Wednesday, June 8, 2016
There are certain things about bipolar disorder, which even if I live to be 100, I still wouldn’t be able to understand. I get that there will always be ups and downs. I’m fully aware that our illnesses may not even make sense to us, let alone others. However, today is one of the days that I am truly struggling.
I’m in tears as I type this, and if someone were to come into my room right now and ask me why I would have absolutely no reason. In fact, common sense tells me that I have nothing to feel the least bit upset about. It’s actually just the opposite! Things have been going well lately. Our marriage is wonderful, our cats are healthy, our families seem to be doing well, I'm doing my best to avoid drama, and I’ve been getting a lot of exciting offers when it comes to my book.
So, what the hell is wrong with me?
Why did I wake up crying? Why did it take me three hours to physically leave my bed? Why did I start sobbing in the kitchen because there are dishes in the sink? I can’t shake it. I feel like I’m suffocating. Of course, I’ve been through something like this before, and I can think rationally (even if only for a moment) that I’ll get through it. I just don’t understand why it hurts so bad right now. I feel like I’m two different people. On one hand, I’m the blubbering mess that can’t stop sobbing and on the other hand, I’m the observer thinking, what is her problem?!? I need to get out of here; I can’t deal with this.
I feel like this has been creeping up on me for a while now. I’ve had to work my way through a lot of strange feelings lately, and most of the time I can get myself together before my husband even gets home from work. This feels different. As if something is strangling me, but I can’t see it or figure out how to stop it.
What can I do? What am I supposed to do? I’m all alone, and I can’t even explain this to myself, let alone try to spell it out for anyone else.
I guess that’s why I’m writing through the tears. There are so many people out there that don’t understand situations like this. That would rather look at us like we’re “crazy” or “attention-seeking”. They would rather treat us like outcasts than try to be sympathetic about something they couldn’t possibly understand. Sometimes I feel like it’s useless to try to keep explaining over and over. There will always be stigma, there will always be discrimination, hatred, and fear. Even though I can barely breathe right now, I know that I still have work to do. The question at this moment is whether I’m strong enough to handle it, and I don’t think I am.
There will be a day where I can proceed, and it will probably be soon. However, if it’s not, I have to be alright with that. I’m a fighter, and I always will be. It’s just that sometimes we have to fight a battle inside of ourselves before we can take on the outside world.
I’m doing everything I can to keep from falling too far into this hole, where I convince myself that I’m not good enough, and I can’t do it. As if the pain of depression alone wasn’t bad enough, your brain starts playing tricks on you. Reminding you of all the missed opportunities, the failures, and the relationships gone bad. I have to work every single minute of every single day to keep the past in the past. To know that I’m a better person today than I was three years ago when my life was almost over.
I wouldn’t struggle so much with this disease if I knew how to keep these horrific, soul-crushing episodes from taking over my life. I guess if I knew that, there would be a lot fewer depressed people in the world, including myself. I hope that despite everything, I’ve made some sense while writing this. I don’t want sympathy, and I don’t want someone to fix what is broken. I just want people to know that we’re all out here trying to do our best with what we’re given, and sometimes we just aren’t given enough to be OK.
I may not be able to pinpoint the exact reason that I can’t stop sobbing right now, but I have to be able to forgive myself for that. We all do. None of us planned our lives like this. We didn’t wish for mental illness. No matter how knowledgeable you are, or how long you’ve been dealing with your disorder, there are going to be times when you just don’t get it. The how, the why, or the when.
I know that I’m not alone in this. I’m grateful for that. Life might be a struggle for me for a little while. I may not make a lot of sense, or be able to keep up a strong façade. Just know that I’ll be here, still trying to put one foot in front of the other, no matter how much it hurts.
About the Author: Jason M. Holland, Ph.D., currently serves as the CEO and Editor of Lifespark , an online well-being magazine focuse...
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