*names and relationships will mostly be eliminated to protect individuals privacy*
one night i was talking to one of my best friends over a glass of wine and things got serious. she was hesitant to say something and i was hesitant to listen. i kind of felt where the conversation was going because of the lead in, but i still didn’t know where she would go with it and i didn’t know how much i wanted to admit and how far i wanted to take the conversation but we were too far to turn back…
we had been talking about her family and she looked at me and said she was scared. i nodded because with that one statement i knew…i knew what was coming next so i took a gulp of wine and finished her sentence. …scared that we didn’t “escape” the mental illness in our family. she nodded. in each of our families we have members who are clinically diagnosed (and some who are textbook) bipolar.
we talked about how sometimes when we are sad we fear that “it” has finally caught up with us. how sometimes we wake up and we are sad and just have bad days and we both evaluate is it just a normal bad day or is this part of the depressed aspect of bipolar. do we have reason to be sad? did something set us off? are we validated in being sad? if people notice we are sad is it acceptable to just say we are having a bad day? is it ok to have a bad week – or does that throw us into a category of needing medicines and intervention?
we went on to talk about when we wake up and are really happy. how sometimes we get up and it is just a great day and being yelled at by someone or bad drivers or anything that would normally annoy us doesn’t make us upset. it doesn’t damper our good mood and our happy day. do we really have a reason to be happy? oh no is this the manic part of “it.”
as the seriousness of the conversation started to fade we both started laughing. almost at the same time we both took a deep breath and said something along the lines of i am so glad that you understand. the reassurance that we weren’t “crazy” for having those thoughts was amazing.
we decided that it is ok to have a good day or good week and that it is ok to have a bad day or week and still be free. at the first sign of a really bad day or good day with what seems like no reason at all doesn’t mean that “it” has caught up with us. we had to remind ourselves and each other that our emotions are right sad or happy we are ok. it was a reassurance that only a best friend can offer.
in light of this past week and the loss of robin williams who left the world way too soon – i wanted to say that mental illness is real. being bipolar or clinically depressed – depression where the end seems like the only option is real. feeling like you are all alone in the world even when surrounded by family and friends. feeling like if you were to start screaming in the middle of a crowded room no one would actually notice and hear. feeling like the end is the only way to cry out for help – for a hug, a friend, a conversation, to be noticed. feeling like people would soon forget you and it would be no big deal, feeling like you don’t want to fight any more. feeling like you have given it all that you have and failed miserably. feeling tired – just really tired. be blunt and grab on to someone – make them listen, make them hear and remember: you ARE worth it.