You Think There's Only Darkness, Hopelessness: You Are Wrong
I get all manner of comments here and many of them scrape against my bones. Because I know these people. Because I know their brains. Because I am these people.
Sometimes people think because I write or advocate or win awards I am not them, but it is precisely because I am them that I can do these things. It is precisely because I feel their desperation that I can truly write about it. One does write what they know, after all.
On November 7th, I received this comment:
...these messages... show(s) how many people can interact with other people and lead a normal life for the most part... I’ve always either been alone or only had one friend. I have family, but I keep them at arm’s length. Even as I sit here and write this, there is no one near enough to me that if I shot myself it’d be noticed. It really makes me wonder how disturbed I’ve become after all this time… As a child, I was heavily medicated for a series of issues including manic depressive bipolar, and what was described to me as a “slight case of psychotia.” Then, at the start of my high school years, I quit my medication because… I felt wrong on what ever cocktail I tried. Now, I’m 23. I live locked away in a small room, away from the world. You keep saying there’s a light, but I’ve been here in this hole in excess for 4 years now with no light. Where’s mine?
Exx. The Forever Lost
Exx. The Forever Lost, This is For You
A Horrific History
I, too, don’t have a stellar history from a young age up until, well, now. But I didn’t start really getting treatment until 21. Granted, no one ever mentioned a slight case of “psychotia”, but one wonders how accurate that is in any case.
Since I was twelve, I have had off and on (mostly on) periods of:
- Suicidal ideation
- Suicidal gestures
- Mixed mood episodes
And since I was twelve I have had
- Group therapy
- 40 + medications
And probably stuff I have forgotten.
I’m not suggesting we’re the same, but I’m suggesting you’re not alone. Some of us get dealt very nasty, gritty, horrific hands.
No One Would Know if I Died
And just like you, I live alone, in a tiny room, and if I died right now it would take weeks for anyone to notice. (Although to be fair, I have a new therapist and she might do something if I didn’t show up for an appointment.)
Yes, really me, paragliding.
I know your life has felt interminably long. Mine too. But I’m 32. I made it here. I waded through the muck and made it here. And between 23 and 32, I:
- Did 150 skydives
- Became a licensed SCUBA diver
- Became a paraglider pilot
- Paraglided in Venezuela
- Fell in love (and had my heart broken)
- Did a bunch of things that aren’t appropriate for a family-friendly site
Life is long. Things happen. When you’re not paying attention. Change is.
I didn’t do these things because of magic or miracle; I did these things because during the short periods of normalcy I’ve experienced, I’ve grabbed life and swung it by the tail. I did these things because whether you know it today or not, there will be periods that will be better. Better than today.
There is Darkness for Me Too
And let me let you in on a little secret – I don’t believe it’s going to get any better for me either. I feel like it’s all over. I feel no hope at all. I sat in my therapist’s office yesterday talking about suicide.
But you see, I’m wrong. I’m wrong, I’m wrong, I’m wrong. I know that whether I can see it or not, there is a tiny light hidden away safe from even the gigantic insanity of me.
You Have the Light Too
So you see, you’re not alone. You’re just like me. You’re just like other people out there. You think there is nothing for you. You think there is only darkness. But you are wrong. Just like I am wrong.
It gets better.
Tracy, N. (2010, November 11). You Think There's Only Darkness, Hopelessness: You Are Wrong, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 17 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2010/11/you-think-theres-only-darkness-hopelessness-you-are-wrong
Author: Natasha Tracy
It's just so difficult. All I need is a little boost, and seeing others struggle as much as I do is really comforting. I'm so happy to know I'm not alone, and that these things do amount to something versus nothing.
I can say w 100% honesty I've been in the velvet underground of darkness..
It's true hell on earth.
Then the sun shines too bright,everything looks particularly colourful,I've energy I don't sleep lose weight though eat lots,doing ten things at once writing can't type fast enough
The world moves too damn slow.....
Well,it USED to be that intense,now it's way better...but it took med combos,
Patience ( which I've little) hard hard word DBT..therapy..
No,I'm not cured.
I'm sick,rapid cycling bipolar.
But I'm alive...I struggle...but know my triggers/ limitations so vital for RECOVERY.
Believe in yourself...it will happen for you as well.
Fight if you feel your treated unjustly or speak up if u feel your meds are wrong...
Nothing will change unless we each use our voice however small and fragile it
May seem at the moment.
Stay well... :-)
You're in a really tough spot, no doubt. Have you read this? It's about convincing a friend to get help, which is similar to dealing with a family member: http://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2010/09/how-do-i-convince-my-friend-to-get-help-for-bipolar-disorder/
In the end, what it comes down to, is what you, personally, can live with. Can you live with your son untreated? Can you deal with that? If you can't, what are you prepared to do about it?
There is only so much you can do to encourage a person to get help because in the end it's their decision and they may not make the one you want.
There is one thing I can guarantee anyone who is reading this....if one survives the day--doing the best they can, and is alive the next morning ...they can start all over again. Never too late!!!
I have been all over the place when it comes to the mood stuff. High as high can get--even into psychosis several times (don't remember lots of that time frame--probably don't wanna)....and so so low that I prayed to God just to let me die. So, yes while bipolar disorder can be crippling and sometimes life threatening--there is always HOPE for all of us who suffer from this never ending dis-order in our lives.
Yes, I worked for 20 years and now that I am disabled, I can guarantee one thing---I wouldn't be as compassionate if it had not been for all the 'experiences' along life's trailway....
I've had to resign the best nursing job I've ever had....went completely financially broke to the point where I didn't know how I was gonna keep my mortgage payments, food, medicine, etc....but somehow I managed!
My mother came out of retirement and went to work as a cook at a fast food place so she could help me keep my independence while waiting on SSA to decide if I was eligible for disability.
My friends and family kept me from losing my house, kept me in clothes, kept me from starving. Meanwhile, my job was to keep myself from committing suicide. NOT EASY!!!
Eventually after three years of being 'dependent' on people, I was awarded 100% disability. I had to grief for the loss of employment, etc....but eventually I came to the conclusion that I was the one that was either gonna have to "allow" the bipolar disorder RULE my life OR me gain control over things that I could have control over and put my life back together.
I chose the latter one.....and I am so much happier that I did. Not to say, that there are times I would love to go back there and let my illness take over. It takes me many times of 'revisiting' that to realize that I don't like it very very well.....so, I have to each episode 'climb out' and forgive myself and learn from it.....
It's a difficult road but well worth it. I value my independence (living in my own home), my ability to do things for myself....so I strive to live a low level of stress filled life.
Good luck....one has to make up their own mind to the degree they want to/can be better. YOU ARE NOT the illness. The illness is just a part of you!!!
Having gone on a wild & painful INSANITY trip 8 times, I am a
veteran at returning.
I am amazed at how much I've lost and gained in the 25 years since my diagnosis. My doctor assured me if I let my manic cycles take over me,
I would progress into an ugly old age. I will be 56 on december 1. It is the time of your life where you ask yourself, have I done anything I'm proud of. Or did I barely just survive.
Frankly, I barely survived. But I have kept an A+ journal for 25 years, so I would feel good about the little accomplishments amid the crap.
So help me God, when I go, it will be with fullness in my soul.
One last thing, the excessive elation I feel walking around my home, little pond, hawks, snakes, trees, starry nights is because of the great capacity to feel that this f*cking bipolar disorder has given me. Thank you very much. Or as we used to say in college, f*ck you very much.
I know the numbness. I call it "deadness" for that's what it felt like. Just deadness coursing through my body.
Despite not believing I could make it through, I did. It was a fight. A fight with myself, a fight with doctors, a fight with "the system". But it was a fight that was worth it.
Support (in the form of online support groups, in-person support groups, family, friends, crisis centres, doctors, therapists, anyone who might, on some level 'get it') ... is key.
I still think it's a miracle I didn't actually kill myself when I was in my 2 BP crises (2 separate times). But I believe that that one faint thread of hope inside of me is what kept me hanging on and reaching out. We all have that thread. And I know you have it. It's gotten you through today.
Keep reaching out - to people online who understand, to your therapist, and, hopefully, to a crisis centre and/or a doctor who can work with you to find a way to feel better. It exists. I promise.
I love that line:
“bipolar left untreated is a progressive illness and you need to be compliant”.
we would all do well to remember that.
Thanks for your comment. A different way of saying things might just be the thing that makes sense.
Thank-you for the compliments, they are always welcomed. I love it when it feels like I can hear the writer speak.
I do quite a bit of writing, I have a personal blog and I'm looking for representation for some other writing I've done as well. If you're interested, follow my Twitter or Facebook.
Well now, I'm _in_ that picture, I didn't take it :) (I'm under the yellow paraglider.) But actually, it's not that hard. You are actually in a seated position under the paraglider so you can take pictures. I wouldn't recommend doing that type of stuff when you're manic, that tends to make you less safe.
I want you to be my friend. That was beautifully put, very dear.I agree with you this is a shitty illness there is no way getting past that. Everyones experience with bipolar disorder is different yet it is obvious we can all relate to feelings of hopelessness.
This is what I know. I am 46, I have bipolar disorder 1 with psychotic features. I have PSTD. I am a rape survivor. Today in particular if I am to be honest feel completely fucked, it is as bad as it gets for me or at least very close.
Yet I am going to drag my sorry ass out of the house. I have a plan. I am going to go walk on the beach. I am making myself do it. I would feel just as shitty staying at home I may as well get some exercise at a beautiful place instead.
I actually saw a psychiatrist yesterday(friday) a replacement because my longterm doctor died recently. She said to me and I quote, "bipolar left untreated is a progressive illness and you need to be compliant".
She was correct. It you do not get help when you are cognicent of the fact you need help you could get it forced on you (not fun trust me).
The preceding posts were all very passionate, very cool.
re:Exx it could get worse, it will definately get better, try to hold on. People on this planet do give a shit, even strangers do. I do. I am sure if I showed my children and wife your post they would feel the same way.
We all have hope for you even if you do not.
Its not my place to tell you what you need or what you should do. when I am at my worst anyone's opinions are typically met with a ma laid of razor blade reply s.
my parents refused to treat me as a child and I endured abuse on many levels by relatives,boyfriends and people in general. I found myself in dangerous situations,and after years of denile finally got myself some help.
I watched my mother deteriorate from this same disease,and for the first 30 years of my life I lived in a denile so thick even bullets could not penetrate . I mean I was normal, I was nothing like her right? sleeping twice a week is what everyone does....among other things going on that I hardly see the point in sharing.
once I moved past the denile, I then had to accept I was a 34 year old monster, who verbally lashed out at her boyfriend,kids,neighbors,relatives and then at other times would retreat into herself staring off into space (so I am told)
after multiple botched suicide attempts, several medications later and an extremely traumatized family I decided to get help(not for me) but for them. Please understand for me death is a lover I could but don't court on any given day who eludes me and teases but never quite puts out. The highs are like a drug and the lows are like a pit I can sink so deep into I think i might dissapear. and at times I want to fade but whether out of love for my family or out of robotic nauseam I animate myself like gasoline runs a car.
All this time I was thinking of my grief , my anger...what about them? their anger their pain. I could retreat and push them all away. Or i could fight and try to become healthy (just to spite myself). Wow what a selfish little sh*t I was, it was all me me me!
I often look myself in the eye in the mirror, and quite frankly tell myself to just f*ck off! I get awful thoughts that creep up on me like poison, that threaten to poison my relationships and any speck of joy I do or could have. so I flip myself off, scream at myself and often call myself a lying B*tch. of course I am talking specifically about my mind. the screwed up part that distorts everything and makes me fight so hard to keep it all together.
so I fight this illness like an enemy.And I know I might eventually fail. I mean how can you possibly fight yourself? I accept the fact I might not be able to keep this rebellion up forever and fall flat into that black thick hole again with no air to breath.
and when I cant' fight, when I can't scream when I have lost the ability to tell myself to just F*ck off....I put on my mp3 player and make the most disturbing oil pastel drawings you have ever seen. Pictures that look like they come from the mind of a monster reliving old haunts. Then I spray them with fixative and file them away for prosperity sake.
I have my problems, the health problems I deal with that I created in the past due to destructive behaviors like drinking,drugs and sex. behaviors that I enjoyed and loathed. behaviors that helped me escape myself and fall deeper into the insanity and poison that lingers at my minds door step on any given day. Except now I have to face them sober and I can't run. insanity threatening to take everything away like a thief in the night. so I deal with all the aches and pains that I only have myself to thank for.
and for that I also flip myself off.
I got so angry at being a angry. I got tired of being tired and I became fed up with the whole thing in general.
if this is the way it was gonna be I was not going to make it easy. I was going to fight myself tooth and nail for every moment of happiness and love I could possibly find. God d*mn it! Bipolar might kick my a*s but i'm gonna let it know I was there! and if I dared to lead myself to believe I did not deserve happiness that I did not deserve love that i should give into this overwhelming desire to fall into this mud pit, shut my eyes and dissapear. Then I was going to tell myself to F*ck off. and sometimes Exx I tell myself to F*ck off every day. Sometimes many times a day.
because even if It takes me a month to change one little thing or do one little thing I will do that one thing. and when my mind tells me to give up,well i am sure you can guess whats coming next( a string of profanities directed at myself via bathroom mirror)
i wish i could candy coat this for you, but i can't. Bipolar ( or any mental illness) is an ugly screwed up disease. But if there is help, what do you have to loose by taking it? but you got a lot to loose by not even trying!
I could bore you with all the gore from my life but I wont, I will simply say the "joker" from batman is saner than I am when I am off my meds. On my meds I can actually keep friends, prosper, go to college and spend a little less of my life in fear and anger(or at least uncontrollably anger)off my meds I am a clive barker nightmare in panties.
but only you can pick up a phone and make a phone call to whatever number it is that will help you in your area. You really have two choices with this disease and only two. and I am not going to be nice about it nor am I going to be sweet either.
fight and barely hang on but live
or give up,suffer loneliness,despair and rot.
you can make all the excuses you want but at the end of the day you know yourself.
i might be moody
and possibly delusional
(actually absolutely just too stubborn to believe it)
but i am only helpless if I choose to be.
even if the pain is excruciating get in that shower,put on clean cloths and clean up your place.
lay down,curl up in a little ball and let Bipolar win.
I hear so many posts about bipolar s who can't do this and can't do that.....you can do anything you put your mind too, you just might have to do it differently.
there's hope, if you want it.
and there's none if you want it.
Of course you don't have to walk anywhere. None of us does. In fact, I wrote a whole article about just that thing.
I was responding to the amount of pain you talked about. What you do is, yes, up to you.
Exx, The Forever Lost
I'm not sure you will believe this, but I've honestly felt just like you. Our conditions may differ but the hole you're in is the same hole I've been in.
Again, I hear you don't believe me, but you do deserve better.
I am listening. Others will too. I can't make you do anything, of course, but I hope you'll reach out. It's only after you reach out that someone can help.
And by the way, talking to me counts. You've taken a great first step. Now you need to take another one.
Exx, The Forever Lost
You never have to explain yourself to me, not to worry. Thank-you for sharing.
What you are saying is devastating. I have no doubt about that. That's why I wanted to respond. I wanted to respond because I _know_ it's devastating.
Please get help. You do not deserve this pain. There are people who _will_ help you. There are agencies that _will_ help you. I understand you have no income, but that doesn't mean there are no options.
In the US the suicide line is: 1-800-273-TALK Call them. They will listen to you. You are not alone.
There is a great mental health services locator for the US: http://store.samhsa.gov/mhlocator
Contact any of those agencies and ask where to go from there.
I promise you, there is treatment available. It may not be easy to get, and you might need help, but that's what these people are for.
Your fate isn't sealed. It just isn't. I hear how desperate you are. I understand that desperation. But there are still options. Get your grandparents to help you find help. If you can't do that, then just phone the hotline. People care about your life. People want to help you. You're not going to hurt anyone over the phone.
No one deserves what you are living through. There are people who will help you change it. One tiny millimeter at a time things can change. You are in an extraordinarily difficult place but there are people who talk to people like you all the time.
I'm not trying to ra-ra cheerlead here. I'm just, well, kind of begging you to take a step, any step, to get help. You deserve better than the life you have.
I hope something in there helps you, even just a tiny bit. I will be thinking of you.
I have made an illness to help me cope with my real illnesses. For a long time I wanted to be free and live a normal life. Now, all I want is death. Not a day goes by that I don't scare the hell out of myself, and what I've become. I know that alone, locked in this hole I'll never get better. But I also know if I go out into public and someone decides to pick a fight with me for whatever reason, that fragile straw will snap like a twig under the weight of the world, and I'll lose myself to it again. Perhaps if I had just been bipolar I would have had some hope. And as a heavily medicated child, perhaps there was some hope there, but I just can't be that person and live with myself. But, we can not cling to the past for hope. Now, everyday is a struggle, and while you keep saying it's gonna start going up, all I can see is it getting worse and worse and worse as my illnesses (left untreated now due to lack of ANY source of income) snowball down, getting larger and larger, faster and faster. All I can hope for now is that when the end of my rational logical mind comes, I can retain enough sense to kill myself first before I harm other people as well. No one should have to suffer because of me. I hope this elaborates a bit more on my original post.
Exx, The Forever Lost