When I looked at the Superbill that had a big fat check mark next to Bipolar 1 Mixed, I laughed. Oh boy, finally I was certifiable crazy right there in black and white. I laughed. And laughed some more when I told my boyfriend. about it and while he had an appreciative chuckle, I remember he also looked scared.
I was working at a behavioral health clinic at the time. I worked for a psychiatric nurse practitioner that specialized in children and was what is known as a med manager. She did meds. for kids with ADHD, Aspegars, and because it started to be acceptable to diagnose the young in recent years with this curse, Bipolar.
It was heartbreaking some of the things I saw and heard, the parents at their wit’s end trying to find the magic pill for their child’s pain. A pain many, the majority didn’t understand or have any hope of ever being enlightened.
In the same clinic were counselors and a med manager for adults. So you think I would have known, HA. THe only thing I knew, and may I be forgiven for my ignorance, was that bipolar disordered people thought they knew more than their pdocs and med managers and went off their meds and came crawling back when the depression or mania hit them again or they ended up in the hospital after a botched suicide attempt, were unpredictable, and did some crazy things sometimes.
What was the big deal? I was still me …right? Still the same old me. Just with a label, that at first I optimistically hoped was the key to understanding all the missing puzzle piece places in my big picture. There were many and I was eager to see how and if this explained it all. Just because I was now officially bipolar, I wasn’t gonna start doing that stuff.
I hadn’t yet realized my whole life already was that stuff.
All but the crawling back part. I never got help to deny so I had nowhere to turn and remembering my first visit to the psych ward, I preferred suffering in silence to crawling to anyone for help or admitting anything.
I was ecstatic to have an answer, to the ever-present question in my mind, what is wrong with me?
I didn’t really care what it meant, it was the answer, now give me some pills and make me better. I wanted to be ….normal. right. fixed, I wanted a life that I always wanted and now that I had the name of the bastard standing in the way, I could fix it and be great, remarkable, everything I was supposed to be, all my parents wanted me to be… the real me could step forward,
I learned very quickly that the real me was who I always had been, just trying to fit into something I wasn’t because I didn’t understand where I fit in,
I learned very quickly, there is no magic pill, there is no cure, I would never have mental health, as it is defined in the dictionary. The absence of mental illness, disorder or …
I don’t remember… who cares? I don’t have it and never will.
I learned very quickly that you don’t go around telling everyone and their neighbor you are bipolar, especially laughing hysterically and with the relief of finally understanding.
That it isn’t a good thing. And adding Isn’t that GREAT at the end of telling them with a bubbly laugh? Not. O.K.
I read everything I could find. I took the meds that were supposed to help me.
They did, but they lost me. They were horrible, the cocktail, the side effects, the flat nothingness, And further, where once I had been optimistic because it wasn’t fatal after all,
I learned very quickly it actually can be. Very scarily so.
From the reading and the learning I lost hope and lost will and lost more than I can admit to. I sunk into the darkness that is so often present with the mentally …disordered.
The pain, the confusion the loneliness worse than before.
My stage of acceptance was accepting….that one day I would successfully end my own life.
That I wouldn’t see my children grow or my grandchildren, that I would never grow old, that one of these times, my brain would convince my brain that I needed to be gone…and because I have what is referred to as mixed episodes, I was even more likely to meet my maker this way because it means in the depths and darkness of my despair when I have made a decision to just go… unlike just having the lethargy of being depressed,
I will have the energy to follow through.
I found that oddly comforting. Nothing bothered me anymore. Ok it did but in the back of my mind I played the tape over and over... you are only a statistic, a matter of time, you can go if you don’t want to stay. No one would be surprised, it’s what you are going to do, what you have to do..
At moments of …when I am tired, tired of living and tired of hurting and tired of trying, it is a comfort to know I don’t HAVE to if I choose not to.
I am bipolar. It can be fatal and I am the one who decides that
or so I thought.
I guess it’s safe to say I walked around in a state of suicidal ideology for a long time, and thought nothing of it.
I went to my pdoc and would get asked,
any suicidal thoughts?
Then how I was sleeping….
wait..no reaction, no what kind how often, it was almost as if, it was just… bipolar. Once, I got a little more creative and still got not much more than a raised eyebrow.
To my pdoc’s credit, I guess there is a difference in what is said and how it is said that makes them know if you are needing to be saved from yourself imminently vs over a long period of time once or twice a week.
I began to feel cursed. I questioned my faith. Especially in a higher power that would allow someone to be as trusting and gullible, sensitive and easily wounded as I am, and pile on a dark and dangerous mental illness. Like adding fuel to a fire.
Let;s make sure you are hurt by the world and then, let’s add a reason to hate you.
One who does not easily hate, does not have a truly malicious bone, who tries to find the good in everyone, who will give someone 500 chances before believing they had bad intentions from the start, who is honest by default – unable to lie without putting some serious effort and thought into it. (but I will say..able to lie well with intent, such as in hiding the turmoil in my mind)
Let’s give all those people you give too many chances just one reason to hate, fear, and judge you. Well that ought to be entertaining no?
I bought into the curse, the darkness, the self-pity, the anger. I embraced the complete hopelessness that from all that I had read, and learned, was my fate. I sulked. I cried. I raged and screamed. I pushed when I wanted to pull. I went alone when I only wanted a friend.
And I had none. Even the one who should love me and accept me, did not hesitate sometimes to insist he would leave me because of the difficulties of dealing with … me.
I remember one time asking him if having this disease that I did not ask for, did nothing to bring upon myself, did not want, made me ineligible to have the things I did want. Did it mean that I did not deserve love, or tolerance, or happily ever after. Did it mean that I, who have love in my heart so much so that I can not contain it at times, would never get that in return because there was also some inexplicable darkness that I had not too much control over running my brain.
The last time I thought about taking my life was a little over a year ago and I had no plan and no real sure idea that I wanted to end it all.
I was just too tired to go on. And since I felt like it was inevitable, I figured why must I suffer this heartache if it is all pointless anyways. If I was cursed with a life sentence of loneliness because of something I could not help, why not make the sentence as short as possible.
Days, weeks these thoughts had been simmering and brewing in my head. Never clearly formed, just wispy clouds of thought floating in and out of my brain.
I did not set out to be gone. I suppose if I had put effort into it, I would have succeeded, or kept trying if that was really what I wanted.
I just took some steps and with more of a plea than a plan.. maybe half-hearted enough to save me, who the hell knows,
please don’t let me wake up tomorrow.
But I did.
My attitude didn’t change that day. But I very clearly thought 2 things.
- It isn’t really that easy to die, and tired as I am, the effort to live might actually be less and
- since my plea fell on deaf ears, maybe there was a reason, a purpose for … me.
That was the day I said screw it.
I am tired of pretending. Tired of hiding and faking and trying and failing to not be who I am.
That was the day I first had the idea that there are two sides to every coin and there must be some good in this, some gift in this
if there is so much pain in this.
I was just too damn tired to go much beyond that.
But not tired enough anymore to quit.
The rest of it from there to here, you have pretty much been with me for. For it was truly starting the writing experience that I finally came over to the light. No…not into the light…as in not the dark side, using my powers for good. Being me, discovering the gifts I have and just by sharing pieces of myself, discovering something else.
I am smart enough, I am funny enough, I am pretty enough, I am shiny and cracked enough to glow like a beacon in the night,
And gosh darn it people like me…..