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Bees and Bipolar Disorder

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B is for beehives and buzzing and bipolar and bloodlines and Bryant, my mother’s maiden name. My great-grandfather, the beekeeper, died from taking too much from the hands that feed him, from the bees. My great-grandfather, the beekeeper, spent a lifetime bee-keeping to quiet the buzzing in his mind. And although he has since passed, he also passed down this buzzing that infects my mind. It all comes down to structure, intricate structure much like the structure of a beehive or the spiral of a single strand of DNA. I like to find all of these similarities like a pattern that plays on repeat in my mind, like the Fibonacci sequence that can be consistently found in the number of petals on a flower where the bees take their nectar. This would be the same sequence that can be found in the structure of naturally occurring beehives, as well as in the mating and reproduction patterns found within the species of honey bees. There’s a consistency that we find in nature that can be found in genetics as well, like the passing of DNA from one generation to the next. However, there are inconsistencies too. Unlike the bees where all the work flows in an upward direction, to please the queen.. genetics flow in a downward direction or spiral, if you will, allowing one to inherit traits, both physical and mental.

They say that smoke makes the bees tranquil; it doesn’t hurt them, it just puts them into a sort of daze. The antipsychotics and mood stabilizers do something similar. Sleepy like bees in the smoke. The smoke makes the buzzing of the bees go quiet and the medication essentially does the same.

I started supplementing sugar with honey, my mother told me it’s more natural, more us. By us she means Bryant, meaning family in Birmingham, like my great-grandfather, the beekeeper. Birmingham is where the beehives were, where he was getting the honey from to ease the buzzing in his mind. Honey is sweet but it never fully covers the taste of the medication.

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Bees buzzing actually brings about productive results in the process of pollination. The buzzing is used to create these vibrations that shake pollen off of flowers and allows it to stick to a bees body where it will then be transferred to another flower. It brings about more life. That is where another inconsistency comes about. The buzzing that my great-grandfather passed along for me to inherit, is one that roots in pain.

I have all of these thoughts that buzz around in my head. Much like a colony of bees or the static of an old television set from my childhood. I keep trying to find the right station; a soothing melody that surpasses these frightening patterns I find in my thoughts without needing more smoke. The words keep rearranging themselves into these puzzles that I try to sort out through a kaleidoscope lens, but every time I look I get dizzier and dizzier. More buzzing. More distraction. More fog.

I keep wanting to look at something more softened, more modified. I want to be past this exceedingly intractable version of myself and I keep trying to heal this hollowing numbness inside of me, I keep trying to feel the sadness, all of the anger. I keep trying to grieve, but every time I reach into the beehive to get a taste, I find myself drenched in honey and it sends the bees into this crazed frenzy. All or none. I can never just have a taste. I catapult myself into a state of mania again. I go from the soft hum of a busy mind, a colony of bees, to a raging swarm ready to sting the first person who startles me. I never mean to hurt anyone, I just want to feel. I just wanted a taste.. something warm inside me other than the numbness. I keep trying to articulate what it’s like to live with Bipolar Disorder to the people around me but it keeps coming out in the form of apologies that buzz in the air around them. I wanted something sweeter, more aligned with the consistency of honey. Something that flowed in an upward direction that yields more life and not pain.

My great-grandfather, the beekeeper, who passed down this disease, spent a lifetime tending to bees until one day he was stung and died from a bee allergy.

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Bees and Bipolar Disorder. (2022, July 08). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 31, 2023, from
“Bees and Bipolar Disorder.” Edubirdie, 08 Jul. 2022,
Bees and Bipolar Disorder. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 31 May 2023].
Bees and Bipolar Disorder [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jul 08 [cited 2023 May 31]. Available from:
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