That was the subject line of an email I got last week from a friend. The message is below. My friend struggles with bipolar disorder. It’s so hard to watch, because sometimes she is in such despair, and there is nothing I can do to help make it better, make her safer, make it go away. And it’s so unfair that anybody has to suffer like she does, and suffer alone. There is still such a stigma with mental illness, as if you should just be able to shake it off or get over it already. And we don’t talk about it enough. I’m forever encouraging my friend to share her stories more, to educate the people around her, both for the good of the world, and to broaden her support base. Of course, it’s very easy for me to say; I’m not the one having to expose myself.
She sent this message asking me to save it for sometime in the future when she needs to see it again. When things are dark, and hopefully this will help, at least a little. I have encouraged her to start her own blog, anonymously if that’s more comfortable, because she has good stuff to say. In the meantime, I offered mine, so she could feel protected but still share. Because I think it’s important.
If you think you recognize my friend, maybe you do. Maybe someone around you has similar struggles. But, and perhaps this goes without saying, please don’t say anything to her, based on this post. Cuz, you know, that’s just awkward.
So here’s her message, which I’m saving for later.
Almost everything feels good. Or well. Emotionally well, physically well, and maybe even spiritually well, although I don’t favor that word because I think it means something different to everybody.
But the point is, suicide is the furthest thing from my mind right now. And how does that happen?! Can you imagine if I could figure that one out? Why one day (or for several weeks at a time, more accurately) I can think about nothing aside from slicing through my wrists with any available sharp object, and another day, I have future plans and lists of things I want to accomplish in this life? It is the most fucked up thing I’ve ever dealt with or come across in my life that I’ve personally experienced; a hell that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Sometimes, though, when it’s dark in my head, I wish that hell on EVERYONE because I allow myself to wallow in my pity and want it to not be me. I want people to understand, and sometimes it feels like that could only happen if they had my experience.
It is not that way, today, though. Shorts, tank top, sun, 80 degrees, breeze. But it’s not just the weather. No. There is nothing that can touch my mood today. I don’t even consider whether or not I want to live; I just AM living. And it’s great. I accidentally slipped this morning and allowed myself to think, ‘I am happy.’ It’s like if I allow that, then the darkness that is the suicidal desire will remember that it has forgotten about me, and come looking.
I want to tell that profoundly depressed and suicidal me that there ARE times like these, and thus far, these times have ALWAYS cycled back around. When I’m in that bad place, it never seems like it will ever end, and yet it always does. I can never make myself believe that it will end. I want to die more than anything in the world, and that would be such a waste. My kids need me. My friends and family need and love me, and my death would be such a tragic loss.
I don’t even have advice to those who are unlucky enough to have to support me in this. Personally, I wouldn’t know what to say to me when I’m way out there. I just know that I have to figure out a way to not kill myself when the need arises. This life has too much potential.