I always knew there was something wrong with me. That I wasn’t quite normal and that I was tired of it. I had even speculated that I might have bipolar or maybe borderline personality disorder, but it always remained just a theory. One part, because my parents were trying to keep my record clean, two parts because I was scared. I don’t think I knew I was scared, but a part of me always knew that if I started looking for help, I wouldn’t walk out of the doctor’s office deemed sane. I’d joke about it and how trendy I was being. I’m somehow not finding it funny anymore.
Since being diagnosed and put on medication, I have experienced more emotions than ever before. It probably doesn’t help being diagnosed during a mixed episode, which had already spun entirely out of control damaging most, if not all aspects of my life. For the last couple of months, I have felt as if I was falling deeper and deeper into the kind of darkness, from which there is no way back. I became angry and aggressive. I took it out on my own skin and on the ones I love. I ruined friendships and damaged my relationship. I started doing badly at university, because I was tired and unmotivated and just so done with everything. I thought about ending it. I spent nights crying myself to sleep with bottles of prescription pills by my bed crying for help to the four walls around me. It is hard to explain how it feels to lose all control of yourself and your life and how it is to almost feel like this entity is making you into a monster you do not want to be or identify as yourself.
It took me months of calling for help before anyone would hear. I still remember that night at the park, when it all hit rock bottom. I screamed and yelled and threatened to lie to the police just so my boyfriend would leave me alone. I hit him, pushed him away and punched him to leave me alone. I told him I didn’t love him and tried to hit every weakness he had trusted me with. That night I knew that the only thing I wanted was to be left alone to go into oblivion. To end it all. But he didn’t leave. And that… that is the only reason I am here today. I threatened him, I cut myself because he wouldn’t leave and blamed it all on him. Just so he would leave. I don’t recognise the person I was that night. I refuse to accept that it was me that night.
That’s when I knew. I knew I couldn’t go on. I knew that I would end up either dead or in a hospital. I didn’t want either. So, I got help. I got diagnosed. Now what?
While I’m taking my time to get used to the medications, I’m feeling more at loss than ever. Even though I always knew what it was, I never had fully accepted it. And here I was – told that for the rest of my life I would be fighting for my sanity, when all I have been dreaming of and the only thought getting me through the dark times was the hope that it would stop one day and that I could just breathe and be at peace with myself and be happy. There I was being told that for the rest of my life I’d be labelled and misunderstood and tired. So incredibly tired. I couldn’t help but feel instantly doomed by what I had just learned. The help I had gone looking for felt more like the last wave finally taking me under.
What makes it all worse is the fact that so many things make sense to me now. The more I learn about this illness I am doomed with, the more I look back and realise that so many of the things – good and bad – that have happened to me in my life might not have been me. Just like that night at the park. The reckless things I had done made sense. The dangerous situations I had put myself in made sense. The times when I felt so over the moon about my life and goals and appearance – it all made sense. And so did the sudden crashes of deep, deep darkness that had me wishing I was dead since I was 11 years old. So I’m left with nothing else to think, but – who am I? How much of me is really me? And how much is just the effects or consequences of my illness? Did I get raped because I’m bipolar? Could I have avoided it, had I been treated? Was I ever in love that summer in Spain or was I in love with the mania? I can’t help but to feel lost in my own life story. Every memory. Every friendship. Every tear and laughter. I question everything. I realise I don’t know myself at all.
I am trying to play along and pretend I know what I’m doing now and that I can tell what’s going on in my head. But, the truth is, I am realising that I have been living with this for so long, I really don’t know where my illness ends and where my personality begins. But most of all I am scared. Because what also makes sense now is why people always leave me. Why friends find it hard to be my friends. For the first time now, I am feeling what I did that summer in Spain. Only this time it is not a delusion caused by my illness, it’s true and I know it. I’m scared though that it makes me feel deeper and could make me fall harder if it crashes again. I realise that much of our problems was me not recognising when I stop being myself. I realise why I love him so hard, but I also hurt so much at the smallest things. I know I am just getting started, but I am so incredibly afraid that this illness will take this away from me. The first thing, the first person and the first feelings I have ever had that I am sure are me, and not my illness. How do I not want to hold on to the first friendship and first relationship where I have truly felt like myself? It is hard to understand for those unaffected, but let me tell you – there is such comfort in the thought that you know something is real in your life. Because, truly everything else I am not so certain about.
But I’m getting there. One day at a time.