Some Days Are Diamonds – Some Days Are Stones.

I enjoy all of John Denver’s music but the song ‘Some Days Are Diamonds – Some Days Are Stones’ written after his marriage break up is one that I have special empathy with.

As you listen to the music and lyrics, you can feel his emotions as he performed the song. It also seems to portray exactly how I feel with Bipolar disorder when I have days where everything feels wonderful, alive, exciting and full of success. Then the crash - and days of grey or black depression where nothing goes right, the weight of the world seems to be on my shoulders and life seems so valueless.

Or worst of all, the days where I cycle up and down in the one day. As a very rapid cycler I find those days the hardest of all to cope with and the ones that I feel the guiltiest about when I remember how my family has had to cope with the swings during the day.

A couple of days ago I had one of my ‘Diamond’ days. I woke up early at about 5am and felt absolutely on top of the world. I had energy to spare and my mind was sharp as a razor and I made up a huge list of things that I was going to do that day!

I started by doing a load of laundry for my wife, as I work a 4 day on and 4 day off roster, on my days off I like to help while she is at work. While that was going, I started on my next project of cleaning out the files in my filing cabinet that I had been putting of for six months, then I remembered to soak the dishes in the sink while the laundry was going. After starting the dishes soaking, I raced back to the study and pulled out the first lot of files to sort through.

While I was doing that an idea for an article struck me so I fired up the computer and started typing, then back to the laundry and dishes and round and around for the rest of the day. I did get a lot done, all the laundry, the dishes, completely sorted out my filing cabinet and study, wrote two articles and emailed a couple of friends. I was still going when my wife came home from work and I served up dinner. Quite a successful day all round and I went to bed feeling great!

Then the next day – definitely a Stone! I didn’t want to get out of bed but finally dragged myself out at about 10am. No energy or desire to do anything, even took a real effort to have a shower and get dressed.

I just felt so empty, insubstantial; as though I was a ghost of a person and the rest of the world could get along without me. That gray cloud was hovering over me again and I started to think of all the reasons that my family would be better off without me being a bother to them.

I looked in the mirror and saw the weight that I had put on since starting on the mood stabilisers and thought how fat and unfit I was now and felt even worse.

Every noise and movement in the house seemed to vibrate like an earthquake and my anxiety levels started to rise until even the air from the ceiling fan seemed to be irritating my skin and pushing me down into my chair.

Finally, after a while, I decided to write this article to try and work myself out of the mood I was in. I sat at the computer, opened up my word processing and then just sat there and stared at the screen, mind completely blank. Although I knew what I wanted to say before I went into my study – it had gone!

Eventually, slowly, the thoughts came and I got them down as you see them. What on the previous day had taken me a short time, took some 3 hours of slow grind to complete. Yes it was a Stone day and yet; perhaps at the end even on these days, there is a little bit of Diamond.

Why? Because I am still here and there will be more Diamond days for me and for all of us as long as we just keep on, keeping on. Perhaps that’s the real secret!

Graham Brown
10 February 2003

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