I Can See the Light
I am 45 and I have been “sick” for the past 12 years of my life. I have bipolar II, an illness that I would not wish on anyone. I grew up very loved and very happy, but eventually my world was shattered.
My first marriage left me abused and broken. I tried, and succeeded for a while, to put that part of my life in the very back of my mind. Some things just can’t stay buried forever. Flashes of the past came back to haunt me, and major depression set in. I went into a very dark place, and it has taken me 12 years to even slightly pull out.
My days have been empty, and everything has seemed so dark. The darkness is frightening. It is lonely, filled with self-loathing, disgust and pain. Lots of pain. The kind that starts in your soul and seeps through your veins until it has taken over your body. I keep my doors shut and my curtains drawn. I don’t answer the phone or the door. I keep everyone and everything locked out. I don’t even open the mail. Every time I see a glimpse of the light I retreat. The darkness is now what I know. It has become too familiar. It seems that the scariest place I’ve ever been has turned into the only place where I want to be.
I spend my days and nights alone. At this point I wouldn’t have it any other way. Isolation has become my best friend, or so it seems. The anxiety added to the sadness has been an awful curse. Then you add the voices to that and it makes life almost unbearable. The voices are loud, and at times unrelenting. They tell me I’m worthless, ugly, a failure. I’m not sure why, but I always believe what they say. They tell me to hurt myself. They tell me to cut. Between the voices, and the sadness, and the anxiety, sometimes I do what they say. Cutting always seems like a good idea. It always seems like it will make me feel better, but it never does. Sometimes I do it hoping to bleed the illness out of me. Sometimes I do it just to be in control of something. I can’t control the darkness, but I can control the blade.
I’ve attempted suicide four different times, and obviously lived to tell about it. I would be so angry at whomever had rescued me. My family and the ER. I mean seriously! Why couldn’t they get it? I would be better off dead! People don’t understand and they can’t understand unless they’ve walked this road themselves. I would always hear, “what will your children do without you?” What could they do with me? My wanting to die had nothing to do with them or anyone else, it was only about me. Well, that’s selfish you might say. I don’t think so. It’s the direct result of an all-consuming illness. It’s something that I could not control.
I’ve been hospitalized over 15 times at several different hospitals. A couple of times for only 3 or 4 days, but mostly at least a week, and many times as long as a month. I’ve met and I’ve observed lots of people. Some looked like me. They looked like they didn’t belong there. At other times, some looked like me when the darkness had taken over. The hospital started out as a scary place that I wanted to get out of, but it has turned into a safe haven. It’s a place where I could feel and act exactly the way that I felt. I didn’t have to worry about putting on a face and pretending that everything is okay. It’s sad to say, but the hospital became such a safe place that sometimes at night when I can’t sleep because my anxiety and fear is running high, I will pretend that I am there. That is sick I know, but honest.
I have had many ECT treatments. They only worked against, not for, me. I will go back and say, as I did in the beginning, that I have come out of the darkness for a while and for that I’m grateful. It has taken years of therapy, a great psychiatrist and lots of medication, but I’m pulling through. The dark is not always here now. Sometimes I can actually see the light.