The Promise I Made My Roommate in a Dark Moment With Bipolar Disorder


It was a dark, drizzly night when I found myself sitting on the floor, leaning against my dresser, fighting the demons inside my head. I was in the depths of an episode of bipolar depression, and tears were streaming down my face. I sniffled uncontrollably, trying to fight back the tears. But they just kept coming.

My roommate knew my day had been particularly rough, and she was quick to offer whatever kind of consolation she could. She sat down next to me on the floor, held my hand, and told me I would get through this. I tried so hard to believe her. I wanted to believe her. But I was so tired. The battle just to get out of bed and get through that day had sapped me of all of my physical and mental energy.

“This is just getting so hard to keep doing,” I said, the exhaustion in my voice audible even to me.

She suddenly squeezed my hands as tightly as she could. I looked up and saw tears welling up in her eyes. I had only ever seen her cry once before, so I was extremely caught off guard. I wondered if something was wrong, or if I had done something to hurt her in some way.

“Are you OK?” I asked, my voice trembling in my own emotional pain.

She squeezed my hands even tighter. “Promise me something,” she said, her eyes glistening.

I nodded my head weakly. “OK.”

“Promise me,” she said, her voice shaking, “that you’ll be here tomorrow.”

Promise me that you’ll be here tomorrow.

At first, I didn’t grasp what she meant. But after several minutes, I understood. She knew the magnitude of the pain I had been feeling. She knew I might be battling suicidal thoughts. She knew I was getting tired of constantly fighting my bipolar disorder. She knew every day was a battle, a battle she had to witness constantly.

She knew.

And she cared.

“Promise me,” she said again, firmly. I had been so busy turning her words over in my head that I hadn’t said anything.

I took a deep breath and held onto her as tightly as I could. “I promise.”

And I felt, in my heart, a renewed will to fight, to keep going. I felt something move inside of me. I was overcome by emotion, by an immense outpouring of love. Sure, she was my best friend, but I never knew just how much she loved me. I never knew just how much she was on my side.

At my words, we both broke down. We held each other, for God knows how long, promising each other we were going to be OK. That we weren’t going to let one another go. That we would fight this together because nobody should ever have to be alone in their struggle. We held each other, and we cried. And we kept repeating the words that changed everything for me.

“Promise me.”

“I promise.”

Battling mental illness is not easy, but having an ally, having someone who cares, makes the fight that much more worth it. For all of you out there who think you have to do this alone, I am here to tell you that you don’t. I am here. I am fighting with you and for you because I care for all of you so deeply. And I know you all are out there fighting with me and for me. So let’s not do this alone. We can do this together. We can fight this thing together, one day at a time. 

So just promise me one thing. Just one, simple thing.

Promise me that you’ll be here tomorrow.

Because I promise you that I will be.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Thinkstock photo by oneinchpunch

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