My grandmother had manic depression. Oh, wait, by the time she was diagnosed, it had been renamed to “bipolar disorder”.
I’m not sure whether my Dad suffers from this, but I seem to have caught a hint of it.
In the distant past, I was diagnosed with clinical depression. Two psychologists, a psychiatrist, a loving wife, and a merciful God helped me out of that particular hole. I still have bouts of depression.
I can tell when it hits, not because the world suddenly turns dark and dreary, like a Zoloft commercial, but rather because every choice looks like a bad choice. Usually, given a situation and available resources, there will be a best course of action. May even be several. But when I am depressed, every one of them is the wrong choice. There is no best choice – they are all equally bad. I have had that happen often enough that I recognize it at a conscious level and start making plans to deal with it.
Tonight, though, I think I saw the opposite side of the coin. Bettie and I were watching a recent David Letterman show where the musical guest was Dierks Bentley. He performed the song Tip it on Back. And I liked the song – a lot. A lot more than I should, actually. The lyrics tell of a guy and his girl going out to a bar on a Friday night, drinking beer and smoking cigarettes. They played well, and the sound was mixed nicely so you could hear the words. But still, it was country.
A while later, reflecting on my sudden new interest in country music, including a guy I had never heard of before, I realized that this was the flip side of depression. I don’t want to go as far as including thrash metal and whatever passes for rap these days, but I think I would have found almost any performance interesting. The performer was not the big deal – the interest was within myself. I know I can get giddy at times, but this was the first experience I have had with recognizing my own manic response.
Just like with the depression side, I will have to guard against the excesses of mania.