One of the most patronising questions you can ever ask a person with bipolar disorder. Of course I’ve taken my fucking meds. Do you really think that I would inflict this agony upon myself intentionally?
It is Christmas; my favourite time of the year. My obsession for Christmas is renowned amongst those who know me – the excitable woman-child who lives and breathes all things festive as November dawns.
And that is how I know how sick I have become; how far I have fallen over these past few months. This fog which has clouded my mind, thoughts and judgements, instead of lifting over the season of goodwill, has merely thickened and darkened engulfing me in its entireity.
Christmas morning I lay curled in a ball upon my bed, willing the pain to subside, “Please not today, of all days…Just give me one day off. Allow me one day to feel normal and be able to wear my mask of contentment with conviction…Please.” I stand under my powerful shower, turning the heat up in an attempt to warm my soul. No matter how high I turn the tap, the heat can never match the searing tears as they burn down my face. “Just cry it out,” I tell myself. Usually, letting out the pain leaves me spent, as a calm numbness surrounds and envelops me. But not this time. The tears continue to fall as the sobs wrack my body. I cover my mouth with my hands, determined that no-one should hear.
The pain does not dissipate; it is showing no remorse. I despise what I have become. I am usually able to look at the ink upon my wrist and find comfort in the words I had inscribed there years ago, knowing that they speak an undeniable truth, “This too, shall pass…”
But now I am beginning to doubt those words of wisdom. I fear that they are lying to me. This pain is unbearable – my heart is being torn into a thousand pieces and my eyes constantly prickle with the imminent threat of tears that once started, I fear may never stop.
How has it come to this? How have I reached a point where I truly believe that the only way I can find peace is to be free from this life? I am not someone who threatens suicide. I have seriously considered it less than a handful of times throughout my life. During those times I have never told a soul what I was feeling at the time and I can only assume that is why I have never had the misfortune of becoming acquainted with the in-patient experience of psychiatric care.
But the tears just wouldn’t stop. My husband commented today that I had not seemed this bad in a long time. I replied that life was too painful and that I wasn’t sure I could do it any more. His response was minimal – in years gone by he would have moved Heaven and Earth to take my pain away and would insist that we talk until all avenues had been explored. Instead he suggested that perhaps I go and take a nap, read a book and that it may be wise to get in touch with my GP in the new year. No shit Sherlock. What I couldn’t bring myself to mutter was, “If I’m still here…”
He fiddled with his phone, absent-mindedly stroking my leg. As I wandered aimlessly into the kitchen, I glanced over my shoulder, thinking that perhaps he was looking up the number for the crisis line or the opening hours for the community mental health team. This is probably this first time that would have agreed that I needed it. I told myself that I would leave my fate in his hands – he was the ‘normal’ one who was present in this situation. He was on Facebook.
How has this happened? How have we reached the point where mentioning that life has become too painful has become blasé? I have not thought about my own demise this way before. The longing for this life to be over. I feel terrible saying these words. I cannot believe that this has become a serious option for me. Who have I become? How far have I fallen? Can anybody save me from myself? Would I even want them to?
As an outsider looking in, I would not take my eyes off me right now. I am too much of a risk. Instead, he has taken himself off upstairs without a word, to read his book. And so I let these thoughts and words tumble from my mind and onto the page.
What has happened to my life?