This is the first part (about half at this point) of a short story tentatively named “When the Wind Blows”. This story is about Bipolar II Disorder and its effects, a subject that has become very dear to my heart lately.
The usual caveats: this work is copyright (c) Carter Nipper, it is rough draft, contains errors of various sorts, and is not in final form.
Will Harper hated days like this. These were the ones his Momma never told him about. “Mixed state” his psychiatrist called it. What the Hell did that idiot know about it? A brutal mixture of hurricane and tornado was what it was. These days always started with a minor irritation, then another, then another — a cat meowing, a dog underfoot, his wife bitching about something or other. After about three of these, he would blow — a pillar of Holy fire, an H-bomb, a Krakatoa truly out of proportion to the situation. Just as quickly, he would fall, meteoric, into the deepest pit of depression, a depth he had not even known existed when had merely had Major Depression. It was all his doctor’s fault — cutting back the anti-depressives while waiting for the Lamictal to kick in. That’s when this had all started.”Bipolar II Disorder,” his doctor had said. “Crazy” was what Will heard. A death sentence.The doctor tried to reassure him, but Will knew about Bipolar. His mother had been Bipolar. When Will was ten, she had stripped her gears and took a short step off a tall bridge. He knew Bipolar. He would not end up like that. Maybe dead — he had a plan for emergencies — but not crazy.Will managed to get away from the house before he actually hurt anybody or broke anything and headed for the Serenity Spot they had set up in a shady area out of sight of the house. There, he managed to get his temper cooled down only so he could get the full evil benefit of the swirling thoughts. They raced by, thumbing their noses at him, always just out of reach, laughing at his feeble attempts to grab them. The thoughts were confetti swirled by the great winds that blew through his mind, a confusion of distraction. His own voice, and others, called from the depths of his brain — pleading, shouting, laughing, orating great words he could not hear.This was the worst time of all, the time when he stood on the edge of insanity with the wind howling at his back and looked into the abyss. His own tortured eyes looked back, daring him to jump, begging him to jump, to relieve the pain in oblivious psychosis.
He was tempted, oh, how he was tempted, but he would not jump. He refused to consider living a slowly wasting death entombed in brick and steel. Will knew what those places were like, he had been inside them before, worked there as an attendant. He had seen them, those people, had heard the sounds they made. He swore he would never go back. He would die first.
He kept his gun loaded, hidden in a hollow of the massive oak tree behind the bench he sat on, wrapped in oilcloth and sealed in a Ziploc bag. The hiding place was high enough that his wife could not reach it, and he knew he could get to the gun in time, if he needed it. He tried to consider his options, his condition, but the confusion was too much. His mind roared, heaved, overwhelming any semblance of rationality in a whirlwind that most certainly did not contain the voice of God.
Gradually, reluctantly, the tumult subsided, and he was left with only depression as his refuge, the deep, black, bruised bottom of the Pit. By that time, he was too weary, too wrung out to even think about suicide, or even care. Knowing the worst was over, he heaved himself to his feet. His body was stone, his feet lead. He could barely move against the inertia and the weight of the darkness. Slowly, painfully, he trudged toward home and a new bout with the Devil.
Carrie frowned as he entered the house and moved toward his recliner, his haven. “I need you to look at my car,” she said. “It’s making that noise again.”
“Not now, please.” He could barely talk, it was a struggle to breathe. He collapsed into the chair and leaned back. She stared at him, hands on hips, and her lips tightened. He knew what she was thinking, and he agreed with her. He really was the most worthless human breathing the world’s precious air. A tear leaked from the corner of his eye, and he tried to wipe it away without her seeing what he was doing — a quick swipe, like he was swatting a fly.
“When, then?” Her voice was hard; her words rocks flung against his face.
“Not now, Carrie.” The tears came, and he couldn’t hold them back. “Oh, God, not now. I can’t.” He rolled onto his side, facing the wall, covered his face with his hands, and wept. Sometime in that eternal day, the infernal evening, he fell asleep
“You can’t go to work like this.” Carrie stood in his way, wouldn’t let him out the door. “Hell, yesterday, you couldn’t even get out of that chair of yours. You won’t help with housework, you won’t do your yard work, how in the Hell do you expect to do your job?”
At least today, he was only depressed. Apathetic, lethargic, but now psychotic. That was a blessing. Some blessing.
“I have to, Carrie. You know that. I’m out of vacation time, and my sick time is down to less than 10 hours. I need to keep that in case of a really bad day. I have to go back and build up some more time. How would we live if I got fired? That’s half our income, and things are tight as it is. I have to go. I’ll just have to fake it.”
“Good luck with that!” She moved out of the doorway, walked away without even a “Good-bye”. Will sighed and pulled his car keys off the hook by the door.
(to be continued at a later date)