The epilogue of Terri Cheney’s bestselling book “Manic” is great reading for any manic depressive.
I’m sitting in my favorite café, writing a line, crossing it out. Writing a line, crossing it out. My soft-boiled egg will be cold by the time I get around to cracking its shell. My latte will have lost its foam. I don’t care. I’ve had the best meals of my life here in this little café, writing and crossing it out.
The waiters know by now not to disturb me. I sit for hours (I tip really well), hunting for just the right word, the right rhythm to express what I hear inside my head. Some days I never find it. The man at the next table laughs too loudly. Dishes rattle in the kitchen. A woman walks by on her way to the bathroom, her stilettos clicking. I tear the page off my legal pad, and crumple it up in disgust. But I don’t despair. Even at my most discouraged, I don’t despair.
For this day, at least, I’m sane, and I’m writing, and that’s a glorious thing.
It’s all you can really count on when you’re manic-depressive: this day, and no more. But the days add up. To my surprise, it’s been several years since I’ve had a full-blown manic episode, longer still since I’ve tried to commit suicide. Stability feels like such a precarious thing, dependent on just the right dose by just the right doctor. But still, somehow I’ve found it—at least long enough to spend another afternoon in the little café.
Life is not easy, but it’s simpler now. I no longer want to fly kites in a thunderstorm. I have no interest in dancing a tango with the riptide. I can leave my best friend’s boyfriend alone. But I would like to see Santa Fe again. This time in summer, I think.