mother with mental illness

Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance

Those are the 5 stages of grief and the same five stages I went through to get to the place where I can say: I have bi-polar disorder.

This is what I know.

I have to be writing. Where that will take me, I’ve never known.

I started writing what I thought might be a book, but it’s been more of a confessional diary. My main goal? Write until I don’t want to kill myself anymore.

I’ve felt a lot of shame about a lot of things. Abandoning my business even though it took the one thing I had left (my words). Having a mental illness. Psychotic episodes. How “success” became an obsession. How every rejection letter or “no” made me sink further into self-hatred. The suicidal thoughts.

The shame I felt on top of it all only magnified an already unbearable disease. Because everything that worked before and I thought I knew was destroyed by my illness. My entire world I’d worked so hard to “heal” fell the fuck apart.

I was frozen in fear.
And in complete denial.

This couldn’t be happening. I had to be strong. I had to be a role model. Be perfect. Keep my shit together. Practice what I preach.

I felt flawed.

I told myself I was done with “all this.” I had recovered. I didn’t have “it” anymore. But it never left. “It” was always there. And it wasn’t the normal sadness or excitement. It was bi-polar disorder. It wasn’t just being organized or articulate. It was reading a message at least 20 times before sending it. Fuck. I couldn’t deny it any longer.

No amount of positive thinking can “fix” a mind with mental illness. Believing it could brought me excruciating and unnecessary pain.

I became part of the problem. I bought into the stigma. I believed what I’d heard about people with depression.

That I wasn’t trying hard enough.
I needed to work out (which I did).
I needed to get outside (did that too).
Meditate (check).
Eat right (done).

But none of it worked.

Why? Because mental illness is a real fucking thing. It’s not a character flaw or a temporary emotion. It’s a disease. And yes it is in my head because it is my head. My messy brilliant beautiful chaotic fucked up head. And I’m not ashamed of it anymore.

self-harm mental health
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A Former Cutter’s Rant

The following is a poetic retelling of my experience with cutting, panic disorder, drugs and rejection. It is my intention to give those with similar experiences a voice. To say, you’re not alone. You’re okay. This won’t last forever. You’ve got this. You’re doing just fine.

It bothered me that you didn’t ask.
I hated how you pretended you didn’t notice.
I heard what you said about me behind my back.
But I didn’t say a word.
I believed every word you said.
I didn’t look up.
I stared at the ground.
You said I was scary,
But I was just scared.
You said I was crazy,
But I wasn’t even there.
I was nowhere to be found.
I didn’t exist.
That’s why I have these scars on my wrists.
You didn’t ask,
But now I’m going to tell you.
When you can’t handle your life,
Your options are few.
When you can’t handle your life,
No one can handle you.
It’s not that I wanted to be this way.
I hate the words “are you okay?”
So riddled with expectation.
I had to say yes.
I had to pretend.
Did I pass the test?
Is this a test?
Hello, can you hear?
No my dear, you’re all alone here.
I’m just a notebook.
Remember me?
Snap out of it Carrie.
Hear my plea, hear my plea.
“Stop it.”
“What’s wrong?”
“Here we go again.”
The worst things to hear
When no one hears you.
“Hey, we’ve given up on you.”
A lost cause.
A statistic.
A textbook example.
Of a girl who’s lost her mind.
What’s the diagnosis?
Bipolar’s just fine.
Oh labels, let’s dance.
I’ll give you a chance.
Friends are my fears.
Bad habits and jokes.
Friends are manic.
And dope.
Good day.
Let’s play.
Take a dip.
Take a spin.
Now I’m spun.
Wow, she’s even crazier than before.
She’s talking to herself.
She’s hard to ignore.
Well, not that hard.
Let’s just close the door.
Let’s leave her there.
What a bore.
She’s exhausting.
And she hardly says a word.
She’s stuck in her notebook.
In her own little world.
My world is the only world that is safe.
But do you think I don’t hear every word you say?
I can recite it back to you if that’s what you’d like.
I can tell you
Whatever you’d like.
I’m here to please you.
It’s what I do best.
Are you impressed?
I doubt it.
I can’t breathe.
This pressure is too much.
When, oh God when will I be enough?
I said I can’t breathe.
Can I please disappear?
Crazy crazy crazy crazy.
Fear fear fear.
The thoughts just get louder.
And louder.
And then.
I grab something
To make the pain end.
I have to feel something
Other than this.
I have to feel something.
Is this all there is?
Oh razor blade, you’ll have to do.
Alright arms and legs,
I’m going to cut you.
Relief starts to spread
As the blade touches my skin.
I have to go deeper. 
I have to win.
I didn’t want to die.
At least not all the time.
I didn’t want to die.
I just wanted to fly.
Far far away.
And never come back.
I’m back to my senses.
This blood is bright red.
I notice.
I see.
I am not in my head.
My thoughts are now focused
On this puddle of blood.
The torture has ceased.
I can hear myself breathe.