Stories

Degrassi Made Bipolar Disorder Look So Charming But it Has Actually Just Made Me the Worst – R. Jones

        They make bipolar disorder look fucking RAD on television. Like you turn into some kind of Lothario, wearing your shirts open at the throat and spitting in old tongues. The High Episodes look so bright and cotton-candy loud in their effervescence. They make raw-dog mania look the way Dua Lipa’s music sounds—elite, exclusive, rich and glowing, bursting with capitalism, cinematic sex, and a convenient, productive lack of need for sleep. But that is bullshit. It is chaos, and it is an endless, unceasing vibration. Fire in the eyes, fear, fire in the muscles. Everything smells like metal. 

        Imagine, for a moment:

        You fuck your girlfriend, then you fuck your ex, then you fuck a girl down the street. You fuck people you never wanted to fuck. You listen to Playboi Carti so loud you get tinnitus. You listen to Playboi Carti so loud you crash your car. Someone says “excuse me” at a bar because you, in sweat and in ecstasy and unbridled sex, slam-dance into their family dinner at the far-side of a Waterbury, Connecticut Chili’s, away from the bar you’re decimating, and your fist and their face make the most beautiful fuck you’ve ever felt, so beautiful you keep plunging and pounding until you’re just slapping hamburger meat and you have to run now, run from what you’ve brought on. 

        You wake up hungover and you were never drunk. 

        You don’t wake up because you never went to sleep. 

        You drive ninety miles an hour along unlit roads ripping through the woods and it feels like you’re ice skating and everything’s twinkling around the rims of your vision and you cry about it. You’re like Oprah: YOU get a halo, YOU get a halo. Every motherfucker gets a halo. You wink at the girl at McDonald’s and wink at the guy in the park. Your poetry is absolutely goddamn incredible and you know it. 

        You have your sweaty hair in your hands at four in the morning, you’re screaming out the window, you’re screaming in a field, you’re screaming while you’re driving. You’re drinking and you’re smoking every moment of every day. You throw up at your friend’s house because you can’t stop talking. You get kicked out of school for crying. You get kicked out of Wal-Mart for crying. You get kicked out of Wal-Mart for screaming in a man’s face. You call your old shrink and fill his voicemail with all your worst sludge. You go on Bumble and find a psychology student and ask her why you can’t sleep. Why you’re terrified of everything you see. Why the neighbors are watching you at night. Why every animal in the forest is tracking your bloodscent. She is hesitant. 

        You yell at her.

        Burn it down, lower it to nothing. After the fire is silence. The snowiness of sleepiness, the white noise you’ve been huffing, it falls to a wetness, a devastation of your musculature. You don’t leave your bed. You eat everything, and then you eat nothing. It absolutely does not matter. You try to listen to Playboi Carti, but it’s all slow, ugly jawing now. There’s no rhythm. It just falls on you like a led cape, filling your room like the muggy thick of smothering summer. You think of your sharp-toothed grin from last week and don’t know who you were, or who you are now. You knew everything then, carried it all, and now there are so many things you suddenly, astonishingly, do not know.

        You can’t read. You can’t read a book or write a book or read a text. Every word is gravel in your throat. All the poetry you had is extinguished by rain that smells like nickels and falls all the time. Everything anyone says is glue in your ears. You’re not in love with anybody, and you were in love with everybody last week. You want to take a knife and carve it into your wrists. You want to slice. You want to immortalize the people you fucked over on your flesh. Or maybe you didn’t fuck anybody over. Maybe you just spent seven thousand dollars in a week. 

        Maybe I shouldn’t write any of this. 

        Maybe your future fiancé, Sylvia, maybe she’ll read this, and leave you, leave your mess to you. Maybe that’s what you need. 

        Maybe you need to take your car and drive it, drive it smoothly, off the side of a bridge; you can drive it off the side of the 59th street bridge, rotating slowly as you fall, or the one that takes you up sky-high over the Savannah River, or one of those big, Carolina drawbridges that open like mouths over the Intracoastal late at night, or a wooden quiet one somewhere up in Saskatchewan or something; there are so many bridges that turn you on; wherever there is a bridge, wherever you are: enter the void. Take the swollen surf of morning air by the balls and slide into the fullest immersion.

        Leave the bed. Leave the bed and ride.

        But you have nothing. You cannot lift your arms. 

        How can

        you kill 

        yourself 

        when you can’t 

        leave 

        your dark ugly bed?