I don’t like self pity. Least of all my own.
“Bravery”, in terms of illness, is will. If you don’t challenge your own negative thoughts, you lose. The trouble with depression is that you tend to keep the thoughts to yourself. Positive thoughts don’t squeak through. There is no challenge. You swallow up whatever your mind is serving you. You have no allies.
It’s a shock, for a second, in the room, with its large windows spilling light onto a bricked up garden incarcerating spindly, infant trees anorexic from lack of sun. My head is almost between my knees I am so slumped. I examine the detail of my shoes, count the hairs on my hands, anything to pull my thoughts elsewhere. The chair is comfortable, the fabric is blue with scratches upon the arms. And then there is a human voice slicing through the inhuman one-
“It controls you, but it’s not all of who you are. You are more than this.”
“The voice is wrong”.
Quietness, for a long time.
“I know that depression is difficult and you feel as though you’re a burden on other people. But that’s not why they stay around…”
It feels almost like a dream-
“It’s because of who you are, all the good things about you, because they love you”-
My head rises, a millimetre. I feel like I want to cry.
“There are no good things about me. If you could see their faces. How disappointed they look. They are so tired of me, and I am tired too. My family, my friends, Rob. They don’t know what to do. I have put them through so much. I hate myself. I make their lives worse. So what is the point? I don’t want to be this way anymore. I hate talking about this. I hate it”.
“Has anyone ever told you this? Has Rob ever told you that you’re too much for him? Why would he stay with you if he didn’t love you?-”
“He is depressed now, too. And the others”-
I almost break into sobs as I force this sentence out.
“Are so ashamed of me. I am so ashamed of me. I am useless. I could have been so much more than this. I fucked up everything. Everything people hoped for me. This never ends. It never will end. For the rest of my life. I could get better for a few months. Maybe a few years. But it will happen again. It always does and it is so easy. What is the point? Why don’t people understand that saying, “You’ve got through this before?” is not comforting? It is damning. How many more times? I’m twenty two years old. How much longer?”
“You have so much to give to the world. You are more than this. It’s depression that is telling you that you’re not. It’s not true. When you get through this-”
I smile, for a second. But it’s not what she said that made me smile. It’s what I was about to say.
“There’s a building opposite my flat. It’s high, higher than the top flat in this building. And I see it at night, the gates are often open with people coming in and out. I could get to the roof. In the night, I could climb up to the roof and jump off. It wouldn’t work from my window, I’d just break something”.
This in monotone. We make another appointment, soon.
I told her that I am afraid to die but that I still find the thought of suicide comforting. I told her that I hated myself for that as Vicky’s suicide, Brendan’s suicide and my dad’s slow suicide are, to me, the most painful experiences of my life. I am angry at them and for them. Still, I think about it constantly. I am under no illusions, I don’t think I am going to arrange myself beautifully on eiderdown with a bottle of pills and a tearstained poetry book. I don’t go in for that kind of melodrama. It is just an end to something that feels completely unending.
I need to view my illness as a separate entity or else I could not cope. If it is just me, then there is no fighting it because I will never be my own ally. So there is “it”.
Sometimes I imagine that my ribs are made of steel and that inside is my heart in a dull metal box. It is like being locked inside an Iron Maiden.
The placid, public face that gives no indication of what lurks inside. If you move, it hurts. If you shout, no-one can hear. How long for you can withstand it, with your eyes shut, pretending to be somewhere else. When you open them, blackness.
The thing that almost wrecks me with sadness is that I don’t think I am this person. It is alright to say that this is not the entirety of who I am but it is the most obvious, most recognisable thing about me simply because it is always there, when many other things are not. Things that other people might say are fundamental to who I am (my sense of humour, for example) are simply not there a lot of the time. Because the one big thing that chips away at me is.
I think I might be an optimist. So many bad things have happened to me, in my life. I have forgiven everybody. I am angry at people rarely and even then it’s easy for me to stop being angry. When other people are sad, I am there with my freshly baked batch of upside. I still love people who hurt me, I probably love people who don’t love me back. But I don’t mind. Love is always positive. I am funny, I think. I think I have interesting things to say. I see things in a different way than most people.
Am. Was. Might not be. Definitely not at the moment.
I miss the “upside” of my own illness. At least before it went to rot there would be times, wonderful times, of wallowing in sunlight, intense, glorious joy. But I can’t have one, or the other. If I have one then I will have both. The “happiness” needs to be natural for the depression not to exist. If I had the choice, none of this would ever have existed. My basis for comparison would be a happy day, and a sad one. There would be no illness, there would never have been. I’d never have met my CPN, never have been in hospital, never have been kicked out of college, never wrecked my exams after being off for six months, never have been so psychotic and sick that people thought I was fictional. I don’t deal with this with “bravery”. I want it to never have existed in me.
I am just locked inside. It is difficult to articulate this without melodrama. It is not sepia with my moon-toned face peering from a dusty window. It is just flatline. Dull. Very dull. Dull voices that float through paper and glass. Dull lights. Noticing blonde hair. And not caring.
Filed under: bipolar, Bipolar 1 Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, coping with manic depression, depression, how manic depression can impact on your life, manic depression, mental illness Tagged: | bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, depression, manic depression, mental illness