I have realised that no one can get me out of the pit except me.
I think when I had my first major breakdown 10 years ago, I thought that somehow there would be some kind of “magic” answer – like a cancer victim hopes for an operation to amputate the malignant tumour. I thought medication would fix it all, and that if finally people knew how much I was suffering that I would be given treatment and get better. I hadn’t realised that this was the start of an ongoing struggle that I would continue to face again and again.
Giving up the struggle to be well, while a blessed relief, was the initial step to the inexorable slide into the pit, and my ultimate attempt to cease struggling. This time the experience has been quite different. I had promised myself “I would never be in that place again” and here I was nearly there. Because of my terribly great fear of the dis-empowerment of “that place”, I largely bypassed the “feeling suicidal” and went straight to thinking about the event and planning it. There is control and order by doing that. However, with two little children now, the cost to give up is so much greater, even if giving up is just letting myself have a major breakdown.
I have always believed – when well- that suicide is a cowardly response. When unwell, I often feel that it is the braver option. Well or unwell I do acknowledge the awfulness for my children and the utter finality of the decision. This time too, there has been relief with moments of sunlight reaching- if not the floor of the pit – at least the walls. And instead of those moments making the depression worse, reminding me of what could be, of what my life should be, they have been and are a great source of comfort.
I also tried to think if anything would make me happier, and figured winning the lottery would probably do it. Now, last time I had a breakdown I was on a 6 figure salary, but I wasn’t happy so I do acknowledge that money is not the answer. However, thinking of what I would do if I had that money I came to a realization.
I actually don’t want to die.
Because I want to be well.
So I decided some things.
I asked God for help and told Satan to piss off. Now that could just totally be interpreted as personifications of my own inner strength and weaknesses – I don’t care what others think if it works. In the end, one needs to be well regardless of the cosmology used to get there.
And I tried to think of the fight in more physical terms – rather than always a cognitive battle for positivity. Anger and frustration are often best served using a a physical release so that one can then expend the energy and focus on the cause of the problem in the quiet that follows.
I realised that no one else is going to get me out of the pit, because no else can. Even RG as helpful as he’s been, can’t actually do the climbing for me. The medication enables me to climb but won’t do it for me. If I want to get out, only I can do it. Surprisingly instead of driving me immediately to the brink it gave me some hope and a determination to spite this thing.
Of course, perhaps I just woke up manic, and am now in a terribly, irritable, controling phase again. Oh the joys of bipolar madness.