Beyond Blue

Here’s an excerpt from “Madness: A Bipolar Life”: by Marya Hornbacher
Sometimes I just run as far and as hard as I can, until I can’t breathe, until my heart is about to explode, or until, stumbling drunk, I fall and hit my head on a tree stump or the curb and lie still.
Sometimes, though, I get in my car.
I peel out of the driveway, roaring up 36th Street, away from my pretty house and sleepy neighborhood. Slow down! I am screaming at myself, Marya, slow down!
And the madness screams back, I won’t!
It slides under my skin, borrowing my body without asking: my hands are its hands, and its hands are filled with an otherworldly strength. Its hands feel the need to lash out, to hit something, so it tightens its white-knuckled fists on the wheel, its bare foot slamming the gas. My head jerks back. Half in abject terror, half in awe, I watch the lights streak across the sky, bending as we careen around corners, up Hennepin, down through the seething nightlife of Lake Street, past the spectrally brilliant movie theater marquee, the crowds a blur, stoplights are not for me! Streetlights smear behind me like neon streamers. I hurtle forward. The only thing that matters is motion, forward motion, propulsion. I veer onto the freeway, playing chicken with the cars. The road comes at me full speed, it looks as if it will hit me dead between the eyes, but then it veers around me just in time. The other cars, the median, the guardrail flash around my face, and I in my roller coaster am clattering and screaming along. I wind up in some unknown neighborhood, over by the river or on the north side of town. I turn the car around and, my rage spent, find my way home.

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