So I have this habit of reading EVERYTHING I get my hands on. It’s been that way for as long as I can remember. I read cereal boxes, instructions (even IKEA instructions), more Facebook posts and articles attached to them than most, basically any words that present themselves in front of my blue eyes. Today I finished reading a book that I started yesterday, All the Bright Places, and it hit me straight in the feels.
In this book, we’re introduced to two suicidal young people, Finch and Violet, and taken on a journey, both real and metaphorical with them. While I wont spoil the book, it made me cry…it made me cry an ugly cry…because of the struggle of the clearly bipolar protagonist, though he was an antihero to an extent, Theodore Finch. Read the books, people; read the damn book.
Finch is textbook Bipolar I, and manic as f*ck for the majority of the book. I have never been that far on the spectrum. I’m wholly a Bipolar II, with hypomania at best, but far more depressive episodes. I get wrapped up in the gloom, I push away the people I welcomed into my hypomanic life and try my best to convince myself that my meds make me even-keel, make me better, and that I wouldn’t trade the highs for the suicidal lows that have plagued me before meds. But sometimes, I wonder…
I wonder if I was better unmedicated. When I was the weepy drunk who felt all the things from a simple song…whether a Bluesuede Groove cover of “She talks to Angels” or whatever new original Timmy and Don had put together to pull my heart into my eyeballs. When I wanted everyone to like me, but threw people under the bus, repeating all sorts of rumors and unsubstantiated tales for attention. When I was far too promiscuous and fell in love with sickening ease, because I loved the reassurance that came with every new boy. When I could do everything nearly flawlessly, except hold my life together when the hypo stage left it bursting at the seams.
Depression SUCKS. It sucks more than I can begin to explain to someone who has never sunk so low as to try to incorrectly slit their wrists (T, not the bullshit horizontal in the fold of the wrist right below the palm) or to down an unlucky 13 pills from a gifted bottle of excedrin migraine after a night of enough booze to down a 300lb man. I don’t know how to explain how it feels to be drifting away, listening to Tori Amos sing about the Northern Lad that may or may not have wronged me, thinking that if a friend’s suicide attempt that came from this boy attempting to “steal” his friend’s girl hurt him, a girl killing herself “over him” would be his undoing, but crawling out of bed to the bathroom to puke up blood and bits of her soul, because she couldn’t call her best friend and keep the pact to say “goodbye” before saying goodbye. I don’t know how to make that make sense. I don’t know how to justify going back to that boy years later and seeing him in a different light, using him, but falling again…only to once more have him slip through my fingers. I don’t know how to make sense of not getting to that point when my best friend and at that time love of my life was gun in hand and there himself. Instead I crawled into a closet and cried, true to Finch, sadly and stunningly true to Finch, determined to live long enough to see that love pull himself out of the black hole enough to stay alive.
I’ve wanted to die more times than I can count on two hands…and two feet. It ALWAYS sits at the rear of my brain, itching like a mosquito bite that won’t go away, that never heals. I don’t want to do it now… I haven’t even at the lowest lows…since my meds. They’re worth life, but are they worth feeling flat while living?
I read a lot. I troll The Mighty for things that make me feel less alone. I read every book on bipolar and depression that I can find. I reread a letter that pours out a wounded heart that only I could understand, that of one of my former students. I reread the comments on Facebook posts that buoy me up when I’m feeling dark. I read the posts on Matt’s page, on Ryan’s page, that prove people don’t forget you or the indelible mark you made one their lives, even if you take your own. I read and I write and I cry and I think.
“She said that there will always be a soft spot in my cardiac arrest. And I will love you until I die from all of this. And something tells me I will die alone.” The Gaslight Anthem – Helter Skeleton
I listen to a lot of music… Gaslight, The Script, Radiohead, sometimes Gaga if I want to remember the Appletini side of my Matt… I listen to Garth… I listen to the R+J soundtrack and remember poorly crafted poems, LJ & her Romeo, and Tarot card disasters. I listen to mix CDs and remember someone who shook his ass and unhooked your bra with wild drunken abandon or the man who couldn’t love me because I was a girl. I listen to my own mixes that remind me of the sociopath that didn’t take my life, but ruined it for far longer than he was “in” it.
I’m lucky now in a lot of ways.
http://youtu.be/jc_kQomZwmo Please excuse the bad Liz Taylor movie footage and listen to the song.
I have a man in my life who understands my crazy, and loves me anyway. I have a dog who prevents me from any more than toying with the idea of an early check-out…and I have another wee fuzzy one coming in to help. I have friends who let me be a stupid recluse, but don’t stop trying and love me anyway. I have a job that allows me to crusade for students that like me skirt the boundaries of normal.
But is losing the highs worth the even keel of a “healthy” and managed life with meds?
I may never know…