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Into The Bipolar Vortex

A Collection of Poetry and Essays

Alison Insco

All works are the author’s own except where otherwise noted.

Copyright © 2019 by Alison Insco

Table of Contents


and so we begin

Never In Your Wildest Dreams

She yells and screams

Looking out the window

The Rollercoaster That Is My Life

The Mind of a Child

September 28, 1992

so tired of this...


She stood in front of the mirror

Echoes of the Past

Puzzle Pieces

Elements of a Friendship

The Light

sometimes i get the urge

Help me!

Do you remember the night

Do you see the smile upon my face

Never Say Good-bye

a dose of reality isn't all bad...

Who Am I?

Love is the key as I walk by your side

A lonely hunter, walking alone forevermore

I think of you

feeling rather unaffected...

The Mushroom Soul

I'm starting to give up...

Hatred feeds upon my heart

The First Time

I feel…


i think i have had an epiphany...

And the Walls Came Tumblin’ Down

Shadow Man

i wish...


still waiting...

got the call back.

I sit with my knees drawn to my chest


Hell’s Angels


where to begin...


Pointless words are echoing

As a world-weary youth


Listen to me!

Pandora’s Box

God is a Schizophrenic Alien


a dull rusty blade glides softly in my dreams

life goes on

mushroom clouds and leprechauns

Anger at the world

Everything twists in monstrous spirals



how long...

I guess I make my own misery


Run with me in the rain, sweet child

Within the walls of a nearby house

New Beginnings

I Know You

christmas is upon us once again...

No Happy Ending

Prelude to a Suicide

Unwilling Victim

christmas is coming...

Hey You

Last Night


Cherries In Saskatchewan

When I left home



Red rover red rover

Walls That Confine

Hush little baby



In another time, another place

the internet

Get A Life

Broken Crayons Still Colour The Same

I have this near-desperate yearning

detached and defeated


The One Behind The Camera


Terrible Beast

Every Which Way...

Bad Influence - A Eulogy


I believe

Lament of a Lovelorn Screen Baby

Blood Moon


Just A Little Something

I Of The Mis-Matched Socks

The Mask


The Notebook Theory


Final Words

About Alison


I’m inching ever nearer to my birthday, and it’s not a typical “Big” birthday celebration year, but it feels big to me – it’s my 39th this year. 3 times 13.

13 has never felt like an unlucky number to me. The ages of 13 and 26 were unremarkable years at worst; I don’t remember enough of them to say one way or another.

Having said that, there is remarkable evidence that points to them having been years of rampant mania.

Into The Bipolar Vortex encompasses poetry, prose, and blog posts I have written since I started showing symptoms of bipolar disorder. The poetry was written from as young as 12 years of age to as old as 21, with one addition at 38. The prose and blog posts were all written post-age 20.

The poetry is arranged as close to chronologically as I could get it. Everything else has a reason for its place.

I’d like to say enjoy this peek into my head, but I fear that’s inappropriate… Try to maintain a grip on your sanity.


January 28, 2019

Table of Contents

and so we begin

I am not sure where to begin...but this is where the beginning is.

Writing was, once upon a time, what saved me, saved my soul. The last 3 years have been devoid of any meaning other than raising my children and being a wife. This has slowly taken its toll on me. The last 4 months have been the hardest, and the most eye-opening.

How well can I parent my children when I can't spend 2 hours alone with them without having a breakdown?

It took this realization to send me to a doctor to get help 3 weeks ago. I hate the idea of medicating myself, but it has made a visible difference in how well I am dealing with life in general, and my children in particular.

But medication is not enough. I need to release everything that is building up, pounding at my heart to be let go. I need to share what is happening within my heart, my soul...I need the release of writing, and crave the ability to share these inner bits that I once had at my fingertips.

Time flies...and in so many ways, I still feel like a part of me is stuck in the summer of I left a piece of me behind. Perhaps that's a valid way to look at it. My life changed, drastically, that summer...and there is no going back. I know that, intellectually...but a part of me can't seem to get over it.

Where there once was a creative abundance, there now lives a void. This is my attempt to find my muse again, to replenish that abundance, and find a new reason to live, rather than just exist...

May 27, 2003

Table of Contents

Never In Your Wildest Dreams

I want to know what your wildest dreams for your life are. Do they involve being rich and famous someday? Going to a particular destination for a vacation? Moving somewhere you've never been?

When I was a kid, 8-10 years old, my big dream for myself was to be an inventor. I was absolutely convinced that I was going to create something that was going to change the way the world worked.

When I was 12-19, my big dream was to be a writer. Again, I was convinced I was going to create something that was going to change the world.

At 21, I had my first son. My big dreams shifted and changed, and now my big dream was to be the best mom I could be.

At 23, I had my second baby. My big dream became having a happy family with my kids and my fiance.

At 24, I married my kids' dad. My big dream was to maintain a happy family environment.

At 28, we split up. My big dream was to hold it together for the kids' sake.

At 31, I started writing again. The dream of being a writer wasn't a big one, but the ball was rolling.

At 34, I self-published my first book. The dream of someday becoming known in the world of fiction writing suddenly seemed more viable.

Over the next year and a half, I self-published 4 more books, for a total of 5. The idea of maybe being famous someday terrified me, but intrigued me at the same time. It wasn't really a dream, but a thought that kept nibbling at the back of my brain.

Right now, I am 38, and my life has changed dramatically in just the last 6 months. I have a few different wild dreams right now, but the only one I'm willing to admit publicly is that I think it'd be pretty fuckin' cool to be famous someday. To be sought after. To be admired. It's the least likely of my current dreams to come true, though.

C'est la vie. That's life.

August 26, 2018

Table of Contents

She yells and screams

But can be nice the next minute.

You never know how she’ll react.

She makes me feel

Like I’m standing on a candle,

A candle burning at both ends,

And you never know which end

Will reach you first,

Which flickering flame

Will sear your flesh,

Which dancing light

Will make your skin glow,

But either way,

Nothing dulls the pain

Of feeling like a cast-away,

And suffering in silence.


Table of Contents

Looking out the window

At heartless falling snow,

Whispering words of gladness

That never will I know.

Small smiles of pity

Rain down from toasting faces.

Tiny giggles of mocking

Escape from unknown places.

Always on the outside,

Always looking in,

Always wondering

Why I could never win.

I’ve never known

What they were saying;

All my life I’ve been alone.


Table of Contents

The Rollercoaster That Is My Life

I've started this post three different ways already, and none of them have felt right to me. I've always found it hard to talk about this subject; it's always been my private shame, though I know there's nothing to be ashamed of.

I live with bipolar disorder. A lot of people refer to mental illnesses as something they suffer from, and more power to them if that's how they feel. For me, it's more like a constant companion - one that is always with me, whether I want it or not.

And that's the interesting thing - sometimes... sometimes, living with bipolar has its benefits. It doesn't take out the garbage or wash the dishes or laundry, but it's good for an unexpected energy burst every so often to get those oft-overlooked tasks done, and it certainly aids in my writing and other creative tasks on occasion.

There are downsides, too, as there are to everything in life. I haven't personally had to deal with crippling depression in many years now, but I am certainly familiar with a lack of interest in formerly enjoyable activities, an overpowering lack of motivation to do anything that is not absolutely necessary, and getting easily overwhelmed when a little bit of motivation is found, or when too much is asked of me.

I got into an argument once about whether I suffer from bipolar disorder. The other person seemed so wrapped up in their troubles that they absolutely could not take the time to see any of the small blessings that could potentially be hidden within the illness.

Bipolar and I have walked, arms linked together, for almost 30 years now. I look forward to more than 30 more.

(this whole thing is done kind of stream-of-consciousness...)

If they are to come up with a cure for bipolar disorder, be it a one-time pill, a course of medication, some other medical intervention, or something entirely different... I am not convinced that I would partake of the cure. My brain is a little skewed, but it's what makes me uniquely me. I don't think I'd like to change who I am after 40 or more years of developing this Me.

I interact with a lot of fabulous mentally ill folks online. If you have a mental illness yourself, you should come check out our little community... it's at Tell them caly sent you.

August 25, 2018

Table of Contents

The Mind of a Child

What do you mean when you speak?

What are you saying to me?

What truths are hidden

In the lies that you tell?

Why can you not speak clearly?

Say what you mean!

Don’t say something to me,

But something else in what you say.

Don’t try to fool me;

It can only happen twice.

I’m only a child;

I don’t understand!

I’m naive and trusting;

I don’t know good and bad.

Help me, don’t harm me;

I’m, oh, so confused.

I’m getting mixed messages,

All from you.

You’re supposed to help me;

Guide me, shape me

Into someone functional.

You look like you feel

That you’ve failed at your job;

Don’t worry; I’m fine,

I just don’t understand.


Table of Contents

September 28, 1992

She embraced herself in teacher praise;

It was the only praise she got.

Her family life was less than happy,

Her friendships almost none.

Then, when she was twelve years old,

She tried to kill herself,

Over-dosed on Tylenol,

Almost died alone.

She told her parents,

Was gone for a day,

Only told one other person,

No others to this day.

She rediscovered her inner self,

And now is doing fine.

She has her own small group of friends,

And they alone are fine.

She still embraces herself in teacher praise,

But she doesn’t need it anymore,

Her spirits are already raised up high enough.

January 1994

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