I was diagnosed with severe depression and bipolar disorder many years ago, and it has been something that I have had to cope with ever since. I have been on countless medications, I have seen many psychiatrists and psychologists, and I have been hospitalized. No matter what was done I always felt miserable. There is an unsettling feeling when you are about to go into a “low.” I feel as though my symptoms are pretty textbook. I could get ten hours of sleep one night and wake up feeling like I didn’t get one hour of sleep, or I just wont sleep at all. My suicidal thoughts take over me, and I often think about if I am capable of actually following through with my plan. I eat more than anyone should possibly eat in a day, and those are just a couple of things that happen when I’m in my low stage.

I hate when people tell me that I need to just get over whatever is bothering me, or that I am not being strong, or that people have it worse than I do. A lot of times, when I am in a low, there really isn’t anything that is bothering me, it is just an overwhelming feeling of sadness that takes over me. Every feeling of happiness is gone and there isn’t a light in plain sight. Hope is nonexistent, and I think that is because I lack the energy in every aspect to hope for the best when I feel like everything that happens happens to chip away even more at my soul. When it comes to being strong, I don’t think I lack strength when I am in my lows. I actually feel like in those weeks or months I am at my strongest. When I am feeling suicidal, there are moments where I think about how glorious it would be to not feel this crippling pain any more. All I would have to do is follow through with my plan and it would all be over. In those moments where I am having those thoughts, where I am basically talking myself into doing something so drastic, that’s where I have to turn to myself and say “Brookana, that is not going to happen today. Give yourself time. This feeling is only temporary.” The strength it takes to get yourself through that, to stop yourself, to realize that maybe that is not the path that you want to take takes a lot out of you. And even though it takes a lot out of you, you are also building yourself up because you are saving yourself. Who needs someone else to be your hero when you can be your own hero? I know that people have harder lives than I do, but with that being said, that doesn’t mean that my pain becomes invalid. Unfortunately, this is chemical. This is involuntary. I highly doubt that anyone would want to experience this dismay, and if they did, well, I would feel awfully sorry that they would want to do that to themselves.

The thing that I have had to learn throughout the years is that my depression and my bipolar disorder does not make me selfish. It does not make me any less of a human being. It does not make me weak. It makes me realize that I just have to work a little bit harder to try to achieve a life that I am satisfied with. I don’t know if it is possible for anyone to ever feel constant bliss, but I would like to be as close to that as possible. There are going to be trying times in life, times where you feel like you are repeatedly getting kicked in the stomach, and every time you feel like you can breath again you get thrown down and kicked again, but that is when you have a choice to make. You can let whatever the issue is become dominant in your life, and you can just settle for what is instead of thinking about what could be. OR you can learn from it and prevail, and try to do whatever it takes to turn that situation around and better yourself. Everything that you are today is from a choice that you made in the past, so instead of always focusing on what is happening in the moment, think about the future and how it will be affected by whatever you decide now.

I am alive today because I choose to be. I am alive today because I have more to live for. I am alive today because of the effort that I put into my well-being. I am so proud of myself when I overcome my lows, and if you have gone through any, you should be proud of yourself too.

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