I was shuffling in some old files today, looking for an old spread sheet I had done on my psychopharm record. I found that spread sheet, and the answer I was looking for. Unfortunately for me, the next file in the cabinet contained much of my old writing. Amidst the rants, and raves, and late night rambling was a very long handwritten letter. This letter was written when I was in the darkest of places.The letter was written almost to the day, seven years ago. It was the final days preparing for a suicide attempt. I don’t think that an attempt actually happened that year, the dates don’t add up in my mind. However, reading this letter launched me. It all became so real again. The cyclical nature of my journey and the moods that shape it. I can’t help but feel hopeless in this moment. Hopeless in this never-ending recycling of depression. I can only wait and wonder if this time will be like that episode. Will it level me to the point I am writing goodbye notes to each of the people around me and planning my funeral service. Will I again be plotting and planning to the very last-minute. I am numb with grief at the thought of it. I cannot do this again. Unfortunately statistics say as many as 1 in 5 bipolar patients completes suicide (NIMH). I don’t want to be a statistic. I’m just not sure I have the energy to keep going.
I know everyone that struggles with mental illness contends with the cyclical nature of it. I think the reality is, I like a lot of other people, live their lives looking over their shoulder. With each successive episode, this becomes further intrenched in our psyche. For me the history of suicide attempts further drives it home. When things are ok, I am always wondering to myself, when the other shoe will drop. It is an awful way to go through life. With bipolar, we get the problem at both ends. If I put more than one day together of very good, I start to worry as well. Is this good- too good? To imagine, having to worry about good and bad. For me the bad far outweighs the good worry, but I figured it was worth mentioning.
I guess, in this evening of discomfort and sadness, I need to keep in mind I am still here. I made it through that depression. I can somehow make it thru this one. I have to keep going. I can’t look back, I can look where I am going and try to make my way mindfully. I will not dwell on that letter tonight. I will remain in the moment and get to tomorrow.