It may infuriate or it may open eyes. Nevertheless, it must be discussed. Suicide. On the heels of the death of a friend and the fifth suicide of a person that I have known personally or have heard about from a friend of a friend in less than a year, I think people, in general, still do not understand it.
Suicide, whether failed or completed is not a cry for help. The cries for help started long before the action was ever taken. The cries for help are when your friend tells you they really don’t feel like talking, when they seem distracted when they actually do talk to you, when they say things like “I am so done” or “I can’t do this anymore”, when they stop doing the things they used to do and stop acting like the person you have always known. When they are constantly crying, that is a cry for help. When they drink every day to numb the pain or say something to the effect of “I wish wine came in a pill”. When they completely withdraw from life, you notice that and you think I sure do miss my friend. In my experience, long before you actually attempt suicide you have thought about it hundreds of times, sometimes hundreds of times a day. You don’t just wake up one morning and decide to do something reckless and killing yourself is at the top of the to-do list. It is a calculated decision, one that you have thought about over and over. Even fantasized about…like winning the lottery.
People decide to take their own lives for many reasons but most often it is because they are so depressed that the light at the end of the tunnel that everyone raves about burned out long ago. Death is the last best resort. A completed suicide will be relief and a failed attempt is just confirmation that you are stuck in an overwhelming hole of darkness to which there will never be escape. Another reminder of the failure you believe yourself to be. When you are depressed you are unable to see past the minutes of despair that you are trapped in.
Depression is not sadness. Sadness is an emotion and depression is a state of being. When your life is going wonderfully, when the sky is the brightest blue, you appreciate the smiling people and a child’s laughter is poetic and someone asks you how you are feeling you do not answer, “I am not depressed” you say, “I’m happy”. Being depressed is not something you feel, it is something you do. You live it, you breathe it and you can not escape it. At least that is how it feels when you are stuck in it.
After someone takes their own life you will hear their surviving family and friends say things like “it was so selfish” or “what a shame, he had so much to live for”. It is hard for people who have never been to that point to understand that at the time it seems like the most unselfish solution and that there is nothing left to live for. Because of opinions like that someone who is contemplating committing suicide is never going to confide in anyone that they are about to kill themselves. That is why they leave letters to explain their decision. It is too uncomfortable to have that discussion with someone who will never understand.
*This entry is not condoning or encouraging suicide. It is only meant to give a peek into the mind of someone who has been suicidal. If you are feeling suicidal please call someone at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 in the U.S. Someone on the other end of the line will understand. Please let someone try to remind you that death is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
Everyday I hate life a little more. I don’t know why. I mean, I do but the reasons are more chemical and less environmental. As in, my brain is more jacked than the situations and tragedies that life keeps dumping into my lap. I try to remind myself that it could be worse. I could live in a third world country with dirty water and no tampons.
I have been swinging up and down for the last few months. I can not get level and it is so exhausting. I can’t write, I can’t read, my mind is racing all over the place. I worry about everything every single day. To make matters worse, I have been looking through the “ugly filter” and I can’t seem to take it off. The “ugly filter” is not really a thing. It is what I call the way I see things when I am in this particular mood. The sky is gray, the grass is gray, my hair is gray. Everything, no matter how glorious is shit. Oddly, when I am in this mood is when people always need to talk to me or need me to do something for them. Unfortunately, I usually try to accommodate their requests but it just leads me to not really listening, not having any empathy for their situation, giving them shitty advice or just completely avoiding them which just makes me look like a shitty person…and feel like a shitty person. Then I feel guilty for being a shitty person.
When every thought in your head(and the ones that slip out of your mouth)is negative you have to wonder what is the purpose of life and why are you even here? And as sure as you will ask that question there will be some asshole that will say something less encouraging and more idiotic like “if every day was wonderful and there was no sorrow and pain how you would you know how to appreciate the happy days?” I would fucking figure it out.
Life is shit because this stupid whore Bipolar won’t leave me be.
Sometimes I get depressed. Sometimes I get manic. I feel sad and mad and cheated. Sometimes I don’t know what to think or feel. When I am faced with one tragedy after another I have to wonder what lesson is the universe trying to teach me. Am I being punished for something? I haven’t broken any of the important commandments. When I have cried until I can’t cry anymore I get philosophical. What purpose do I have here and why do I trudge on? Is it just because it is human instinct to live or is there some great destiny that awaits and my subconscious knows that so it keeps me here? I look at the TV and and see a life that I think I should have been born into but instead I am here…in this place, in this life. Are my emotions playing tricks on me, is my filter blurred? Is my life really this bad or is this a temporary lapse of judgement? Who will answer these questions? God? A therapist? My best friend? You? Me? Am I supposed to know? The only thing I know is that I am tired of being screwed by life.
I have been standing on a sheet of ice in ballet slippers since last Wednesday. I am slip-sliding and I don’t know if I will go up or down but I am certainly not standing still. There are many things that I can discuss and if you have not noticed I am very wordy. BUT there are many things that I can not discuss. Not now. Not yet. Perhaps not ever. I am a hostage to my thoughts through no fault of my own. I have to figure out my next move and I don’t want to make an irrational decision just because I am fueled by emotion because it would be to my detriment and my families detriment. But I am still afloat if anyone cares.
I like the rules.
I have still been doing a lot of thinking about my relationships with my family and as upsetting as this whole situation is I know that this is a learning opportunity for me (although the lessons SUCK). The truth is that spiritually anyone who pushes our buttons is our teacher. In this case I need to separate myself from other people’s hurtful behavior and learn where my boundaries lie. This is very difficult for me because it is hard for me to know when something is legitimately my fault or the other person’s fault. I go back and forth between feeling like a completely worthless person who can’t do anything right so I try to please everyone, to feeling like telling everyone to leave me alone and go to hell. But one thing I am learning is that even if I have done something wrong, IT IS NEVER OKAY…
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I watched Silver Linings Playbook and now my emotions are in an uproar. If you live under a rock or really do only watch the awards shows to see what the celebrities are wearing, it is a story that follows a man named Pat with Bipolar Disorder. His illness has gotten him into a good deal of trouble. Like Bipolar Disorder, the script was so scattered I have a hard time summarizing the plot.
Hollywood usually does a horrible job depicting Bipolar Disorder. They either glamorize it, focus on one aspect of the illness where some “B” actress is lying upside down on a scaffolding painting a mural on her bedroom ceiling in the middle of a spastic manic episode or understates its effects by “making the character Bipolar” so the viewer can follow the character’s quirkiness. Or worse yet, they tell a story of a psychotic killer in which the illness is the cause of the evil.
I don’t know why it provoked such a strong reaction in me but I suspect that it was because it hit home. Well, parts of it did. Bipolar Disorder goes from one extreme to another with severe- I can’t get out of bed, I can’t stop crying, I can’t cry any more, I can’t shower, eat or breathe-depression to a delusional type of mania that I can’t even describe because I have never been to the point of hallucinations, or voices…but I hear it is really bad. I can educate myself about the illness all day long but I will never fully understand some of it because I don’t feel it. You won’t either unless you do.
If only you could see it through my eyes. When I watched the wedding video scene, I cried. It hurt my heart to watch that frustration that I have felt so many times myself. I imagine the “normal” people watched it and thought something along the lines of Why in the hell is that man waking his parents in the middle of the night to find some damn video that he has surely watched a billion times and besides wasn’t he there? After all, it was his wedding! I feel so sorry for those parents, those poor people. But what I saw with my Bipolar eyes was every time that I have ever felt that same sense of urgency about something. The urge is so strong that it will keep you all up night long. It is intense. It is painful. It is so agonizing that you can feel the blood pumping in your veins. You glance at your wrists to make sure they still look the same.
Perhaps this is because of my anal attention to detail or maybe it’s because I am acutely aware of the small parts of the illness that plague me and most people don’t recognize but Pat never eats. Sure there are multiple scenes with food but he only took a few bites of raisin bran through the whole movie that I noticed. When you are manic you don’t feel like eating. You don’t have time for silly shit like chewing. When you are depressed it is too difficult to choke down a few bites of anything in between sobs. We eat when we are stable.
I think the “normal” people are probably rooting for Pat and Tiffany to win the contest just because it’s a win. And any win is good, right? I saw a deeper significance. It’s the one where people who suffer from depression and mania struggle with follow through. The big win wasn’t the bet it was that these two damaged people were able to somehow find within themselves the focus to complete such a huge thing without it sending them spiraling down or up. When you have Bipolar Disorder and you are able to follow through and finish something that was originally created in a mood swing that is the big win, in my opinion.
There is a lot of interaction with his family and friends in the movie. They try to help him in their own way even though it appears highly dysfunctional. It made me realize that just like Pat, there are people in my life who just want to help. So the next time I hear, “just get back up on that horse”, I might hear it a little differently. Typically, people don’t know what to say or do to help when you are in a mood swing. It is like trying comfort a friend who has just told you that his brother has died. You don’t know if you should say something compassionate or encouraging or not say anything at all. You just don’t think that there is anything that you can offer that will take away his pain. But you try anyway. Anyone with this illness needs to learn to let people help them. If you have a support system that doesn’t throw in the towel when things get hard you should count yourself lucky. Let them help you even if you think they don’t know how.
Everyone loves a happy ending but I hope that the general population doesn’t get the message that love conquers all. Love can’t cure Bipolar Disorder. The best love can do is offer a little strength to keep fighting the good fight. The end of the movie was not the end of Pat’s story. There will surely be more peaks and valleys but you have to take the good days when you get them and remember that the bad days are only temporary.
I wouldn’t necessarily say I have an addictive personality. Alcohol, I can take it or leave it. A glass or two of wine always adds a little zest to a stressful holiday or a backyard barbecue. I am nothing of a gambler. I will play some of those word games but I often lose interest and take days taking my turn. I don’t need that rush that you get from shopping or falling in new love over and over again. I sometimes get stuck in a rut of doing the same thing over and over, especially laundry but that is not my doing. I can’t really blame Bipolar for that one either. It is mostly the crumbs that feel the need to change their clothes no less than ten times a day.
I do, however, have obsessive thoughts. My brain never shuts up. My brain has a way of taking one thing and blowing it so out of proportion that the original thought is no longer recognizable. The what-ifs get so expansive that in a matter of minutes I have scripted an entire movie in my head with the most horrific ending just by wondering if the battery in the smoke alarm is still working. I think they call that “catastrophic thinking”. That is a pretty accurate description. I always cry at the end as if what I just thought really happened. I really just lived through that horrible experience.
If I lay my head down and I think about something I read or heard or even saw on TV and I have even the most mundane question about it I must seek out the answer immediately. There is no way to distract myself from the thought. No way to rest my mind. It can not wait until morning. There is no where in my brain for this nagging thought to live. I must get it out of my head. It’s importance is somehow magnified by the anxiety of not knowing. I must immediately leave my warm bed and venture to the laptop where my friend, Google will certainly provide me with the answer. If it is a complicated question I will most likely spend hours, fighting through a medication haze, and will not give up until I find that answer. I will say this, my anxiety and insomnia was much greater before I became acquainted with a search bar.
It would make sense that some Psychiatrist would have given me that label “OCD” by now. I have the obsessive thoughts that always initiate a compulsive reaction but the things that I obsess about and then compulsively take action about are never anything like what you see in the movies. I don’t need to walk around my bed three times before laying down, or have my wardrobe organized by size and color. But now that I think about it, I do have to rinse my glass three times before drinking out of it even if I just pulled it from the diswasher and all of the hangers must be plastic and they must be facing left. This gives me something to think about. I don’t really know the specifics of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I will Google it. I have to find the value of X.