Today is May 31, the last day of Mental Health Awareness Month…
I live with mental illness every day. I’ve even managed to pass it on to one of my kids, so awareness is a 365 day a year thing around here. Normally, we find ways to laugh and live around it. But sometimes…the shadow grows into something monstrous enough to block out all traces of light.
Six months ago I ran away from home. And by home, I mean my online home. I gave my Facebook page to Hubby, deleted 90% of the blog thing, and stopped posting on any social media sites.
I wrapped myself in my mental glitch, using it to build a blanket fort and crawled inside to hide in its darkest depths. Truth? These last few months have been the closest to suicide I’ve ever come.
So very, very close.
Part of me was completely at peace with the idea. Because that’s how mental illness works sometimes.
Safe in my bleak cocoon, I cut myself off from all my friends, both online and in real life. I swallowed my despair and slapped on a pleasant smile, answering the eternal question of, “Are you OK?” with the cookie cutter answer, “I’m fine.”
So it went; day in, day out.
But bipolar and borderline are tricky beasts. Just when you think you’ll never smile from your soul again, the switch flips and suddenly, there’s the real possibility that life will go on. And you’ll want to be a part of it.
For those of you who are lucky enough to have never lived with demons, know that I refuse to label either living or dying as the easy choice because neither one is. I refuse to say someone took the coward’s way out because that threshold is still too fresh in my memory and I sure as fuck didn’t feel cowardly. I won’t play the, “Think about your family,” card because I WAS thinking about them.
I will ask that you not offer me sympathy or pity. I don’t want it. Most of us don’t. The currency we’d rather trade in is compassion and empathy. Listen without judgement. Sit with us in silence. Hold our hand to remind us life still has a pulse.
Simply put, just be there.
There is no end to this post…no moral to the story or high horse to be ridden into the sunset. There is only the knowledge that, deep within self-made blanket forts of mental illness, hidden away from the burning questions of, “Are you OK?” there are still people fighting the demons that whisper in their brains.
With all my heart, I hope that they find that faint glimmer of light that slips in around the edges and remember that their world can be other than it currently is. I pray that they too make the choice to search for the reasons and ways to stay.
Maybe it helps to know they’re not alone. Although…sometimes? It doesn’t.
The bottom line is, I hope you stay too.