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I haven’t written in a long time because I was afraid of being honest. I, like many people, hope that by ignoring something it will go away; hoping that by pushing my issue out of my mind will result in pushing the issue out of my reality. Two weeks ago I realized that one can never run from the truth.

I had stopped seeing my psychologist in April. Until two weeks ago, I had not seen my psychiatrist for four months. I felt fine, I was coping. I was tired of appointment after appointment after appointment. I was tired of being asked “how does that make you feel”. I kept hoping that one day I would wake up and the life I had lived would be just a terrible nightmare. I clung onto the lie of normalcy because that’s what everyone around me was: they were normal. And I? Well I was crazy. I who has to live with the reality that some people are scared of me. Me, who has to watch my mom and other I love look at me with pity and fear.

It had been four months before I worked my way back to my psychiatrists couch. Her nautical themed couch that’s both comfortable and firm; just like her. I see the worry in her eyes before I begin to talk. It’s as though she can see the baggage I have been dragging around for months. The baggage I hide from people because I wanted to be “normal”. She could see the dark rings around my eyes which came from days of crying when people weren’t around. As I began to speak, she wrote. I told her about the body pains, the increased appetite, the chronic fatigue, the anger boiling underneath the surface. I explained my feeling of isolation, my fear of having no friends and my constant thoughts of death. I tried to explain that I was not suicidal, just simply someone wishing to vanish from this world.

She looked at me and told me that I was getting worse and not better. I was slipping back into the abyss I spent two years crawling out of. I was at the beginning of experiencing the sever depression they so vividly describe when talking about Bipolar. She decided to double the dosage. And the. It hit me: my mental illness is truly an ILLNESS.

My bipolar was no longer an abstract thing I could write about. It was and is a reality that continues to hold my brain hostage. My bipolar is no longer an article or advocacy tool, it was and is something that continuously takes a toll on my body. The increase in dosage scared me because this time I failed to see it coming. I wasn’t prepared. I was caught off guard. For a moment it felt as if the illness had won. Again it had managed to stop me just when I thought I was winning. It derailed me. Knowing that it takes weeks for the dosage to take effect, it had me trapped. I was wounded.

I am wounded.

I’m scared for myself for the first time in a long time. Yes there is the genetic predisposition, but perhaps if my teen years were a bit different I wouldn’t be this broken. Yes broken, that’s exactly how I feel. Like part of my soul was ripped off and a permanent darkness has taken its place.

I now have to acknowledge the implications of my illness on my relationships, health and future. I now have to strengthen my defenses or lose to an opponent that wishes to claim my life.

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Ros Limbo
mulemwa.limbo@gmail.com

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