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When You're Struggling With Bipolar Disorder and Lose a Loved One


When you get the call at 2:15 a.m. that your mother has died, there’s nothing to do other than lose all the air in the room and sit for hours staring at the walls with coffee in your hand crying on and off.

If you’re already hypomanic, you’re probably vulnerable. You eat less than you already have been. You sleep even less. Your mind races with thoughts of your mother that you’ll never see or speak to again. The things you’ll never do with her again spin round and round.

You finally arrive with your family after a long plane ride. You haven’t slept or eaten barely anything in days, you look like hell, and you can’t believe the reality of walking into your parents’ apartment without getting a hug from your mother.

You hear the story of what happened and you see the spot where she died on the couch. That night, you park yourself there with a prayer shawl and your headphones praying she is at peace. You sleep two hours fitfully and throw up when you try to eat because you’re so upset. Your mind swirls and begs to be made busy so you can feel some relief.

There’s an outpouring of support and help from friends and family. Tears flow freely on the phone the day of the visit to the cemetery to see the plot. It’s beautiful and devastating all in one.

Devastation is a good word for it. You feel like you’re holding yourself together while the world is falling down around you. Nothing is OK. Yet everything moves on — including you.

She’s at peace. She didn’t suffer. But she’s gone and I’m devastated.

As for me, I’m tired, sick and lost. I’ll keep taking my medicine, keep busy and keep working on my self-care. It’s what my mom would want and it’s the right thing to do.

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Unsplash image via Fabio Neo Amato