Another day under the sea

There was a time in my life where a glass of wine and a chat with a friend could cure most of what ailed my younger self. It’s funny what a diagnosis can do. Not only are those days gone but they have been replaced, instead, by a bottle of wine, an argument with a friend who is only trying to help, and a handful of lorazepam. And even that is not enough. I cannot cure the pain I feel when I walk into my empty apartment. Empty because I have overstayed my welcome with my friends nerves, empty because I have overburdened my friends with my relentless despair, empty because I’ve made them scared of me.

I suppose I have become somewhat frightening. Tall, thin because I can’t eat, tattooed in ink and blood, and desperately unhappy. I’ve grown into a shade of my former self. I try to disguise the cuts and people usually have the decency not to ask. Sometimes I want them to ask. Of course I have my stories made up: I fell, I tripped over a cord, I scratched myself moving. The ones under my clothes are harder to explain. How does one explain five short, fat slices along one’s hip; obviously the work of a razor. I learned long ago to try to hide my cuts so they wouldn’t be visible even in a bikini. Naked, of course, there is only the dark to hide under. And that has not always been enough. I’ve had lovers notice, and ask “what happened here?” I usually do not respond.

But lately, in my loneliness, despair, and hopelessness I’ve grown careless. I want people to ask. And sometimes I want to tell the truth, just to see the change in their expression, trying to hide their disgust, shock, and maybe even fear.

In the midst of my unhappiness, courtesy of a particularly tough bout of bipolar depression, I’ve begun shedding friends like leaves. I lost five over the weekend and just yesterday two more fell from the tree. I imagine that even the friends I have are exasperated with me. I imagine that they can scarcely stand my company, that escape fills their minds, that they’d rather be in the light. Of course not all of this is true. It’s my illness, once again in my ear. The truth is that the friends I have left, the ones that have stood by me and watched my transformation, are good people. Better than me, but my illness poisons their good graces, convincing me that I’m a burden they are simply waiting to release.

I’ve had to accept the departure of friends who I thought would never leave my side. I’ve accepted it but I refuse to understand. To understand would be to give up on my cause, to fundamentally admit that I am not worth saving. And as long as I can hold on to that hope– that I truly am worth saving– then I believe I have a chance.

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53 responses to “Another day under the sea

  • rami ungar the writer

    Every human being is worth saving. And I’m assuming you’re a human being, so you’re definitely worth saving (I have no concept of alien anatomy if it turns out you’re not human). I know things are tough right now, but with every day you survive, you are having a small victory that some people are not lucky enough to have. And with every passing day, there’s the oppurtunity to make the most of your lfie and to be a happy person. Trust me, I used to have really bad depression, but nowadays I’m known as the cheery guy with the many eccentricities.
    I’m hoping and praying for you and I wish you the best of luck in the future.

  • The Lily and The Marrow

    I wish I could meet with you face to face. My husband and I have worked with so many teenagers who have battled difficult diagnosis, and I also have a close family member who was once diagnosed bipolar. I cannot personally claim to no what you are going through, but I could try to reassure you that you are not alone. Unfortunately, I do not think that mental illnesses alone cause friends to fall away. I would, however, encourage you with this: do not give up. Do not assume that no one is worth your trust or love. There truly are good people in the world who would not leave you. You must keep trying to find them for though they may be few and far between, they are precious and worth the risks.

    I would encourage you also to remember this: a diagnosis does not define you. Do not let it. Fight for what you want and do not give up. Give God a desperate prayer and keep fighting. No matter what a doctor tells you, you still have your will and you do not have to let what they say define you for the rest of your life. I wish you the best and pray you will find the strength to keep pressing on.
    Blessings.
    -Jen
    http://thelilyandthemarrow.wordpress.com/

  • afireworkinprogress

    Of course you are worth saving. I have fought my own battles and inner demons of depression and cutting and anxiety so I have some semblance of an understanding of how you feel. I know it can be painful, and exhausting, but having the hope and believing you will get through it will be integral to your success. I know because I have come so far, and had almost given up, and am so so so thankful I held onto a shred of hope when that’s all that was left. What a beautifully real glimpse into the human condition. Well done.

  • mygodmoments

    Keep your hope. It’s the grace that will see you through the roughest moments.

  • Blue Nightingale

    Been there. And I know words don’t help, but please hang in there. It gets better. Sometimes it gets worse first, but it does get better. Hang in there if only for knowing that you have a story to tell and people will want to hear it.

  • Gabriel

    I’m not bipolar but I have my own bag of crazy. I just lost a friend recently that I never thought I would lose, ever really. Probably because of the way I deal with things, but that is besides the point. What I’m trying to say is you’re not alone and I’m sure you have a lot of other people for this, but if you ever need someone to bounce things off of, or just complain to someone that might understand what you are going though feel free to drop me a line. I’m really easy to get ahold of.

    • gmercier4388

      Thanks! Any kind if support means a lot to me right now 🙂

      • Gabriel

        I know that feeling. I was at bottom not all that long ago, still not quite sure I’ve gotten anywhere with it yet but I figure the more the merrier, strength in numbers, something like that.

      • lopezzilinda

        I was once you. We hurt ourselves to release the pain, it’s better to self inflict, then inflict others. You want to show people your “battle” wounds because you most likely need to hear the words “I care.” I sat in my apartment, alone in the dark for almost three years. The shades drawn. I’d sit catatonic in front of the television. It was all I could do to get up and take a weekly shower. On each shoulder was the angel of good, and the devil of evil. Both talking inside my head, attempting to direct me. “Linda get your ass off the sofa, take a shower, put makeup on and take yourself to the movies.” I usually gave in to the other voice, “why bother.” I’d flop over onto the couch sideways and fall asleep instead. I ordered Jetz pizza because it could be delivered and would last for days. I finally decided I couldn’t take the pain any longer. I told my father and mother, who had divorced many years ago, what my intensions were. I wanted them to understand my pain, and now that they are elderly…they did. It was my oldest sister, one who had abandoned me most in my time of need that came to my rescue. She found a Psychiatrist who diagnosed me as bi-polar. I take the medication Lamotrigine, which is considered a mood stabilizer, but is also used for seizure’s?? Hey whatever works…I feel better! I still get anxiety, but instead of taking the Lorazapam, I take Clonazepam as needed. Walking outside has been really helpful. Before I go out I tell myself…”Today I’m going to meet at least one person!” Always seems to work so far. We don’t become friends, but chat if only for a minute. Even if it’s a homeless person, everyone has a little story to tell. I’ve been looking for a job for some time now. I tire of asking for help when needed. I try not to project myself into the future, because that really brings on the anxiety. Anyway…I didn’t mean to write a saga… I just wanted to shed some light on possibilities that could make you feel better. And isn’t that all we want, is to feel normal again? I once read somewhere, that if we took our pain, and sat silent for a few moments, then thanked ourselves for allowing the pain to bring attention to the toxic relationships or bad experiences we’ve had in life. We would be able to get through things easier. So yes, I tried to be thankful for my pain. It is a way for the body to release whatever it is that we can’t seem to get beyond. Did it help? Maybe the first few times, but for now, the medication is the best answer…for me anyway. I will think of you daily and send happy…healing thoughts! I know…that may sound crazy….but I’m not afraid to say crazy things anymore if I think it can help. Be well…

      • gmercier4388

        Thanks for the kind wishes and for sharing your story! It doesn’t sound crazy at all 🙂

  • mysticwonderland

    I can remember feeling like this, like the positive part of me was looking on helpless as the evil depressive part pushed everyone away. As said above, your diagnosis does not have to define you – your true friends love you for you, your illness cannot take that away. It isn’t too late to reach out to those who you think you’ve lost – it can be hard for someone who hasn’t been through it to understand that you really do want them there.

    Stay strong and don’t give up – you are just as important and ‘worth saving’ as anyone else.

  • Jean

    I request that you think of your uniqueness: I have a sister who died by suicide. She left a husband and 2 adult children.

    But if my comment as a stranger is of no value, that’s ok.

    Keep on blogging. It’s a window to yourself. It is for me: it’s like my photo album of the very best I have experienced and seen so far.

    Make that yours here on this blog: the very best of yourself.

  • cabrogal

    I’ve also found the loss of friends and acquaintances to be the hardest part of dealing with bipolar.

    When you blow up your own life every few years there’s very few people who’ll stick by you, but when you find one that does you learn the difference between ‘friend’ and ‘acquaintance’.
    It matters.

    Finding the confidence that I could rebuild my social networks when the worst of the depression passes is something that eventually came with experience and made a big difference.

    But it still f***ing hurts when I fall back into the pit and so many ‘friends’ just fade away. Especially when I’ve given them good reason to.

    About the only real advice I can offer is that its *your* bipolar. You’re the one who has to integrate it into your life and you’re the one whose gonna have to live with it. Listen to advice, but don’t let other people take it over.

    http://neurodrooling.wordpress.com/2013/04/11/a-looney-for-my-guru/
    http://theicarusproject.net/

  • Bnbentley

    I hope you really try and keep that hope. You sound like a someone who has done it tough for a very long time. you are the kind of person I would love to know. Reading your blog has answered one of the many questions I forever ask myself and that is am I alone in my feelings and you just let me know that there are other people out there that feel not the same as me but like me and for that I thank you.

    Not only do you explain yourself so well but you write it in such a way that has brought tears to my eyes. Everyone should be saved (even you and me!)

    Please keep writing!

  • chris ludke

    I hope you feel better real soon. Don’t forget, that you will feel better. And your friends in the blogosphere care even if we don’t know you personally. Meanwhile as an old girl who has been plenty depressed but never went to a Dr. for it because I don’t trust them, let me tell you what helped me get past the worst. I had an x boyfriend who got MS. He wanted me to live with him but I thought he needed a nurse. I was angry at God for how my friend suffered, and one day I told my friend I’d try to help him. So I found ways to make myself useful to him . I gave him my hands. It made me feel good. He said “This is a side I never saw in you before.” I asked what he meant. he said I was freakin bubbly. Then he died, and that messed me up again. But I think trying to help someone who is worse off than you are might work to improve your life. You can ease someone else’s pain. however slightly, and you will feel better than you felt in years.

    • lopezzilinda

      Yes, I agree. This worked for my younger sister. She goes to her church once a month as they house homeless men. She found importance in helping those with less to be very rewarding. Sometimes, it’s knowing that others are appreciative of our simple gestures. It makes us feel good to help others, and be recognized for it. Thank you Chris for sharing your story. Sometimes we forget the simple joys in life and need to be reminded. I hope you feel better knowing you helped someone make the transition between life and death a nice one. What a great legacy to leave!

  • segmation

    Life is too short not to give people’s a second chance. Thanks for sharing this blog and your thoughts.

  • rosie1901

    I’ve been there sister. I know how you feel. One day that red wine and friendship will be enough to pull you through 🙂

  • derb523622013

    keep writing and expressing your pain in words. you are worth saving. you are not your diagnosis. {{{HUGS}}}

  • serikitty

    This was beautiful and inspiring to me. You are worth saving. You mean to much to this world. Don’t ever forget that. I love you.
    I sincerely pray that you get better soon, even if in your mind you don’t want to.
    I know that sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I just want to go under and stay there. It gives a sense of comfort, somehow.
    I hope you can see the light from under your wave.
    xx

  • Making an Entrance

    When I began thinking about what kind of response I wanted to leave a lot of the thoughts began with things like “don’t lose hope” or “everyone is on this earth for a reason” and other profound or not-so-profound things, but none of those things captured what I wanted to say. Honestly, life is hard. It’s damn hard. But, it is also beautiful. I can tell by just your post that you are a beautiful person. You were able to write your feelings and give them life. That takes bravery. So, I know you are also brave. I feel I will be thinking about you for an unforeseen amount of time just from reading this. So, even if you feel like there is no one there, there is a stranger miles away who you do not know who is praying and hoping to God that you are OK. I know you will be. You are brave.

    • bhodge35

      I wonder how a comment can make a difference to someone that is feeling so hopeless. So many people feel much like gmercier as she described her feelings above. It gets tiring to keep hearing the typical “you’ll be ok” when really we all know things will not be ok, they will just be different, not always good, not always bad, just a different kind of “normal”. Your response is real and was probably one of the posts that made a little difference in a dark day.

  • Childwoman

    YOU ARE AND WILL ALWAYS BE WORTH SAVING.

  • littlefrolics

    I have friend who is bipolar. The first few weeks, my friends avoided her to give her space. After that, we reunited with her in a surprise. Now, she is currently continuing her college..

  • yanniesaurus

    Everyone, no matter what their situation, is worth saving. As weird as this is, if you ever need to talk, feel free to contact me. I know how you feel.

  • Ryan

    I can connect and relate to your entry. I used to feel the same way, but now I am older and assumed to be wiser. You believe life can get better and push for life to improve, then life will get better and improve. Please keep writing.

  • Jessica

    Your honesty is gripping. You know you’re worth saving. You have hope. And that’s something. You’re less alone than you know. Most people just aren’t as brave as you.

  • exploring art in the city

    Keep writing. From the sounds of it you still believe in yourself and that’s the key to it all. Stay strong and good luck. You write beautifully and with a delicate but powerful tone 🙂

  • moodsnmoments

    you are brave. not many of us have the ability to know or even identify ourselves and here you have done it. the fact that you have wonderful friends is because you are a wonderful person yourself. you have given hope to many people and shown them the path of courage – you are worth a lot. keep shining, keep sharing. look forward to more. congratulations!

  • Sally

    I can’t imagine what you are feeling. My best friend has bi-polar and it has broken my heart to watch her pain and suffering. She was lucky, she made it through although just. Just know that you are never alone (we are here if no one else is). Thanks for being brave enough to share your story. I sincerely hope your journey brings you the peace and healing you are looking for.

  • taijitumartini

    I’m truly touched by the outpouring of support on your blog, and from one more random soul out there listening to your words, keep writing and keep strong. You are an integral part of this Universe, and regardless of the struggles you tackle, you will always be an important part of that connection.

  • shawnwheelerbooks

    Keep writing and stay strong. You have a voice and it must be heard! There are so many people, teenagers, grown-ups, etc. that aren’t strong enough to tell of their travels. And, you are traveling…on a road where others have gone, and yet, each story is unique. We all feel pain. It’s a difficult thing to deal with no matter what type of pain: loss of a loved one, loss of purpose, loss of one’s self… Just the fact that you are writing and blogging means that you are a survivor.

    And, I have lost friends, too. Sometimes it’s because I shared too much, or I said too much and offended them, or they moved away. The things is: some of those friends will make their way back to you in time. I know that I’ve PUSHED a couple of friends away for whatever reason. This might have been your case, maybe not. But, the one person that I wanted to come back and be my friend and say, “Knock it off. I’m here and I’m not going away again, so don’t try to push me away again”, actually………..Did. It took time but it did happen. So, don’t be sad or blame yourself. Friends argue, friends push and pull, and real friends (maybe one in a million) sometimes come back no matter how hard you push.

    I LOVE, love your blog and will look forward to more of your writing. If you ever want a sounding-board, contact me. I want to share a quote with you and it’s one of favorites… Take it with a grain of salt but it has worked for me at several times in my life – even now as my 17-year-old prepares to leave for college in the fall.

    “Don’t be dismayed at goodbyes. Goodbyes are necessary to be able to meet again. And, meeting again after moments or lifetimes is certain for those who are friends.” – From the book “Illusions” by Richard Bach.

    Keep writing!!

    Yours truly,
    Shawn

  • annbrewer

    The people who leave us behind are the weaker friends. I have learned this being a PTSD, Depressed, Bipolar (runs in my family) childhood abuse survivor, suicidal, recovered alcoholic. I learned through the years after finally accepting that I have mental illness, that those people who I loved and cared for deeply who left me cold and alone were doing me the favor of leaving not after using me to help and support them. People realized my state of being and used it against me before I realized it myself, and when I began to realize what was going on they dropped like fly’s on a bug zapper.
    I have but a handful of people in my life who have stuck around for more than a year and who have been there through my darkest nights. I have been in similar situations about wanting people to ask, but it was more of hiding the blood and cuts, and bruises my father left on me when he was angry. I enjoy your honesty and your strength in sharing your truest thoughts. Its a inspiration to me truly.

  • akimikahc

    Those who leave you despite your long friendships don’t necessarily leave you for their own sake. Sometimes, they just happen to leave to give you time and space to reflect regarding your situation, and to deal more effectively around unfamiliar faces and places to challenge you because you have the strength. Trust me, you have the strength. I may be younger than you and might not have experienced what you have, but I have felt tremendous pain over things I shouldn’t have dealt with at this such a young age. I admire you for being so honest in your blog. Knowing that you are facing life which is a battlefield in itself, and you are still coping, you are serving to be an inspiration to me, a 17 year old.You are worth saving. I am worth saving. By grace we are still here, that must mean something. I do agree that it all comes down to what we believe, and we linger around the hopes that it brings. I have faith in you and I hope you continue to progress in life.
    I hope I can say this to you personally, because it’s people like you that make me believe that there are still those who survive despite the burdens of living with a war in their minds.

  • Zachtacular1

    I am sorry you feel that way. It must be a battle to face that everyday. I have had several friends who were bipolar and I know it was quite the battle for them to face everyday. Never forget your worth and remember how important you are. We all make mistakes and are not perfect. I will keep you in my prayers. Beautiful and powerful post. Hang in there 🙂

    http://lifeismuyfantastico.wordpress.com/

  • thepressurevalve59

    I felt something from your post. Your humanity. A reaching out, which is in all of us. But what heartens me, and I hope it will you, is the sheer number of people that would reach out to someone they don’t know to offer comfort. I cannot fathom you, but as with the others, we can try to offer words of solace, as that is all we can do. Whatever you feel, you are us, as we are you. Love is always there.

  • elainalee

    I think a lot of people, even those who don’t have the illnesses that you describe, also go through similar phases. Please know that you have amazing friends that have stuck with you through your hardships. Even now, it is hard for me to say that I have friends who would stick through thick and thin with me, and I’m just your average “john doe”(even though I am a girl). Keep those who love you close to your heart! Love those who didn’t stay as you would have wanted them love you!
    Don’t ever ever EVER lose your hope ♡ you still have a long life ahead of you
    Goodluck and stay strong!

  • Maz Jez

    Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. You will always be worth saving, keep telling yourself that.

    Maz x

    thoughtbible.wordpress.com

  • artsygenius

    Sometimes people drop off for reasons that have nothing to do with you. I don’t have your issues, yet I can’t find a single friend to save my life sometimes. It doesn’t help that I’ve moved around a lot. But fortunately, we can always get new friends. And each new relationship is like a blank canvas where we can write anything we want. Another thing to remember is that there is usually someone worse off than you and if you can get out of yourself long enough to help them, you might feel like you have purpose, which is a powerful force that can change your life.

  • cjkperley

    Anyone who can write with the beauty that you do is an special soul. You’re here to learn something big, to touch someone the way that you have touched me, to make some difference in this world. And you already have.

  • gillgk

    Hi there. I have been diagnosed as bipolar too and am currently on Epilim to regulate my highs. I was in a depressed state once. Remember, when you are down, there is no way to climb but up.

    They call it bipolar. I call it a spiritual awakening.

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  • lsurrett2

    My longest friend from childhood has battled mental illness for over two decades. The diagnoses has changed with the years–partly due to new developments with her and partly due to the changes in mental health. Once she was schizophrenic, then paranoid schiz, then manic schiz. The treatments have changed over the years, along with her attitude towards herself, the drs, the meds, etc. There have been times we’ve kept in contact and years where she didn’t want to see anyone. She’s poured herself into writing, painting, photography…and it’s been a good funnel for her.

    Try to rest in the fact that while you feel your flaws are painfully obvious to you, we all have them–with or without mental illness. We all have scars–visible and invisible. We all feel lonely and burdensome at times.

    Blessings to you and your battle, for you ARE a warrior.

  • mummylovestowrite

    I have Bipolar as well (Type 2). I resisted my diagnosis at first, but have now embraced it, as it helps me understand why I have been suffering for so long. It isn’t my fault. And it isn’t yours.

    I am on medication that is helping now (low dose of Lamotrigine/Lithium) and I am on my way to a ‘normal’ life. Still a ways to go, but I have hope that this new normal will equal a worthy life for me.

    Thank you for sharing your story and I wish you health & happiness x

  • queenlorene

    Twenty-five years of bipolar and fibromyalgia has taught me a lot about life. I think more than most people, as we are pendulums that FEEL more than most people. We are more creative because we experience the whole gamut of emotions. My very best advice (and you may not want it) is to find some kind of humor every day. The best comedians in the world are bipolar. And embrace your creativity. Here is a poem you may appreciate:

    “Life on the (Bi) Polar Express”

    I belong to an elite club, the Bipolar Express.

    Engine, sad like Eeyore, caboose fast and loose.

    I puff forward and backward, East or West.

    Barreling, barely on track, or crashing and failed.

    Life is either an uphill battle or a downward slant.

    On the fast track or derailed,

    “ I think I can, I think I cant”

    Quiet depression, manic rave and rant

    Am I the hangman or the noose?

    I try to juggle the teeter-totter stress.

    Life is dull and dark or rapid delight;

    internally my emotions often a mess.

    A shade in a world of black and white

    or a shining orb floating in sparkling light.

    Unbalanced, I feel MORE or LESS.

    Each day is a mystery I must confess;

    A black cloud or rainbow delight is anyone’s guess.

    My emotional temperature, my rapid cycling unrest

    does not make me feel God-blessed.

    But there is a rainbow in my cloud of duress;

    Being bipolar is an artistic caress.

    Humor, poetry and music, brightly dressed;

    These creative expressions allow emotion some rest.
    Lori Pinkley

  • chesterr400

    Reblogged this on Page;Up and commented:
    I have the same feeling. Just a different story.

  • genevieveyam

    You are worth saving. Keep your head up, you will make it through! It might be a long, hard swim, but you will eventually reach the surface.

  • kwasetiv

    We all have our baggages but find the strength to carry in the most unlikely places…some look to believe in a higher being for protection others write to let it all out so as to remain sane…trust me for still being here you are doing something right.Be ok & ild be thinking about you.x.

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