Have you ever been to hell while alive? It’s like waking up from a deep slumber but instead of feeling well-rested, your head is swimming in constant emotional and mental turmoil. It’s being born again with all the misery and hollowness in the world put inside you and you feel like bursting any moment. Your mind is a jumble of mismatched wires and your heart is beating but you feel lifeless.
I have Bipolar II which means I have more manic depressive episodes than high or elevated moods. More often, I sleep the whole day because I feel like my energy has been drained but there are also times when I am restless and can not sit still or stay in one place. There are times when I am overly excited or happy and have grandiose plans regarding my life, and life in general. Other times, I shop compulsively. I am sometimes the most pleasant, enjoyable company you will have, and at others I am the most obnoxious, sarcastic bitch in the room. I am prone to suicidal tendencies and hurting myself. More so to feel something than to deliberately inflict pain on my being. I have Bipolar, not insanity.
Many an article both here in the Philippines and abroad have featured suicides due to depression and others wonder how these people could do it. What on earth possessed them to end their life, to give up just like that? As someone who have thought of killing herself on more than one occasion, I may not be able to speak for everyone but this I know to be true: the misery within, the silent plea for help when we don’t even know if we want it or not, and the conflict between losing & finding ourself are all too great a burden that all we want to do is end it. End the chaos plaguing us, for it is a plague, a never-ending plague that only settles but never leaves.
Sad to say, only a few people with Bipolar get the much needed support and unconditional love from their family and friends. On my end, I am not criticizing any friends – nor family – I have but they do tend to ignore me when I am in my manic depressive mood. Others even have the gall to ask how I am doing when it is obvious how exactly I feel. I guess it’s because they do not know. They do not have the slightest clue of the conflict I am battling every single moment of my life. They have their depressive episodes but that will be gone in a few days or week while mine stays. It is a constant in my life. Except for my husband, I am almost always left alone where the feelings of guilt and worthlessness magnify into a thousandfold.
In a way I am guilty of my Bipolar blossoming. I nurtured it you see. From the throes of slight depressive episodes until the depths of a dark bottomless pit, I have watered it until it thrived. You ask what made me do it? Not because I wanted to be in the lowest hierarchy of humanity where pity is constantly on its feet but because I am a writer.
As much as I have Bipolar, I am self-aware and it did not take me long to realize that I write a whole hell of a lot better when I am in my manic depressive mood. It is in my darkest, most primeval, and volatile state when I become in charge of all my faculties – literary at least. In these moments, nothing can stand between me and my thoughts. I am then compelled – summoned more like it – to put pen to paper where all my thoughts gush out, like a faucet opened on full power. It is when I write to my full satisfaction where my brain and heart literally race and tumble over words. I do not know how many people with Bipolar experience this but it is during these moments that I am in bliss. I feel like I am me again – no, I AM me again. My pathos is also my salvation.
Some people might think it but no one ever wants to be mentally ill. No one. But it is something I, and a hundred or maybe thousands of people, have to deal with everyday. I have it not because I am weak. I have it not because I have a flair for the dramatics. I have it not because I am pessimistic. I have it simply because I do. It is a fact and nothing can ever change that. The agony, the tiring ups and downs of my emotions, and the constant feeling of drowning and emptiness is mine and mine alone. Understanding Bipolar will take time but if people put in a lot of patience coupled with dedication then one day, the stigma that is Bipolar will be broken. Then, people with Bipolar like me will be seen as caring, strong, and thriving members of our community – not as weak, cry babies with whom others always have to be on edge with.
I can see the light. It is not that I, and the others, choose to be in the shadows. It is because I need my family and friends to make that light reachable for me, especially in moments of anguish. Yes I need help, but sometimes, I still wonder if I really do. I need patience and understanding, not scrutiny and judgments. One day, I know it will happen.