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Bipolar I Depressive. In my early thirties that was my current situation. Finally, a name for my pain. “It’s like diabetes.” They said. “You can treat it with medication and talk therapy.” They said. “It is manageable.” They said. “You will have it for Life.” They said. They also said that I had a 1 in 5 chance of ending my own life. That is a 20% likelihood that on any given day, I will pull my own plug. That shed a lot of light, on an infinite amount of darkness.
I can tell you from my personal experience. If you are mentally ill. If you struggle with depression, anxiety, addiction you must adapt to your environment. And, evolve from your situation or you will die. Before your time and before you know what hit you. Furthermore, if you deem yourself a stable genius the same applies. Depression will pull you down. Anxiety pushes you down. Addiction will burn you alive. Bipolar I Depressive will pull you apart. It will burn you alive. It will push you down. It will pull you down and drown you. It will smother you while you sleep. That is if are able to sleep or eat? It will compel you to do drugs. Spend the money you do not have. It will cause hypersexuality that leads you to make mistakes that you cannot undo. And, flights of fancy, moods swings, and temper tantrums, and so much more. Pain is pain. It is not a competition. I have been there, lived that.
After I was diagnosed and somewhat stabilized. I returned to my hometown to visit some friends and share my new found sobriety and good mental health. The responses I received surprised me. A few wished me well, and were happy about my discovery and commended me on taking the initiative to heal myself. Others made comments that quite took me off guard – “There’s a surprise.” Or “I could have told you that.” I was struggling with this demon. I was fighting for my life and these people who I believed to be my friends were being so obtuse about my affliction.
One went on to challenge me on the subjectivity of my feelings and emotional state. “What you think you feel more than me?” Again, this is not a competition. I did not know how to handle that question. I let it go.
So, along the way, I found a way to survive. Adapt and Evolve or perish, or Die. Adapting to every situation is a challenge. We can keep it to environments. Your interior, thoughts and feelings, those things within our domain of control. Adaption to the exterior environment or what I call – The World at Large.
We must evolve beyond our current situation. We must kill off the habits. The behaviors, desires, and inclinations that do not serve our greater good. Our survival and the quest to achieve and become the you that you long to be. In therapy, they said that my parents did the best they could with what they had to work with.
What a bunch of bunk. That is a belief not based in fact. Somewhat like faith. It is what we tell ourselves to help us get through the night. We can always do better, but that is a choice.
I can tell you that when I struggled with the bleak beast of depression. The suicidal tendencies made everything worse. It compounded my feeling of self-loathing, deep down I knew I could have done better, tried harder. This only made me sicker. Helping others can produce neurochemicals to help generate good health and well-being. Imagine what helping ourselves could produce. Helping ourselves so that we can do what we need to do to help others. We could in the process help heal ourselves so that we can help heal the world. But, unfortunately, we have blinders on and are in survival mode.
What if I asked for help from some of those friends who did not know I was struggling? Or moreover, those friends who were not surprised about my illness reached out a hand? Instead of throwing a drowning man an anchor ex-posts facto.
Either way, I have risen from the ashes from many close calls, and near misses. I had to stay alive so that I could find myself, heal myself, and do what I can to help others.
There are three phases of change or states if you will. You can move from one to the other if you stay in one too long – it becomes a state. 1. Healthy Change. 2. Non-Change. 3. Unhealthy Change.
Unhealthy Change is changing for change sake. Bored or lazy, lethargic, what have you? It is like sitting on the couch with the remote binge-watching Netflix. Or leveling up on your favorite video game. You are doing something, but not. I like to change my wallpaper on my devices. I will look up and notice a half-hour went by. Idleness in flux. It is taking the path of least resistance, going through the motions, phoning it in, or faking it until you make it. Wake Up! Do something real, even if it’s wrong. Burst your own bubble. Move beyond the membrane of your comfort zone. Take the red pill. Unplug. Take the scenic route and look up and breathe the fresh air of what might be.
Looking through the clinical lens of Bipolar I depression, unhealthy change is cycling. It may be weekly, monthly, yearly, and the most torturous – daily. It all depends on the individual. Imagine waking up in the morning feeling alive ready to slay the dragon and rescue the fair maiden? You greet the day with vital élan – the vital force of life. You have unbound energy, creativity drive, passion, and vigor. But, by the end of the day you are feeling defeated, discouraged, and suicidal. Can you imagine? That was my life for two decades. Haunted by the dark specter of suicide. But, yet, I carried on. Like that wayward son, and that Cinderella man.
Until… One day I was able to push through all the struggles. For the first time, I actually did what I had to. I did all the work I needed to, to almost make my dream of becoming a professional working musician come true. My two much younger bandmates had other designs. They took the summer off to go down the shore with their girlfriends. I could not blame them. They were young, I would have down the same thing if I were them. But, but, I had worked so hard. I saved money, toiled and labored and now – I was ready. Alas, it was not to be.
Where they were young and had their whole life ahead of them, I was trying to make it through the day and wake above ground.
And, I thought that would be my legacy. Not a canon of meaningful words and music but another poor wretch that hung himself in the attic of a friend’s house.
My friend’s house who I rented a room from asked me to leave, lest I do that.
I had three choices. Commit myself to a nearby hospital. Or become homeless and wait for another hospital’s day program to open up. Or call my parents who had moved away from the area and hope that like the prodigal son, I could return.
That day I called my parents. The next day I packed up the truck and moved away from there and headed towards the great wide open.