When bipolar illness would’t let the woman he loved find her voice, Jack Varnell wrote the voice he heard anyway.
Excerpt from ::A Journal Of Bipolar Love::
She says all the time that I couldn’t possibly understand what it means to be, well…her.
I always respond by re-informing her that, at least I am trying, and that seems to be more than anyone else ever did. In my own self righteous way, of course.I remind her that if nothing else we have love. We have common ground, we have survival instinct and, have earned that right – to survive. It comes automatically with a highly developed need to thrive.
The love lives in shared unfinished sentences. In mutual feelings and visions. Love lives in the big picture and in the lies that aren’t real because we know defenseless moments in time, and unguarded smiles of recognition and acceptance.
What’s important, the thing she forgets most often, is that we have shared so much of life and all it has had to offer us. Before we even met. I know a little about what it all means, as does she. Mania, depression, hopelessness and addictions of all sorts have crossed my path. They have tempted me with the ease of giving up and sinking down for the last time. She has had the same along with trauma I can only imagine.
None of it is hers versus mine, I know these things. I know because I have seen and felt their defeatist and well worn claws around my throat. I know their pain, and futility. They are ancient, and though they once had the power to kill me, today they are an annoyance, old, and feeble – weakened by truth. I know they can be defeated. I know because I want to live and thrive. She doesn’t always want to believe that is true. I have to know it is, not only from experience but because I have earned that gift. I must know. Or die.
She has given me too much reason to live for that. She forgets that, and yet, here I am.
If I could convince her I know what it means, here is what I would say….in her own voice. Her interpretation, spoken as if I am her. I offer my answer. My understanding. Whispered into her ear as if her own idea. Projected self-revelation.