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carlton m davis

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Member Since: Feb, 2009

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Books
· The Art Dockuments


Short Stories
· Preamble to the Art Dockuments


Articles
· The Barnes Foundation - The Art

· Bastardized Barnes- The Architecture

· The New Lepers Are Out To Gun You Down

· Is Suicide a Political Act

· Pacific Standard Time Profussion

· Unhinged by the Epidemic of Mental Illness

· The Emotional Anxiety of Prison Visitation

· The Pickle is lopped, but still stands

· Let me shoot you I am mentally ill

· The Emergency Room


Poetry
· Comic Kazie CalliOpeas

· Earthquake

· Zhong Guo Chang Cheng

· Huan Shan Mountain Blues

· The Attic

· The Sandcastle

· Oak Grove - Catheral of Light

         More poetry...
News
· The Art Dockuments awarded best book

· Carlton Davis' Kickstarter Campaign

· Act III of the Art Dockuments

· Art Dockuments by Carlton Davis

· Bipolar Bare Receives Eric Hoffer Award

· Carl Davis featured on fascinatingauthors.com

· Carl Davis interviewed on Blog Talk Radio

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Books by carlton m davis
bipolar bare
by carlton m davis   

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· The Art Dockuments

Category: 

Memoir

Publisher:  Book Surge ISBN-10:  1439220700 Type:  Non-Fiction
Pages: 

403

ISBN-13:  9781439220702


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bipolarbarebook

A memoir of my life's journey with mental illness

bipolar bare tells my story of 40 years of undiagnosed bipolar disorder. I had many years of mania and depression that I believed were caused by the events in my childhood. This book recounts those childhood events and the bouts of mania and depression that I suffered after as an adult. The book also follows my path to find ways to mitigate the illness through meditation, and how that worked.  The path which lead to a period of redemption ultimately lead to a even worse relapse into serious drug addiction, which was not resolved until I was finally diagnosed with Bipolar 1 disorder. 

Excerpt
New Year’s Eve 1980: “I drive down to Venice, California to walk on the

beach. A few people are wandering along the sand this late at night. I see two

couples seated by a lifeguard shack. Their black shapes are silhouetted against the

dark sky. They are huddling close together and laughing. Over the pockmarked

crusty surface, I stumble toward the boulder breakwater I climbed Saturday. The

tide is in. Near high tide I guess. The breakwater is completely offshore, a grayblack

line of rock two hundred feet away from the beach.

“The ocean slowly rolls up into waves and arches into the surf along the open

coast. The surf folds into curved lines of white flares when it collides with the

beach. The ocean is a vast expanse of blue-black darkness laid out to the horizon

beyond the many flows of mottled gray at the shore.

“A black shadow suddenly explodes against the breakwater seam with a muted

booming sound, throwing a ragged tear of white into the sky. Two small waves

appear inside of the breakwater. One arches right; one arches left. As the circumference

of the waves grows larger, the waves collide with one another. Two curves of

surf intersect and dissipate into one another. I stand and watch the phenomenon

repeat again and again. I look at where I am standing and realize that the breakwater

creates with its two small waves a small point of land on the big sweep of the beach.

I am standing on that point. I am in a special place of land’s end.

“My mind is full of thoughts, impressions, and urges. I contemplate walking

straight out from my point into the intersection of waves to the deep water, where

I will drown. This is a fitting end to a life so small and miserable. Quite a history—

I work my way across America from New Haven to New York to Chicago,

where I marry; to Laramie where I have a child, to San Francisco, where it all falls

apart, to Los Angeles, where I drown. This could be the end of it all. I make it

to a place where there is no more land to run across. I make it to the end of the

decade, December 31, 1979.

“The romantic in me feels that a new decade is beginning and I should renew

myself. The cynic in me says that Tuesday, January 1, 1980, will be no different

from any other Tuesday of any year. My sense of reality says the cynical part of my

nature is right. The sun will come up and go down. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

will follow in an orderly progression. I won’t accomplish much, but I will do

something. The romantic in me wishes that my life would be different. I want to

have a new sense of commitment to life and the dawning of a feeling of satisfaction,

but why bother? Why not just walk out into the waves to the end?

“1979 was a very difficult year. My marriage disintegrated. My career faltered.

I didn’t find my mother. I contemplated self-destruction and suicide. I still had

not surmounted any of the problems which had plagued me for the past year or

the past decade. The patterns of depression, self-absorption, and self-destruction

were woven tightly into the fabric of my life. Irritation, tension, and negativity

still welled up. A loving and positive viewpoint eluded me. Forgiveness of others,

forgiveness of my own faults and failures, was impossible to imagine.


“My thoughts drifted from suicide, to my journey that brought me here, to all

journeys across America. I thought about the line from The Great Gatsby about ‘a

continent commensurate with the ability to wonder.’ Gatsby stands on the Atlantic

coast, looking to the continent in front of him, pondering all that immenseness

and wonder. I am standing on the Pacific, looking west, with all that immenseness

and wonder behind me. I am looking into nothing and have in life experienced

nothing but disappointment. California is the end of dreams.

“The wanderers, the lost, the pioneers traveled across America from the dirty

industrial east through the cold flat plains and hot dry deserts to the end of the

America dream. For some, California is the fulfillment of that dream, but for many

it is the ruination of the dream and of all dreams. The beauty of the place masks a

horrible reality. All grows rapidly and luxuriantly here but shakes and decays into

nothing. California confronts us with the nothingness of our aspirations and our

lives. That sad truth can either drive us mad or be the beginning of the ‘Western

Paradise’ beyond our egos, if we can wake up to the divine.

“I want a revelation. This would be a good spot for it: edge of land, end of the

‘70s, and a Los Angeles beach with the great electronic Sodom behind me. I am

thirty-five years old, with a marriage collapsed, and confused sexuality. My career

dissolved and my self-esteem at its lowest ebb. It is perfect—roll the camera. I look

up in the sky, wishing that I might see God. The clouds are a cottony mat. In the

middle, I see a form. It looks like a head of a grouper, a big ugly fish. God is a

fish? I stare at it some more. The grouper becomes a grotesque, like the gargoyles

of a Gothic church. This is God? This is what you get. The sky will not open. A

flash of light will not appear. A sound of trumpets will not blast. There will be no

spectacular vision tonight. On my point of land, I realized the pain would never

go away. This is the human condition in the Western Paradise. Enjoy the beauty

while you can.”

“Put the notebook away, Carlotta,” I say wearily. “I have heard enough,”

Carlotta closes the book and turns toward me. “I wish you weren’t so sad,” she

says sympathetically. “It’s hard to be your muse when you are so mired in negativity.

But don’t you see the hope that’s still there? You didn’t give it up then. You

need not do it now.”

“I got better after that day. I didn’t swim into the ocean never to come back.

I went home to my loft and felt better the next day.”

“That was good. I shall leave you now. Perhaps I should become your nurse

again. I think you still need help.” Her deep red toga dragging behind her, Carlotta

strides to the bathroom and closes the door. “Think positive, Carlton,” she says

before she disappears.

Easter Sunday is a beautiful day at Las Encinas. My wife comes to visit me. I

am feeling depressed. We have lunch together and sit in the grass courtyard behind

the administration wing of the hospital. She knits; I draw and tell her about my

reading of my journals.

“I have only worked my way through sixteen of the notebooks, but I am

finding plenty of evidence to support my contention that my childhood is what

makes me crazy,” I say to Ginger while I draw the back of the administration

building in my new sketchbook.

“I am not surprised,” Ginger responds. “It is what you have believed all

along.”

“No psychiatrist has verified my self-diagnosis, since I don’t have one.”

“You still don’t have a doctor? How can that be? You have been in the hospital

for several days. I would think they would have a doctor for you by now.”

“They don’t, but I don’t want to get into that right now, OK?”

“All right, I won’t go there. Can you share with me some of your findings?”

Ginger puts her knitting in her lap and leans over, putting her hand on my shoulder.

“You know I have stuck by you through thick and thin. It hasn’t been easy,

but I love you, and I want the best for you.”

“I know you do, Ginger. Sometimes I wonder how you have put up with me.

I have done some really horrible things. Please forgive me.”

“I forgive you. Can you forgive yourself?”

“I don’t know. That I am still working on.”

“Perhaps you can talk to Reverend Sacquety about it when he comes here

later this afternoon to visit you.”

“Maybe. Let me read you something I came across.”

I open my notebook for 1979 and begin reading:

“April 1, 1979. This weekend after a photographic outing, I felt more depressed

than I can remember for many years. The low feeling was precipitated when my

camera went on the fritz while visiting the magnificent ruins of the Sutro Baths,

the once-opulent public bathhouses on the San Francisco seashore, now nothing

but curious concrete shapes at the edge of the surf and algae-covered pools at the

base of a steep rock embankment. The failure of the camera’s light meter was a

small frustration, but added to all the other current vexations in my life, it triggered

a massive depressive meltdown. At home, I lay in bed wishing never to get

up again. My mind roams over thoughts of suicide and self-destruction. I could

jump from the Bay Bridge, shoot up with heroin, stab myself, or be physically

humiliated by some sadomasochistic gays. These are my images in my mind as I lie

on the bed, feeling numbness spread over my body. I have felt like this before.

“It’s this numbness that I am remarking upon. In what follows from the same

journal I recall how I felt in 1965 before my first suicide attempt when I became

immobilized. I wonder if this is some kind of biochemical malfunction?” Ginger

shrugged and I return to the journal and read.

“In 1965, isolated in my room in Saybrook College, I lay in bed and felt the

numbness come over me. I thought I was becoming paralyzed. This happened the

day before I took the 150 aspirin tablets. At first I liked the feeling, but then I became

frightened I would never move again After several hours, I managed to shake the

feeling off. I felt the paralysis coming over me again after my failed photographic

sortie. I have no real will to fight the feeling. In a sense, I long for the paralysis.

Perhaps it will mean an end to my frustration. I thought about never getting out of

bed again. I lie in bed on my back, arms at my side, feeling no desire to move and no

ability to move. I concentrated and I was able to move. I knew I must do something

to break this spell or I would descend deeper into this depression, which might lead

to suicide. I forced myself to rise and dress and go for a jog. I ran for an hour. The

fierceness of my ennui was broken. I felt somewhat better.”

“What do you think of that?” I ask Ginger, turning to look at her.

“I am struck by the paralysis you speak of,” she replies. “Does that happen to

you often? I have never seen you in its grip.”

“I often feel paralyzed when I fall into the deepest depressive state,” I explain.

“It is as if the body becomes locked in an inert position. The arms and the legs

can’t move. I can’t raise my head. All the muscles are tense. The jaw is clenched.

It takes a monumental mental effort to break the spell and move. At times, I

have felt like I was falling into an abyss. It’s a very enticing feeling—frightening,

certainly, but at the same time, you want to fall into the abyss to see what would

happen. Once it did happen—or, rather, I thought it did—and I felt like I was in

the company of another being. I have told you before that sometimes I feel like

two people. I wonder if this is some kind of epileptic fit or minor schizophrenic

break.

Professional Reviews
Midwest Book Review
Bipolar disorder is an enigma to those who don't have it. Author Carlton Davis brings readers into his world with "Bipolar Bare," a memoir telling his long and storied his history that ranges from a confused "troublemaker" child, to finding religion, to becoming a drug addict, willing to do anything for his fix. With an uplifting finish of some resemblance of normalcy, "Bipolar Bare" is an intriguing read sure to entertain and enlighten. 5 stars



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