Periodically I will write an open letter that is constructed to be shared with a relevant party. I do this for the loved ones of Bipolars and Depressives that don’t know what to say to the person struggling in their life. Here is one such piece.
Salutations. My name is Dennis, I’m 33, and I am a Type 2 Bipolar with Major Depression and High-Functioning Autism. I spent 15 years undiagnosed, have been in recovery for about 5, 7 suicide attempts, been through alcohol and drug abuse, lived in poverty, and have been kicked around by the system we all know and love. I spent a majority of my life feeling completely shitty about myself and life. And I’m sure you are undoubtedly asking yourself- “Why am I reading this asshole’s life story?” Well, someone that cares about you read this and felt it was relevant; so allow me to get to the point.
What do you call something that consistently destroys your life? That causes you to tear apart the things you care about? That destroys your livelihood and peace of mind? That jeopardizes your future and ability to conduct your life? Yes, I am talking about Bipolar Disorder and Depression but there is something else- an enemy. An enemy is someone that works to overcome and destroy you. An enemy is someone that wouldn’t piss on you to put you out if you were on fire. An enemy strives to deprive you of peace of mind, progress, and property. Some enemies can be rationalized with; irrational enemies must be fought.
Are you fighting the enemy in your mind or are you letting yourself be victimized by it? Are you fighting tooth and nail to stomp down your enemy and grind your boot in its throat? Or are you cowering in the corner hoping things will change on their own? They won’t. They will only get worse if you don’t fight for it to be better. And no- it’s probably not going to be pleasant. But when is fighting for something worthwhile ever pleasant?
And you can sit there and say- “This fucking asshole doesn’t know me or my life.” No, I don’t. I do, however, know Bipolar Disorder and Depression. I know that if you don’t stand, fight, and work against them that they will destroy you. This is one of the few facts that is applicable to any one of us. And I don’t want to hear any “Easier said than done” bullshit either. Everything is easier said than done! How about “It’s easier to do jack shit and fail than try and succeed”?
You deserve to be stable. You deserve to be happy. You deserve consistency and the ability to pursue what you want out of life. Yeah, you may have done terrible shit to people in the past because of what goes on in your head- we all have. But does that mean you have to pay for it for the rest of your life? No! Everyone fucks up and has a different flavor of problems. Ours fucking suck and cause a lot of collateral damage but it’s not like we had a choice to be saddled with this bullshit.
But you do have a choice in how you view it. You have the choice to treat it like the enemy it is and fight it; or cower in a corner and hope it will go away. But it won’t just go away. That’s not the nature of the enemy. Stand up and fight. You’re not alone in it. There are other people fighting the same battles or hopefully some people in your life that still want to help you. But even if there isn’t and you’ve alienated everyone? That’s today and the past. Tomorrow will be better because you’re going to pick yourself up out of the corner and fight. But to win any fight, you need a strategy. These following points will provide you a rough outline of what you need to do.
1. Educate yourself on the enemy. Learn everything you can about the enemy and keep track of the things that resonate with you. Mental illness is a personal experience so advice and information you read may not be as relevant to you as another. Figure out what is, collect information.
2. Get help from mental health professionals. If they won’t listen to you, ignore you, or won’t answer your questions; find another one! Don’t punish yourself because some doctors are shitty at their jobs! You don’t hurt them any.
3. If you’re broke and need to go on meds; ask the doctor to try generics first. Several big box retailers offer $4 per month prescriptions on antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and some antianxieties.
4. If a med isn’t working; talk to your doctor and tell them what’s going on. Be specific! Are you still manic? Are you still depressed? Having anxiety problems? Again, BE SPECIFIC. Do you know how you’ll know what’s wrong? Point 1 and what you’ve learned about the illness and how it affects YOU personally. Knowledge will give you power and leverage over your enemy.
Chances are decent that you’re reading this because someone feels that you act as though you’ve been defeated or let the enemy victimize you. But you’re not defeated or a victim if you do not let yourself be. It’s a war for control of your own mind. You’ll lose some battles. You’ll win some battles. If you keep pressing you will eventually win the war and be able to put your enemy in check. But you have to make the choice, stand up, say enough of this bullshit; and engage the enemy with the same ferocity it uses to attack you. If you don’t think you can do it- well, just look at what you’ve already survived up until this point. Don’t let yourself be a victim.
If you have questions- I’m only an email away.
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