Over the past several days my attention has been brought to TWLOHA - To Write Love on Her Arms. I'm still learning more about this. One; it's a movie, which I have yet to watch, about the struggles of one girl living with bipolar, which has turned into a new movement. It looks like an extremely emotional movie. Two, who brought this to my attention? Jared Padelecki. He is the actor who portrays Sam Winchester on Supernatural, yes, one of my top 5 favorite shows. He finally got himself onto Facebook due to the death of a friend. His friend committed suicide recently. He has created a new journey for himself. The death of his friend hurt him so deeply that he decided to step up and help others, with the profits from the sale of the line of shirts going to TWLOHA. He had a few contests this week as well; autographed shirt & phone conversation with him - for example, both of which any fan of Supernatural would LOVE!
Well, he posted a couple videos from himself to the fandom world on FB. The responses are amazing. There are thousands of responses for each video and post he's made this week. Aside from condolences there are personal stories people are openly sharing for the world to see. This is so wonderful to see. It's also heart-wrenching to read some of them.
That's where I am right now. My mind has become obsessed about all these people that suffer from depression, anxiety, self harm, self destruction and suicidal thoughts. I've been on both sides of this. I've been the one with the tendencies mentioned above, but also on the flip side - seeing someone in such inner agony that I just want to wrap my arms around them and make it all go away.
My perception of one side; the person going through the emotional pain. One cannot fully comprehend what it's like to feel this unless you've gone through it yourself.
Backtrack to sophomore year of high school. I was 15 and 16 during the school year. I know this is 30 years ago, but I remember parts of it so clearly. The inner pangs of a teenager was in full motion with me. This is when depression was just beginning to really be looked at as a chemical issue instead of being weak and situational. The inner pain I felt came out in my body language, in the things I said, what I wrote and in self harm. At my lowest points I just wanted to die.Whenever I talked about how I felt I would get similar responses; disbelief, being told it was dumb to feel that way, or I just scared the person off. I had a couple friends though, that took that extra step and did something about it. One contacted my parents and another contacted the school counselor. I was lucky and grateful that someone stepped up to help me. Yes, I got counseling and things improved for me. Thirty years later I still struggle with depression. I've been on several different antidepressants, but nothing really worked. I've seen counselors, learned more about myself and got diagnosed with bipolar 2 disorder with depression and anxiety.
Finally a diagnosis that fits. I'm currently on meds and deal with each day as it comes. I'm still on a roller coaster called Bipolar, but I've done research and learned more about my own patterns. I know what my mania symptoms are and can tell when I start to crash into a depression. I always pay attention to where my thoughts travel to and my mood. I know that even though I feel like I'm in the bottom of a pit that I will come out of it. It may take a week or so sitting in the pit, alone with my thoughts, but I know God will bring me out, every time.
I would love to know what it's like to live without bipolar, but I know that it's a gift that God gave me to carry so that maybe one day I can help someone else. Hence, my blog.
Now flip this over. My grandfather attempted suicide; he shot himself in the head. Like I said, attempted. He survived. his body did but he was no longer the super hero I always thought he was. He was unable to communicate, the amount of brain damage was catastrophic. A close friend of mine, a cousin and my best friend's nephew all lost their battles with depression. Their deaths affected so many people that makes me wish they knew how much they were loved by others.
Fast forward to today. Yes, I'm in a downward slope right now. I knew late last week that I was headed down. But I also know there will be better days.
If you're reading this blog and you are struggling with depression or self worth, know you are NOT alone. Try to step away from your thoughts for a moment. I know it's horribly difficult. Things can get better. Today is one day, tomorrow is new. Look at the short term if you can't look at the big picture. I never thought about when I would be 20 or 30, let alone making it to 46! That was too far away. Even today I just get through the day. Please don't think of yourself as weak because you are going through this. If you feel like inflicting self injury and choose not to, you have become even stronger. Each and every day you get through creates a stronger person inside. You can get through it all. No matter what your situation is, it's up to you to decide how to respond. Grow stronger each day, just by getting through it.
As Jared's shirt says "ALWAYS KEEP FIGHTING"