TRIGGER WARNING: Depressive bipolar episode and suicidal thoughts described.
The names in this story have been changed to protect the author’s anonymity.
I had a meltdown the other night. After apologising to the people that love me, one suggested I write a letter of forgiveness to myself – and try to stop saying sorry.
I always apologise for myself, my feelings, my actions and for simply existing, particularly when I’m in a bad place. But today I’m going to use this article to be kind to myself and let myself off for Friday’s episode.
So here goes.
I forgive you for falling apart. Who wouldn’t after what’s been going on for you lately? If I see myself as a friend and not actually the person I live with daily I wouldn’t be so cruel as to shout the words, pathetic, needy and disgusting at you.
I may be you but right now I’m going to be your friend.
We all fall apart. It gets too much. Life gets too much. And we need help. And you know how hard is it to reach out.
The few time recently I’ve got to breaking point and believed the world would be better without me I have actually asked for help. The other night I contacted an emergency service for the first time. That was near impossible to do. These services are out there to help but getting up the courage to ask, to expose yourself and be vulnerable is easier said than done.
It goes against your basic self-survival and self-preservation instincts, it makes you feel you are putting your problems on other people, you worry it might upset them that they’ll think you’re being dramatic. But it’s the right thing to do. It’s better than the alternative.
If I hadn’t reached out that night I might have ended it. And, although it feels like that would have been a huge relief to me, it would have destroyed others. Those that I care about. In that moment I thought they were better off without me but I know now that they wouldn’t be. They love me.
It’s been a tough ride for you recently. You can’t walk because of a busted ankle, you can’t drive because of the mistake made by a GP on your DVLA application form and you’ve been made redundant from a job you loved. On top of that, the reduction in your mood stabiliser medication means the bipolar is also coming out to play again and the texts from Jane reminded you of the self-deprecating feelings you experienced during periods of psychosis.
A good friend of ten years in one moment ripped you apart and sparked off the old feelings that you are evil deep down and don’t deserve to live. What a powerful text. No one has ever treated you the way Jane did the other day, there’s a reason for that. She called you psychopathic and you believed her. But she’s not right. She’s got you wrong. As proven when you reached out to the others. Your warriors who checked in and impressed on you that your behaviour has been outrageously misrepresented. She doesn’t deserve your thoughts. She knows you and she knows the effect such words would have on you. Don’t excuse her. Forgive her if you want to, if it helps, if it means you’ll let go. You must let go.
The energy levels are low but you’re trying every day to work on your business, search for freelance leads and look for jobs. You wake up early every day and fight to feel OK. Depression is exhausting and if you were anyone else I’d tell you to take it easy on yourself, rest, recuperate and show yourself compassion. But you are me which makes that difficult.
When you feel worthless it’s hard to be hopeful. When you’ve had a triggering event, or events, maintaining good mental health can be difficult, so be kind to yourself. A major depressive episode can knock all the stuffing out of you but harder than the tiredness is the embarrassment and shame I know you feel.
You did the right thing. You reached out in an emergency and you spoke to friends. You were honest with them. It must have worried them but they want to be there for you and they are proud of you. Famously a bottler upper, you’re finally being truthful about the intense feelings. You’re reaching out. And now you’re OK.
I’m proud of you.
It was hard to write this. To be objective and treat myself as I would another in need. To be forgiving, kind and compassionate. We all need to show ourselves care, and if life is going wrong we need to look after ourselves and our mental wellbeing first. Our health has to come before anything else and to anyone else who has broken down recently or had an episode, I want to encourage you to forgive yourself.
The saying rings true. It really is OK not to be OK.