Movie: Mania Days

Coming soon: Katie Holmes and Luke Kirby will play Carla and Marco, a pair of New Yorkers suffering from bipolar disorder, in Paul Dalio’s “Mania Days”, a new movie screening at this year’s South by Southwest Film Festival.

n-MANIA-DAYS-large570The characters are two poets who meet in a psychiatric hospital, and form a connection that blossoms into a relationship.  It explores bonding amid the highs and lows of bipolar, and the limits of medication versus the sources of creativity.  According to Dalio, “The film is about what happens when two people bring out that gift in each other, but also bring out its horror – what happens when their love is capable of breaking outside the bounds of “sanity,” how do they reconcile that?”

Dalio, who lives with bipolar disorder, put a bit of himself into each characters. Writing, directing, editing and scoring his debut feature, he highlights many of the issues he tackled while trying to find a balance with his own illness.  He was especially inspired, he claims, by Kay Redfield Jamison’s 1996 book, Touched with Fire, which illustrates how many of the great creative minds in history were bipolar.

When I came across Touched with Fire, it was a revelation.  You go from thinking you’re a genetic defect to maybe thinking it’s a gift. You go from thinking that I’m going to just get by in life to maybe I can do something meaningful in life with this. There’s a beauty to it.”  — Paul Dalio

More information on the film can be found here.

 

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Fat & Happy?

bathroom scaleOkay, I confess, major mood disorders can definitely skew one’s body image.  And most of my life, I’ve looked into the mirror and seen my flaws writ large (pun intended).  But now my docs and I seem to finally have my bipolar med cocktail worked out again, I’m dealing with the true-life issue of psych-drug poundage.

It’s that lovely mix of Depakote and Mirtazapine, subtle as a Hum-vee, distracting as an icemaker, plucking at my appetite neurons like hungry little harps.  A whole crate of them.  Dropped from three stories up.  Did I mention I’m ravenous?  All the time?  Twenty minutes after a full dinner … I’m so hungry I could eat another whole dinner.  Sometimes I’m so hungry I want to cry.

But.  It’s the only one.  The only side-effect after a long, long, LONG list of weird, inconvenient and annoying side-effects.  (Those who follow me … do you remember Anime eyes and uncontrollable yawning?)

And other than the appetite … I’m doing pretty well.  You hear?  Pretty well … which for me is … frickin’ awesome!  I have more good days than bad.  Yup, you heard me!  I’m painting like a house on fire.  My mood test scores are the best in over a decade.

The price?  Twenty-five pounds, so far.  That’s not me looking in the mirror and “feeling fat”.  That’s me not being able to button my fat jeans.

My therapist said it plainly:  “Would you rather be fat or miserable?”

Okay, I get it.  I’m griping, yes, but really, the meds are keeping me out of the hospital.  Letting me live a (mostly) normal life (not counting the pharmacists all knowing me by name, but that’s neither here nor there).  I’m luckier than a lot of people to have founds a relatively decent solution, not to mention relatively decent medical insurance.  And I do know one answer I have to turn to.  Exercise can hardly stimulate my appetite more than the meds.  It can help with both the weight, the depression, and the bipolar swings and states.

Now I just have to get motivated.  And since magically losing all that weight while on these meds isn’t exactly realistic, I need to work very hard at being okay with the weight I’m at.  Because, face it, those good days?  They’ve been a long time coming.

Peace.

Beauty in Bipolar (quote)

When I came across Touched with Fire, it was a revelation.  You go from thinking you’re a genetic defect to maybe thinking it’s a gift. You go from thinking that I’m going to just get by in life to maybe I can do something meaningful in life with this. There’s a beauty to it.”  — Paul Dalio

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