Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

Possessed and Then Released

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.

  • Margaret Balyeat

    Whew! What a descriptive passage on experiencing madness!It’s a blessing that Myra hasn’t killed herself or some innocent bystander or motorist! “…Stoplights are not for me…”? I can’t help but feel that there but for the grace of God go I.Blessings on Ms. Hornbacher, and maty she find some other way of venting her mania than getting behind the whell of wht could well become a lethal weapon!

  • Jan

    My fourteen-year-old daughter has diagnosed Bipolar that first manifested at age eight. This wonderfully thoughtful and gentle child became a monster, chasing me with knives, hitting, kicking, spitting, although I don’t believe in such, I would have considered her possessed.
    Even therapists felt her actions were all behaviorsl, and that I was a poor parent. Finally, we went to a three week intensive family therapy facility where Bipolar was diagnosed. I was so relieved that “it” had a name and medication could help.
    She is presently in a residential facility, the star of the facility, having completely turned her life around. She comes home every weekend and will be coming home for good in July. I thank God for her every day and thank Him also for sending us to the proper place to learn what was the real problem.

  • teensmom

    I can relate to you. My 14 year old son, who has been struggling with depression for 2 years, has become violent toward me, and is now in juvenile hall for assault. He has refused meds after some anti depressants did not work for him, and now will be on probation for a year or more, once he is released. He will be ordered to take meds as a part of his probation, so I have hope for him. It is a very difficult journey for a mother to see one of her children go through this confusion and pain and mental illness, and not be able to give them the help they need. we’ve been in counseling for almost 2 years now, and will be for probably many years to come. Prayers help, and this community is very helpful. I know God will do right by my son, as he has done for you and your daughter. God Bless.

  • Margaret Balyeat

    Jan and Teensmom,
    My heart goes out to both of you. My now-grown son was never violent towards me, but his verbal abuse was well known(and HEARD) throughout our neighborhood. I never thought we would get past his anger at the world and me, so I have SOME idea what you are both feeling. He will be thirty in July, and for the past few years we have been best friends.! His apologies for his teen years have been several, and the love he shows me now is all the more special because of all the “I hate you!”s I endured! I share this for two reasons: to encourage both of you not to give up and to give you HOPE! Ther IS a different. more peaceful existence to be found on the other side of this turbulent river you are both navigating, and it’s well worth the struggle once you arrive. I wush you could get there without the struggles, but know that it DOES exist and provides some well-deserved peace for you AND your children.

  • Lynne

    Holy Moly Marya THAT was a wild ride! I personally never went balistic behind the wheel. (being that I had an alcoholic uncle as a wonderful example of what NOT to do with a motor vehicle) The more I read this blog, the more convinced I am that 3/4 of my family tree is some form of bi-polar. My Mother was the ultra swinger.(I think her “mood ring” exploded!) My older brother was the Rage Freak, and I was on the roller coaster/ hamster wheel! God only knows what the neighbors heard. Although our neighborhood was pretty rowdy back then.

  • Carlton Davis

    What a powerful description of being in the grips of mania. What impressed me and what I relate to is your statement that “And the madness screams back, I won’t.” In this statement and the following paragraph which begins “It slides under my skin…..”, I see a phenomenon of otherness which I associate with my own bipolar disorder. It is as if one is taken over by another being. In your case you call it the madness, in my own I call it Carlotta, my second self. Carlotta is a fierce presence. When she appears I am confident and powerful. I am ready to lash out at any ignorance and stupidity, which Carlotta finds everywhere.
    It is my belief that we-no I think all people- have a second self, however in the case of those of us with bipolar disorder that second self is extreme. It lies burning in the darkness of the frigid poles until it is released by time or circumstance. Wow to those who get in the way of this polar bear, who is hungry to devour. So hungry in fact it will devour itself in self-destructive actions be that crazy actions in a car or drugs, or some other vehicle to ultimate risk.

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