I have never attempted suicide myself, but an uncle of mine did once, and well, paid the ultimate price, his life. He was unofficially diagnosed by my mother and her sisters as Bipolar, whether or not that was true, we will never know. What I do know for sure is that he was pushed to a point where he no longer found meaning in his life. I also know that I have felt such despair that I wish someone would take my babies and just let me sleep. I have felt so depressed and in the midst of nothingness that all I wanted to do was lay in my bed and do and be nothing. Just nothing. This would usually come after a late night, a restless, sleepless night. Or, when I “forgot” to take my medication because I know better than the psychiatrist. Wrong!! So wrong!!
I now know that I don’t know more than any psychiatrist no matter how flawed I may think they are or how much higher my IQ may be, I am at the mercy of their education and experience. I put it so dramatically because that is how I sometimes feel. I feel as though I am helpless sometimes and not only at the mercy of the psychiatrists, but at the mercy of my mind. Why? Because it leads me to think things, things I should not be thinking. Like, “don’t take your meds, you’re fine”, “your mood swings are totally typical”, and my favorite, “you are not Bipolar, everyone else is.”
I also know that everyone’s life has meaning, no matter what you or others may think. And sometimes it’s hard to see through all the mugginess and fog, but believe me, your life has meaning. Whatever it may be, make it your mission to find it. Make that your daily goal! I dare you.
The thing I don’t like about being angry is that it isn’t the me that I want to be. It’s a nuclear fireball, a complete eradication of the rest of my personality. For a few seconds, everything that I love becomes less than a memory. The witnesses to my explosion see a six foot six inch tall brute with a beard screaming at the top of his lungs and waving his arms about. Wouldn’t you be scared? Wouldn’t you keep that memory in your head purely for reasons of defense?
These scenes came more frequently when I was soaring in and out of manias and mixed states. It isn’t hard to see that my anger could be tied to my suicidal inclinations. Because I could not and would not destroy the objects of my ire, I turned that impulse towards myself. One time too many it brought me to a place where I was studying the veins on my wrist. Beyond the eradication of myself that was caused by my disease, lay the prospect of self-annihilation as punishment or revenge.
Maybe now you can understand my reaction that came while I was planting vinegar weed at the Native Seed Farm. I had done something stupid — I had mentioned my involvement in the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance in a passing comment. Most people let it drop, but this one woman wanted to know more. What were the people like? Was I ever scared? And then the most stigmatizing thing someone can say about someone who takes his meds faithfully: don’t the meds erase your personality?