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.

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