I am bipolar and suffer from social anxiety.
That is “my truth” and it is something I’ve rarely even admitted to myself, let alone anyone I know.
Well, I had a nervous breakdown; the last of a string of many since a Traumatic Brain Injury that debilitated me for a year-and-a-half at the end of 2016.
It was recently my daughter’s birthday -November 18th- and we had our families over to celebrate.
My anxiety was the worst it’s been since it first started in 2003.
My palms were sweaty. Knees weak. Arms were heavy…
Every ten to fifteen minutes I had to run downstairs and deep breathe in the bathroom to stop my eyes from shaking.
The room was spinning. I turned on the tap, hoping no one could hear me puking.
I knew I had to be by my daughter’s side, but as we sang Happy Birthday I felt like everyone was watching me and every bead of sweat pour down my forehead.
When it came time to cut the cake, I could barely hold the knife and everyone got a crumbled slice. As soon as the last piece was served I ran back downstairs and puked, again.
As soon as everyone left I collapsed. I couldn’t move. My body felt like I was encased in cement.
I felt like a failure, a worthless piece of shit father who couldn’t even keep it together long enough to celebrate my beautiful daughter’s birthday.
After two minutes of trying to lift myself off the basement floor it took another minute to walk up the stairs and stand in the doorway of our bedroom.
“I need help,” I mumbled to my wife. “I don’t want to die.”
The truth is, I’d been becoming increasingly more comfortable with the thought of suicide.
It’s been my “escape plan” since I learned it was an option in elementary school.
“Think of your daughter,” those who I’d admit it to would tell me, but the truth is I’d look at her and tell myself she’d be better off without a broken, bipolar basket-case in her life.
And, that scared me.
I promised my wife I’d go to the walk-in the next morning to get a note to see a psychiatrist, so that I could get on the proper medication after years of saying “no” to anti-depressants.
Why was I so stubborn for so many years?
Because when I was 23 I started taking the wrong anti-depressants (prescribed by my doctor) and quickly became hell-bent on suicide.
One night, not even a month after starting my medication, I swallowed all the sleeping pills that were left in the bottle.
Luckily, 30-some hours later, I awoke.
Unable to move, speak and barely able to open my eyes.
I was in bed for nearly two full-days and then I sat in the shower, fully clothed and cried.
So, back to my story…
The next day came and I couldn’t get out of bed. I was paralyzed. I could hardly pick up the phone and text my inquiring wife back with “I can’t move” to her text asking if I’ve went to the doctor.
She came home to bring me to the hospital.
A doctor came in and asked what was wrong and I said that I’m worried that if I don’t get help I was going to kill myself.
Next thing I know I was being admitted to the Abbotsford psych ward and asked to remove all my clothing and jewelry.
For the next 10 days I was a psych ward patient, stripped of my clothes, belongings and rights.
But, it saved my life.
Which brings me to the title of this post; I’m sorry.
After the medication began to stabilize my thoughts, I realized what this past decade has done to my life.
I’d been pushing friends and family out of my life because – like when I was 23 – I told myself that “once everyone has left you, it’s time to kill yourself and end this hurt.”
For years, I blamed my isolation on creative drive, avoiding alcohol, not enjoying small-talk.
I blamed friends, family and everyone but myself for my actions.
I’ve ruined friendships, relationships and rarely even spoke to my own family members.
I told myself it was because I was too busy with work, driven towards fulfilling my dream of becoming a published writer, or simply because I was an introvert.
It was all a lie.
I was depressed, bipolar and suffered debilitating social anxiety.
That’s why I didn’t return your calls, accept your invites to parties, pretended I didn’t see you when I walked passed you in the mall and deleted all my social media.
I was fulfilling a self-destructive prophecy to end my life.
And, I came close.
So, I am sorry to everyone I’ve hurt. Everyone I’ve left behind. Everyone I’ve bullied, judged or pushed away.
Bipolar isn’t an “excuse.”
I accept responsibility for my past actions and can understand if you can’t forgive me or accept what I’ve done.
But, just know that my biggest regret is losing touch with each and every one of you.
I love you all and I am sorry, so fucking sorry.
I hope that we can rekindle a piece of what was lost.
But, I understand if that’s not what you want and I’m accepting of your choice.
I love you all.
…Love Life or Die Trying is me unravelling the destruction my depression has caused in my life.
Not to dwell, but to learn.
And teach others that there is hope.
There is help.
And, you are worth it.