What goes up….must inevitably come crashing down! Imagine soaring high above the clouds armed with boundless energy and feeling invincible. Imagine sleep being an afterthought, your mind racing and taking risks, behaving erratically and believing you can do anything. Then, imagine falling hard and crashing into an abyss of darkness–a deep, dark hole with no hope of escaping. Sure, there’s a rope ladder in the hole to help you climb out, but what if you lack the energy to even grab the rope, much less climb up the rungs to escape? Even when you muster enough energy to climb a couple of rungs, you slip again and fall harder and deeper into darkness. Imagine every subsequent flight spiraling you deeper and deeper into that dark pit of loneliness and isolation where you feel and believe all hope is gone. A level of darkness where your energy has ebbed to the point of you desperately wishing you no longer existed.
This clearly defines the last three plus decades or so of my life. My deep and dark crashes have far outnumbered my euphoric and lofty flights of fancy. My moods continue to swing fitfully and rapidly on an emotional pendulum. It’s difficult to adequately characterize and describe the shifting moods and emotions. Blissfully happy one moment and profoundly sad the next. Even throughout the years of continued, intense psychotherapy and prescribed medication, it’s sometimes a struggle to even get out of bed. Not to mention the constant paranoia of thinking everyone knows your condition, and the incredible amount of energy it takes to conceal it by wearing an “all is well, I’m happy” mask. It’s a nightly struggle to fall and stay asleep. At times, it’s difficult to focus and hold onto a single thought before a blur of other ones race through, flooding my mind. Thoughts sometimes become more difficult to sort and process.
My story is about waking up every morning, fighting for my life, and reconfirming my worth and purpose while remaining authentic and true to myself. May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Living with Mental Illness is a continuous struggle for millions of people daily. It’s taken this long for me to rise above the negative stigma that comes along with it. I find that honestly checking in and staying present with myself works well for me. If you feel you’re in need of help, please don’t hesitate to get some. Be kind to everyone, because you never know someone’s struggle. Every story might help another’s journey.