One Day

Michelle Kimple, PhD
School of Medicine and Public Health
Narrative essay


There’s something pernicious about bipolar depression. I think it’s because you know what it feels like to be the complete opposite: to be high on life. When you were manic, everything in your life had meaning. You connected your own dots, and the dots of the people around you, commingling the threads. Life was a magical tapestry. You were here, in this place in time, with these people surrounding you, for a reason; a higher purpose. And you FELT everything, for better or worse. There was immense joy and pleasure, and also exquisite pain and sadness. But even those negative emotions zipped through you like lightening, vibrating your molecules and lighting a fire in you. Now the only thing you feel is numb. As days turn to weeks and weeks to months, the monotony of an emotionless existence wears you down. A tiny but ever-present thought worms its way into your consciousness: if this life has no meaning or higher purpose, is it worth living? You know in your heart nothing about this question can be true, and you may even be able to glimpse the light at the end of the tunnel, but it doesn’t seem to be getting any closer…

…until One Day, while walking to work on a sunny spring morning, you notice the petals from flowering trees are gently falling and swirling in the breeze around you. Something stirs inside, and you feel how beautiful it all is – being alive in this moment in time, in the midst of everything. And then it hits you – you’d already made it into the light, but hadn’t noticed until that very instant. Hang in there…