The "why am I?" continues to elude me, but the "what is?" is something I know about, because I've lived with it now for over eight decades, and it's been a very chaotic but interesting time..... Why?..... Because.....
When it was first discovered that I was manic-depressive, and the best shrink in these parts put me through two weeks of tests of every kind he could think of, and then collected all the charts and graphs of ECGs, and Brain Scans, and all that in a cardboard box about 18 inches square by a foot high, and then pointed to that on his desk one afternoon, saying "That's Ray Sutton!" we both knew better. I remember saying something stupid. I said, "We both know that couldn't be me in the box." And this handsome, curly-haired, charming shrink then asked, "Why not?" and I impulsively replied, "Because it doesn't want to take you to bed nearly as much as I do!"
There was a long pregnant pause while we both considered what I had just blurted out, and then we quickly moved on to the subject at hand, which was my medication for the problem. And we spent the next three years, once a month, in his elegantly-appointed office downtown, complete with a huge and impressive desk for him, and very sexy black leather sofa for me, discussing things like that. And things like "Where does manic-depression come from?" and "How does manic-depression operate on the system to mess it up so badly?"
The first could be answered by saying "missing and/or damaged genes in the DNA, causing your body not to recognize the need for certain trace elements required to keep your body chemistry in balance and within normal parameters." The second, he said, was something I wouldn't understand and didn't need to know. I found out anyway on my own in the medical section of the main branch of the city Library downtown, over a period of many months.
But getting back to that cardboard box of charts and graphs from my tests, I could have shown him something like the above, from the book "The New Astrology" by Suzanne White, except this book wasn't written until 11 years later, in 1988. And I had more fun anyway, analyzing my analyst. I was asking the questions for twenty minutes one afternoon before he suddenly realized what I was up to, and said, "Who's analyzing who here?" And I said, "Don't be upset, Doc - This won't hurt a bit.... Now tell me more about you and that lovely young blonde on the sailboat going around Tahiti on your vacation to forget guys like me..." Psychoanalysis has nothing to do with treating manic-depression because that has to be done by re-balancing the body's chemistry, but it can be fun if you get to ask the questions. I still miss that guy. He was a real sweetie.