I am beautifully bipolar. I am. Some days are great – amazing, actually, and some days suck. Some days I am down so far in the hole no rope can reach me. And I know, I know, “everyone has bad days,” but if you live with bipolar disorder or depression or myriad mental illnesses a “down” day may feel like the end of the world. Life isn’t just crappy. You are suicidal.
The longer I live with these illnesses of the mind – bipolar 1, obsessive compulsive disorder, and anxiety disorder – the more regrets I accumulate.
Nearly 7 years ago I tried to kill myself. My little sister sat by my bedside on her birthday. Alone. How do you apologize for that? How do you fix that heartbreak? How do you make it okay that your parents flew into California on the first available flight from Oklahoma while you laid in ICU? How?
How do you erase the memory of your ex-boyfriend clutching your bleeding wrist in a kitchen towel because you cut too deeply and the blood won’t stop coming? Or how do you forget the time he had to drive you to the Emergency Room because you had overdosed on Xanax? He remembers and so do you.
I could sit here and type all my faults, and they are many. For me, shame seems to come with the bipolar territory as hard as I fight it. One of my favorite psychiatrists once said, “Elaina, you don’t have to apologize for having bipolar disorder.” These things I’ve done I have not done in my right mind. I have done them in my mentally ill mind.
It’s an illness and good or bad, decisions were made. Many of them tarnishing my shine. But I am mentally ill so I must accept myself, and more importantly, forgive myself. I can’t ask others to forgive me for the things I’ve done while “crazy,” but I can ask it of myself. When you have a mood disorder sometimes you can’t think clearly. You can’t see the sun or feel the promise in the breeze.
But eventually you will feel the sun’s warmth and your brain will right itself. It is then that you must forgive yourself for things done when you were “crazy.” We have enough to deal with without carrying around that disgusting friend guilt. Be kind to yourself.
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