Monday, December 24, 2012

I'm Fucking Bi-Polar. No, Seriously.

The first time I tried to kill myself I was about 10 years old. I was in 5th grade. I knew what suicide meant, but I had to look it up in the dictionary to know how to spell it. I remember writing the word out on my parent's bathroom mirror in lipstick, and then going into my bedroom and hacking the shit out of my arms and legs with a dull knife. I don't know if I really wanted to die, but I know that being able to see blood and actually feel physical pain was such a relief. With that began the hardest hill I had to climb, and am still climbing.



Over the years, things went from bad to worse. Cutting became a daily routine. It felt so good to feel the pain, because I could not articulate what was going on in my head. There were a few times I felt like I couldn't take it any more and told my mom and dad what was going on, hoping that they would have the answers. Unfortunately, they were fucking clueless and had me institutionalized a number of times. Granted, I would probably do the same thing to my kids if they were out of control and refused to seek help.

I skipped from psychiatrist to psychiatrist, from one anti-depressant to another. Therapist upon therapist couldn't help me because I wasn't willing to help myself. I became content with feeling like shit, and was afraid to know what not wanting to die felt like.

Everyday was a struggle to get out of bed, take a shower and get ready to face the day. I couldn't look at myself in the mirror, and if I did, I was disgusted with what I saw and would either cut, take drugs in my high school bathroom, or just disappear into the crowd of seemingly happy classmates.

The only healthy things that provided some relief to my pain were writing and music. I would spend hours listening to my discman, avoiding any potential contact with those around me. Sometime I would just walk around with my headphones on, but not listening to anything because I really didn't want to talk to anyone. My journal was well worn, and if anyone was actually granted access to its pages, I would have either murdered them or cut their tongues out of their mouths, in fear of anyone finding out about my self-loathing secret.

It wasn't until after I had Madison, about 14 year after I first tried to snuff myself, that I actually had the balls to take life by the horns and get my shit together.

I was having severe postpartum depression and started to cut again after about a year of not doing so. I was so depressed I couldn't even look at my beautiful little baby, let alone feed her, change her pants or even try to comfort her when she was crying. I sent Mark an instant message, which he received about a week later, saying that I was hurting and I needed help.

With the strength of my amazing husband and the courage from myself to want to see some change for the better in my life, I got connected with an amazing therapist and an even more amazing psychiatrist and have been on the mend since. Granted, there are still a lot of downs, but they are fewer and farther between.

This is just my story, but unfortunately, it is not that uncommon. When I was younger I was afraid to say what was bothering me because it was such a strange feeling and I couldn't comprehend what was happening in my body, so how could I accurately describe to some adult what was happening. As far as I knew, I was the only person on the planet who was experiencing these overwhelming feelings. I was also afraid that if anyone found out about my secret I would be terrorized to no end. I felt as though if I didn't acknowledge the shit that was happening, it wasn't happening. Meanwhile my quality of life went down the tubes.

I am only writing this because I feel like I need to be honest with myself and with those who love me. There is still a stigma that surrounds mental illness, and for no reason. If a person breaks a bone, absolutely no one would blame the victim for going to the doctor to get a cast put on. Likewise, no one blames a diabetic for taking insulin, or a cancer patient for undergoing chemotherapy.

The same should hold true for those of us who are mentally ill. We need to take medication to have a better quality of life, to actually be able to face the day, to be able to actually look at ourselves in the mirror, to be able to face each new day with something other than death and self-loathing on the brains.

There is nothing wrong in admitting to oneself that something is wrong and needs to change. If one has the bravery to face themselves head on, the hardest hill to climb, helping themselves in the day-to-day gets easier.

I promise.

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Here are a couple of links and resources to look through if you or a loved one are experiencing some mental bull shit.

-National Alliance of Mental Illness: www.nami.org

-To Write Love on Her Arms: www.twloha.com

-Mental Health America: www.nmha.org

9 comments:

  1. Hey Emily! Thank you for your courage in sharing this post. I guess we have some things in common that I didn't realize. Anyway, hugs to you... -Angela from YMCA swim team long ago

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    1. Angela, like you have to remind me where I know you from! Geez, girl! Thank you for reading my bitching and moaning, I appreciate it. ha.

      Love you girl (and happy early birthday...the big 3-0 is coming up!)

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    2. Baha, you are funny. We are so old now! :P Also, I wouldn't consider your honesty to be bitching or moaning. I have been diagnosed with a mood disorder called dysthymia which I'm pretty sure started in junior high and PTSD after witnessing a violent suicide. I have also struggled with overwhelming thoughts of wanting to kill myself and wanting to cut. I have never let myself get farther than just thoughts, though. I usually make myself take a nap if I am feeling that crappy. Anyway, things are improving, but it is difficult sometimes. Love you, too! -Angela

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    3. So happy to hear that things are improving. Here is to the continued up & up!! xoxo

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  2. To me the hardest part about depression is the feeling that you are alone, that no one else understands what you're going through, and the embarrassment that you can't handle life like a ''normal'' person. I think we all have felt this way at one point or another, knowing we're not alone can make all the difference. Thanks Emily Mary for sharing your struggles, it's these struggles that make us human. Much love to you and your family :)

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    1. It was my pleasure to get that shit off my chest. Dead weight I've been carrying around for far too long!

      Take it easy, Ms. Kolher!

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    2. *Kohler...sorry

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  3. Emily, thank you for being so brave and for sticking around so we can all enjoy your presence in this world. :) I love you and I'm proud as hell that you're such a fighter.

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