Have You Ever Felt A Pain So Powerful So Heavy You Collapse I’ve Never Had To Knock On Wood But I Know Someone Who Has

  1. nursemyra says:

    what you’re saying makes complete sense to me. then again, I am fortunate in that I have never experienced bipolar.

    I hope the people you are reaching out to are reading your blog gabriel. I’m sure it helps

  2. exactscience says:

    The one of six was mine, no point in me hiding that.

    I’ve never had to knock on wood. It’s all just emo BS atm

    And you entirely right, sometimes ALL CAPS emails are the kick up the ass peoplenned.

  3. giannakali says:

    while the community I’ve found online has been absolutely necessary— I wouldn’t know that people truly do recover and get off meds and do better than ever before without my far-flung neighbors supporting my efforts. I just wouldn’t stick with it, but I’ve also had the opposite happen where people I’ve come to trust have trashed me. This never happened to me in real life. My judgment in real life has always been impeccable. (save for that of a couple of boyfriends) So I have to say I have a painful mixture of feelings around trusting people out here. I keep on doing it—it’s my lifeline like you said, but I’ve trusted too much at times and perhaps projected to positive a fantasy on a small handful of people. Has that ever happened to you? It really hurts—I know I’m hyper-sensitive right now but knowing that doesn’t make it any better, really it only makes it worse.

    I know I gotta take the bad with the great, and hope I’ve learned to recognize red flags which were indeed there. I suppose I let my guard down.

    And, oh, frankly, I let myself do nothing from time to time. It seems to be a very kind thing in my mind. I can’t always write on my blog — sometimes the next post takes several days to percolate. I respect my rhythm. Though I do have to say I get anxious when I haven’t posted in several days.

    I’m just sorta rambling here. Thinking out loud….hope you don’t mind.

  4. thordora says:

    I don’t know how I’d react to grief now-but I do know you’re right. Even when I’m just down, I have to reach out and hope someone hears. Sometimes it’s the only thing that keeps me sane.

  5. dame says:

    i dunno, g. i feel a bit as thought a parent had just yelled at me for doing something wrong, yet i didn’t know how to do it right. I hear what you’re saying, but i’m still a bit deaf.

  6. bine says:

    i don’t know what to say. i am lost. i have no words. my partner went over the edge on christmas, and i have been living with a maniac for almost a week now. he has painted large parts of our flat, including our kitchen sink and radiator with orange signal paint, he has torn our kitchen cabinets apart, there is not a single room that hasn’t in some way been turned upside down. it’s more than i can stand. i can’t reason with him, i can’t get him to listen, he’s out of control. i want to tie him to a chair, but i can’t. i don’t know what to do. i don’t know whom to talk to. who could help?

  7. Qween Minx says:

    bine??? jesus babe, has he got a CPN (psych nurse)??? he might need a time on a ward??? I don’t know who you are talking about (apart from that I can glean it’s your partner??) … or whether this person has mental health problems … but, if it’s getting that bad please call someone because this person needs help and sometimes that help has to come from an outside agency??

    I have a friend who suffers with psychosis, it’s drug-induced but nevertheless, when he stops taking his meds or the dope has sent him over he ‘needs’ to be in hospital, for his own sake and for the people around him as he becomes violent. I am in no way suggesting that your partner is the same, just trying to point out that sometimes the ‘worst’ thing, which might be being sectioned, is sometimes the best thing?

    gel: I agree with you. I don’t write on my blog so much anymore, unless I’m in a mood where I need to ventilate or create or just ramble on, but that’s not to say I don’t still read yours and the others I have gotten to know, and even when I do, I don’t always comment. I understand that you’re worried about a certain 6 and I am quite positive that they are reading if not participating through their own posts or through comments. It’s what ‘you’ do sometimes that counts, what ‘you’ write that other people find comfort in. The irony is, that if you stopped writing, I would be in despair and very worried about ‘you’.

    I don’t know what I am trying to say. I feel a certain sense of guilt because I don’t write all the time on my blog and I know it was a way that we kept in touch with me and vice versa.

    I dunno!??

    Anyway, have a lovely new year sweetheart in you incredibly beautiful and snowy village.


  8. bine says:

    qween, he’s not in any kind of treatment. he always seemed mildly bipolar to me, except that i understand it there is no such thing as “mild” bipolar. i found out there’s something called cyclothymia, which fits his usual mood swings quite good. this time the mania is really extreme and lasts much longer, and that was definitely drug-induced – hawaiian magic mushrooms. it’s been going on for a week now and i still hope he’ll settle down in a day or two, but it’s getting hard to live with him. i’m kind of desperate. i also have no idea who i would have to call – he’s beyond reasoning and i could only force treatment on him if he was posing a danger to his own life (sorry, don’t know how to say this, i’m not a native speaker).
    thank you, for your thoughts and the concern. i hope this works out.

  9. I suspect that I may be one of the people you are referring to…I negected my blog(s) for quite awhile as I was going through some personal shit (involving the suicide of a longtime friend and dissatisfaction with work), but I have given the matter deep thought and gotten my butt back in gear to blog.

    This was an excellent post, I’m glad you made it. 🙂


  10. Okay, I’m trying to get myself back in circulation here and I come to this. Ooookay! Sounds like some of “us” have been struggling a bit?

    Well, I won’t deny that I have. I’ve been struggling since April when I went into (and came out of) hospital and it’s now the end of the year! Good grief! That’s a long fucking time if you ask me. And it’s not bloody well over yet, let me tell you! The bombs are still dropping and I’m currently picking more shrapnel out of my ass. But at least I’m trying!

    I’m not sure but I may have been one of the “offenders” that got a spanking because I posted about saying to hell with Christmas and just drink your way through it. And sure, of course that’s not exactly productive! But I am home alone on New Year’s Eve with nothing alcoholic in my hands–hey, Gabriel, aren’t you proud *wink*

    As for “pain?” It’s universal and we all go through our own hells. No one can measure or compare. Has my “pain” ever made me collapse physically? Well, maybe into a ball of tears on the floor…or exhaustion on my bed. Have I ever “felt” like I would collapse psychologically? Well, I have–it’s called losing it and going to hospital.

    Blogging support systems. I’m not at all sure what to say about this. I never even thought I would have a blog–ever. Now that I have…well…I have found some people of support, true. However, some of those relationships may have changed over time, some…because we can be all mental in nature may not be (as) stable or be going through crap when you are. That then may cause problems if you are in need of help right away because they may not be capable of giving it. Your email may fall on “deaf ears.” Unintentionally, of course.

    Now that’s if you’re “calling out.”

    Sure, if you see someone in trouble–reach out. That’s a good thing to do. If you feel comfortable enough to do so? Some bloggers may feel apprehensive if they don’t know the other blogger. Sorry…just rambling.

    I don’t care who wants to shoot me an email hehe.

  11. Anita Marie says:

    Great post Gabriel, thanks for putting out the word.
    anita marie

  12. I don’t have any issues that would medicate me but I do know grief.

    I know the kind of grief that stops you in your tracks and makes your blood run cold in the middle of an otherwise perfectly wonderful day.

    I know the sort of despair that has you believing that tomorrow can only bring more loss.

    I know the sort of ache that feels black inside your stomach and sucks the color out of the room.

    I also know that sometimes I needed to pretend that everything was okay and sometimes the fake smile on my face would turn into a real one.

    And I know that my grief is subsiding into a dull ache and I cry a lot less for the friends I’ve lost.

    I know it’s worse if you’re bipolar but I do hope you’ll persevere.

  13. only4now says:

    I have had physical pain that was so intense that I blacked out. (A large piece of metal speared thru my hand)

    I have also dealt with mental pain that was so intense that I wigged out.

    On the flip side, I have played the heroin and offered road-side assistance to a man who had stopped his car in the middle of the road. He was having a heart attack. I remained calm while calling 911 and giving him one of his nitro pills.

    I think I was able to remain calm because I had no previous bonds with the man. There was no fears of losing a loved one to cloud my thought process.

    I do understand what you are saying about the need to keep moving, to keep living when faced with more than we feel we can handle.

    The advise is easy to follow when I am up, and so very tough to follow when I am down.

    I will make an effort to at least brush my teeth when down.

    Seriously, the advise you give is important.

    Hugs to all…

  14. aikaterine says:

    I have found that I dissapear when things in my life get hectic; but, then again, I dissapear from everything that is not the few things I can focus on. So, it is not just the blogging.

    That said, I am drawn to the community when I am in pain or in despair. You are right when you say that there are not a lot of people like ‘Us’ out there, and I have found more comfort and support within this community than I could possibly relate.

    So, I agree with you.

  15. bipolarlawyercook says:

    Very True post. But it’s hard to internalize the lesson, you know? Bad mental habits and brain chemistry are hard to overcome, despite knowing better.

  16. Pingback: Reaching The One Hundred Post Mark And Looking Back At My Recovery So Far « …salted lithium.

  17. Since you did ask, the youtube video on this post is now AWOL.

  18. Gabriel... says:

    Thanks Justin, fixed it… there’s a whole lot of irony on this page. Of the fourteen people who commented positively on a post about using blogs as a way to keep track of the vulnerable people in our community, eight have either deleted or abandoned their blogs.

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