My Monster by Katherine Kizer

by Katherine Kizer
Posted October 22, 2010

My monster is manic-depression. She emerges every three months or so and possesses me when I least expect it. I wake up one morning, or stay up all night, and I must do, do, do. During this doing, I am fast, talented, pretty, determined, unstoppable, concise and reckless. I start seven projects at 3 am and do not complete one of them. I buy five new shirts and hide the receipt. I go for a walk and forget how many times I’ve gone around the block. I go to the mall and am unable to find my car when I emerge loaded down with packages. Three days later, I find all the stuff I’ve hidden and try franticly to recall the past few days.

When I am just myself, it seems worse. I fear everything. My shaky self-esteem stops and starts, and I wonder each day before I get out of bed if I will be able to just have a nice, quiet day. I think that my monster has made any chance of a normal life impossible, and I question if those I love still love me. I wonder if I can ever love myself, monster and all, even though my monster, when she appears, is narcissistic and I seem to love only myself. Even my confusion is a form of self-love.

I spend too much time worrying about how I feel, and my monster makes sure I do this often. If she would just let me play the game of life and not look up so often. Instead I stop playing and dissect the game in order to figure out how I’m playing and compare myself to others. I know that it’s a natural thing to compare ourselves with others, but my monster makes sure that the one behind is me.

I can feel my monster coming. Her horns poke my organs as she rises up within me like a gathering storm. When I first feel her, I will do anything, or take anything to stop her. This desperation only makes her strong. She senses my fear as surely as I sense her arrival. Once my monster is fully alive inside me, all fear and self-loathing disappear, and she begins to tell me things. She tells me I don’t need sleep, just coffee. After the coffee, when my hands rattle, she asks me what I want and does not wait for me to answer. She decides what I need, and it’s usually is not something I would normally do.

My husband knows my monster well, and he hates her. When she has possessed me, the look on his face is somewhere between exhaustion and hatred. She picks fights with him for no reason. She ruins what were supposed to be nice evenings out. He cannot trust her with our daughter and must cancel his plans to accommodate her. I remember a look from him not long ago just after my monster left that seemed to say, “I cannot do this anymore.” He held my gaze for thirty seconds or more, and I was afraid to look away, afraid if I did, he would not be there when I turned back towards him.

My monster and I have a lot to say. She is half controlled, and I can revisit each episode and tell the truth about what it’s like to live with her. She is a part of who I am, her voice is intertwined with my own; I have accepted that much. Perhaps I can help others to accept their monsters too. Wrapped as a gift with a bow on top, I can give away those parts of myself I try to hide from everyone, then they will dissipate, and I will be lighter. I am old enough now not to care what people think of me – accept or reject, there is no shame in mental illness. We represent a facet of humanity that overcomes obstacles that are unseen and formidable.


  1. Thank-you

  2. you sound psychotic and un-medicated–we have to take our medicine—-I have experienced all you say but medicine helps a lot

  3. She is my monster also! I hate her!I have tried so hard to describe what it feels like to my friends and family and they do not understand. I am medicated and still have mornings I pray to not have to wake up. God please end this misery, taks away the monster or, take away me!

  4. As a spouse of someone who suffers from either manic depression or bi-polar or PPMD, it’s difficult. Some bouts are worse that others. My wife has many wonderful attributes. I lovee her her and try to support her in as much as possible, and try not to enable her though. She suffers from moderate to severe mood swings. It took a long time to learn how to respond, and I certainly don’t get it right all the time. Quite honestly it’s had to stand there and take, while getting verbally barbecued. It always seems that when she goest thru her bouts, she’s always yelling for a divorce, tells me we’d be better off seperated, etc. I still have to work through my anger and yes hatred, at all the things she says and does. I would suggest to those reading, there is no one solution for everyone; sometimes seperation is necessary which is extremely unfortunate. I’ve read alot of postings on this site and through personal experience and those of friends, I’ve come to realize that often times after that first marriage, the next series of relationships often fail-yes there are many exceptions. Speaking from a man’s point of view-women (those affected with this disorder) will always be approached by other men, but most of the time that is a physical based attraction, and as soon as the individual get’s a taste of reality, they’ll head for the hills. I would encourage those women on this site, you realize you have a problem, please keep trying-use all forms of treatment counseling, medication, and religious based help. Recognize and try to see through the often lies of other men that they’re more understanding and more supportive-yes you may have a bad spouse, if that’s the case, then perhaps seperation is necessary. As a husband, my responsibility is to love and support my wife and together seek the best treatment plan-I’m nowhere near perfect in my responses at times and freely admit that. However, finding comfort in the arms of another individual is absolutely not an option-for either party. My prayers go out to all of those suffering these disorders and those in relationships with these disorders. Don’t ever give up, suicide is not an option, affairs is not an option and over-medication is not a viable option.

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