It’s been a while.
I’ve been trying to post again for the past week but I haven’t been able to bring myself to do so. Talking about my mental illness has always been a difficult thing for me to do. But after I do so, I feel satisfied and liberated. Therefore, here is the story of my roller coaster life and how I’ve gotten through it.
It was June of 2014, I was completing my college practicum in my home province, surrounded by family and friends. I was graduating in three short weeks (with honours might I add). I was finally gaining freedom and becoming an “adult”. But also, a very dear family member had passed 3 years ago that month. Having depression, I always focused on the negative instead of the positive. I spent most of my free time at the cemetery, wondering why it was her and not me. It was a mixture of missing her so badly my soul would ache, and being envious that she didn’t have to deal with this world that felt like a living hell at the time. One afternoon while visiting her grave as per usual, I prayed. Which was something I hadn’t done since I was a child going to church with my family, never missing a Sunday. I prayed that whoever was listening could send me the strength to pull through, or strength to my family to go about their lives without me, so they could realize how much better their lives actually were without me. My plan was made and I wasn’t going to chicken out this time.
Later that day, I was laying out in the sun when my phone made a familiar bing noise; Tinder. Great. Another boy looking to get lucky (but were all unsuccessful, FYI). When I picked up my phone that day, I had no idea my life was about to change forever. My prayers were answered. It started with casual small talk, then we dug a little deeper, and then finally after a few weeks of text messages and phone calls, we decided to meet up for the first time.
Fast forward to December of 2014. By then we had made multiple weekend trips to see each other, we had met each other’s families, and had officially been in a relationship for two months. On the fifth day of this month, he made the big move to be with me. He made me feel a sense of prosperity I had never felt before. I can honestly say that from the day we started talking as two people just looking for a friend, I never thought of suicide again. Until one night when something snapped. I should have known the awful monster, better known as mental illness, could not stay reticent forever. It was like a surge of mental illness all at once. I was depressed, anxious, violent, and I was so surprised my precious SO held my hand through the whole thing. I would lay on the ground, conscious, but in such a mental state that even I didn’t understand. Everything was a big blur and the only thing I felt was emptiness. Through this, sometimes for hours, my SO held me tightly so I would know I was not alone. He would rub my hair, kiss my forehead and reassure me that everything would be okay. This happened for about a month before he convinced me to get some help. If it wasn’t for him I never would have gone, but it was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. Months went by and things were so much better. My “episodes” diminished to none over time, and my relationship flourished to be the most strong and beautiful bond I had ever had.
Okay, fast forward again to April 2016. Everything in my life was going so well. My relationship was great, my family was healthy, I had a permanent job, and I was happy with my life. SO was the first to notice the change in my personality. I began getting angry and violent toward myself for no reason. One day I was madly in love and the next I felt nothing. I started hearing voices, not being able to focus, and as time went on without me noticing the problem, I began developing more and more symptoms of Bipolar Disorder. By the end of this nightmare, I was hitting my head so hard I’d have a migraine for days. But other days, I loved life and everyone in it, including myself! After many late night talks and lots of research on Bipolar Disorder, SO convinced me yet again to get help. It was even harder the second time to convince myself to call my doctor, I felt so ashamed. Yet I knew it was what I had to do to get my life back on track. When I finally saw my doctor, we discovered it was a side effect of my medication to treat the initial mental illness (ironic, isn’t it?).
It’s been 2 months since I stopped taking any kind of medication for depression or anxiety, and I have never felt better! Every day I’m grateful to have been blessed with the man who saved my life. I will spend every day trying to repay him for showing me that I can fight mental illness, and I won’t be alone while doing so. I will have more battles with mental illness in the future, I know. They will be hard, they will turn me into a monster again, but I will not be alone. And therefore, I will have strength to seek the help I need and admit when my illness is overpowering me.
To anyone fighting mental illness, YOU are not alone either. There will always be someone who can relate to what you’re feeling, and that have thought they were alone once before as well.