On the Outside/From the Inside

I am listening to Karen Carpenter sing “I’m on top of the world, looking down on creation, and the only explaination I can find, is the love that I’ve found ever since you’ve been around. You’ve put me at the top of the world. Something in the wind has learned my name, and it’s telling me that things aren’t the same.” Strangely appropriate these days. A friend seems to be slowly spinning into the maelstrom that is mania.

I know what it’s like to be in the inside of a manic episode. The edges of everything have a magical sparkle, and while you feel like you’re happy and brilliant and finally standing up for yourself, friends drop away, look confused, upset, and you don’t understand why. I know what it’s like to be inside of all that.

But today I am on the outside. Madness doesn’t have any easy answers, only uneasy questions. Is this person REALLY the person I knew of as my friend? Or is this an entirely new being? Is it her fault she is terrorizing everyone around her? Or is it the disease that she won’t admit she has?

So many questions. I know I was a holy terror when I was a maniac. She’s a maniac, maniac, on the floor. Ah, memories I wish I no longer had.

Life has a funny way of balancing itself out. It wasn’t until months and months after my episode that I started meeting and talking with people who have been there on the outside of madness, trying desperately to reach their loved ones and bring them back to the safe places. But to get people to safer places, often one must take them someplace colder, more inhuman, like the psychiatric system. I think there need to be alternatives. But how? And what?

My friend needs help, of some sort, but people are too afraid to do anything. I don’t think there’s danger yet, but there is that unravelling. When I think of her I see a person who’s life is in tatters at her feet and she is so unaware of it. When I think of her I see myself.

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