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I Won't Let Bipolar Disorder Claim My Life

I’ve tried to kill myself more times than I can count ‚Äď more¬†times than I care to remember. And with each attempt, a part of me did die.

In one instance,¬†I almost did die. I¬†was hooked to a heart monitor for ages, and through the drug-induced fog, I¬†could see the fear in the doctor’s eyes as he drew arterial blood, his movements urgent, frustration creasing his brow, telling me my blood pH was¬†dropping dangerously. I remember the nurse seemed¬†disgusted with me. She¬†treated me with shame. Until she realized no visitors were coming to see me.¬†That no one was coming to collect me. Then she knew. That was a long time ago.

I still remember the bars on the small window in the psychiatric hospital I was relegated to. I remember the polished steel screwed to the wall of the bathroom. No glass. Glass breaks.

I’ve tried to kill myself more times than I can count ‚Äď and in¬†no way, shape or form, did I ever want to die. I’ve never wanted to die. I’ve¬†only ever wanted to be cured. To be rid of this illness, this¬†hijacking of my brain, this disease called bipolar disorder. Some days I just¬†couldn’t take it anymore. It was like stepping into a fire, over and over and
over.

After the last hospitalization, I remember how destroyed I¬†felt. How I felt like a part of me was stripped away. And I remember, through¬†my tears, confessing to my husband that I was terrified I’d die long before¬†him. That I’d leave him a widower for decades. I closed my eyes and saw him¬†wandering through the hallways of our home, photographs of our wedding day long¬†ago coated in dust. I saw him alone.

And the real fear set in, far more terrifying than that¬†heart monitor, more terrifying than the doctor’s urgency. More terrifying than¬†the bars on my window or the girl in the next room screaming in the middle of¬†the night. More agonizing than the constant cycle of emotions. More painful¬†than my own pain. Seeing him alone.

I saw him at my funeral. I saw how broken he’d be. How hard¬†it would be for him to move on. How at night, alone in our bed, he’d cry for¬†me, the wife he left behind in the graveyard.

I still live with that fear. But it is that fear of seeing the smile gone from his face that keeps me fighting. Because I know he fights with me. All my loved ones fight with me because life without me would be too unbearable, too difficult, too lonely for them. I know what I mean to the people who love me.

So, whenever I feel like it’s all too much, it’s all too¬†painful, when my energy is sapped from me, I tell them how I feel. I tell my¬†husband I’m not doing well. I tell my best friend I need to reach out. And I¬†let them love me. It doesn’t always make me happy again, but it brings me back¬†from the brink.

I know I won’t back down. I know I won’t let this illness¬†claim my life. I know I will keep fighting. And I know I have to keep fighting¬†for them.

Because I’m a fighter.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.
If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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