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Bipolar disorder is about thinking about a book you half-read a year ago, picking it up again and start reading from the preface with a pencil underlining key words and writing comments and comments about comments and abbrvtd codes for all the essays you'll write on tangent topics, because you've suddenly stumbled into the grand theory of human dynamics -- even though you already kind of knew this. It's about writing too much, typing too much, on broadly diverging topics because you have an informed opinion about everything.

When you're really, really manic, you're too off your bleeding rocker to realize you're not the Real Jesus. But when you're on the verge of an episode and see the oh-so-familiar signals unfold, you can't help but marvel at its exuberance.

Bipolar disorder is about spending twice or thrice your discretionary budget in trivial pursuits in the span of 15 minutes. I'm not in trouble because my budget for "me" purchases is low as a proportion of my earnings because I need to amass money in case my brain fries for good. (I save about four times as much as I spend). But hey, I have a perfectly good, professional grade Olympus OM-2 and I'm chasing yet another -- two, actually -- novelty "lomographic" cameras.

Bipolar disorder is about wanting to take your sexual fetishes to the max. I have a kink-aware, kink-loving partner, so it's ok if I want to be gagged for hours -- or what seems like hours, in a good way -- and generally fuck all afternoon. Actually, bipolar disorder is about having no sense of shame or personal limit about what you share.

Bipolar disorder is about having to depend on your friends and coworkers to understand that sometimes you're a jerk and that's just you being brutally honest with an extra topping of arrogance. And since people never really know how good you are, bipolar disorder is about gambling just a tiny little bit with the arrogance -- not because it feels good to put people down, but because it feels good to put your dick on the chopping bar and act as if you were much more than you really are.

Bipolar disorder is about being in such a friendly mood that your shrink -- someone who has trained your previous shrink and has been the president of the national psychiatric association, an university professor for years and supervised many psych wards -- suspects you have been drinking. (I haven't. Really. Once you've mastered the art of sleep deprivation, drinking does nothing for you, just like masturbation does nothing for you after you've started having the good kind of sex. But I'm avoiding sleep dep because I'm on the verge of madness and I know that if I'm not careful you may hear from me next from a gaol at the opposite end of the globe.)

Bipolar disorder is about listening to a virtuoso violin piece and feeling as if you had played it and were as great. It's about feeling as though your buggy PID controller is making your homegrown robot (a servo spinning a sensor matrix with wires soldered back to a breadboard) exhibit emergent behavior.

Maturity is about taking a shower to try and cool your body down. Because the thin edge of madness is all about the symptoms, not the causes. Cool your body down. Try to sleep in a couple extra hours. Spend more time in the dark. Be aware of your symptoms. Marvel at them, but don't resist temptation -- not to enjoy them, but to think of them as your brain going spongy. Which isn't a medically accurate explanation of bipolar kindling, but it scares you into showering.

Wish me luck.

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