Sunday, September 28, 2014

Diary of a Bi Polar Woman DBPW 128 - Can you hear me? I have a Mental Illness!

Well Hi There people.  It’s been a while since we last spoke.  July it appears.  There’s good reason for that, really there is.  I checked myself into a wonderful place called The Homewood Health Center five days after my last posting, on July 18th, 2014.  Homewood (“The Home” we patients like to call it) is a mental health facility (a hospital) specializing in many fields including, but not limited to, addiction, eating disorders, and general mental health and wellness.  I had been on the waiting list for many months, long before all that happened, happened. 

If you follow me at all then you know I was diagnosed with Bi Polar II disorder.  A disease which causes manic (high) episodes where you feel elated, like all things are good in the world, you are untouchable, you can do anything.  Your impulse control is non-existent.  In Bi Polar II these highs are typically shorter lived than in Bi Polar I.  The depressive episodes are usually, typically, much more evident and longer lasting.  Bi Polar I can also have hallucinations, of which, I have none.  You may have heard the term “manic”.  Typically, in the USA, this means Bi Polar in some fashion or another. 

While I was in “The Home”, Robin Williams died.  He died of depression.  His death was caused by his disease.  His suicidal actions were caused by his mental disease.  Many say he was likely Bi Polar, suffering from highs and lows which were evident when he performed.  He would become very high and manic during those periods, in that environment.  When dealing with “normal” day to day life, he fell into depression.  We will never know entirely what happened as we do not live in his mind, but I can say this, he died because of mental illness.  No one takes their own life because of a whim or a bad day.  I know this because I found myself there this year and it was the worst day of my life.  It was also the day that called for all my strength.  All my strength to say, “Yes, I can actually do this, I can take my own life because of this pain”.  It is not easy to take that kind of action.  It takes a great deal of strength to say, “This is it”.  If you don’t believe me, consider it, think about it.  Think about not seeing the one you love, the dog who greets you at the door, your best friend, all your friends, ever again. 
 *sigh* Just this picture makes me smile.

The ONLY reason I bring this up, and mention the lovable Williams again is because of the volume of people I met inside The Home who attempted to take their life because of their illnesses.  Whether it was addiction or mental illness, it was more common than not in there to hear how they barely made it.  It was amazing to me that almost every person in there, seeking help, looking for a solution to their pain, at one point or another tried to end it themselves after years of trying to figure out how, in any other form, to stop hurting.  I thought myself alone and suddenly found myself surrounded by people who got “it”.  When we heard about Williams, we all found ourselves looking at each other with sadness, many “oh god no” but little real surprise.  So how did we let someone that famous, that loved, go?  Because we do not sit down and talk about this, about mental illness and how so many of us suffer.  We are ashamed and embarrassed.  We feel less than the apparent “normal” person beside us. 

I am here to say again (and often), that I suffer from mental illness.  I will continue to talk about this, to be open about this.  People need to get their heads out of their a**es about mental illness.  The stigma of mental illness will only go away if people are strong enough to stand up and talk about it.  And while I don’t title myself “strong” under most circumstances, I am strong enough to talk about this.  I love to talk about myself on a bad day so this shit isn’t really that much of a stretch for me.  I will not be ashamed of my past and how I might have behaved because of illness.  Perhaps someone else, someone without illness might have behaved differently.  Be that as it may, I behaved my way.  I have regrets, but I am not a regret.  I have made mistakes, I am not a mistake.  I am Nicolle and I suffer from mental illness, I am not the disease I suffer from.  Are you cancer?  Are you diabetes?  I am not mental illness.  It’s pretty ironic I say that considering this blog diary is titled “Diary of a Bi Polar Woman”.  Maybe a change in title is required?  I don’t think so.  I am beautiful.  Smart.  Funny.  A gorgeous, hilarious, genius really….who has Bi Polar.  The title needed shortening, that’s an awful big mouthful.
Damn straight I chose a picture I thought was flattering, I have Bi Polar, I am not stupid.

Trust me after 8 weeks “on the inside”, there’s more to come.  Stay tuned.  In the meantime, if you suffer from mental illness, talk about it.  Talk to me if you want, I am not going anywhere.  Not today anyways, and today is really all that matters in the grand scheme of things isn’t it?