things are looking a little better

My friend is starting to sound a little better, and while I’m still worried, I think the worst is over for now. I am coping and haven’t let his black hole take me with him. A few years ago (ok, maybe a few months ago…) it would have been hard not to be negatively affected by his suffering, and while it did make me think hard about death, dying and if this disease is fatal, I’m ok.

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spoiler {suicide} not me!

If this is a trigger for you: don’t read on

My friend called 2 nights ago, completely suicidal. Another friend and I tried to manage the situation, but yesterday we called 911. They came and got him, but he talked his way out of the hospital. He seems a bit better today, but the scare is not over by a long shot.

I am fine. I know how to cope with this kind of thing. I seem to be the go-to person in this kind of crisis. The problem is he made such a good argument it almost made sense.

Is it possible that this kind of illness is just inevitably fatal in some cases? Is there any way that a mentally ill person can make a rational decision to end their suffering like a cancer patient or someone with end-stage AIDS? Or is the wish to die mutually exclusive with reason? Not sure. At all. In any case, he was definitely too sick to be making this kind of decision yesterday.

How many years must you suffer before you can rationally say it is too much? I’ve been doing this for at least 20 years, he has been struggling for 7. I guess I have always known that if I could no longer manage, death would be an option. I think anyone who has been severely depressed has thought that. There is always a back door.

I am really well these days, but I know in the back of my mind that the self injurous behaviour and suicidal ideation is not that far off. It is almost comforting in times of stress to know I have a way out, or a way to manage the anxiety. I wonder if this is permanent? As if having thought about it once seriously, you will never be completly free of it. Not sure I would want to be.

Some resources

Here are a few resources I have found on the web.

I have been a member of Pendulum, since 1994 www.pendulum.org/

Sister Leslie has brought the Bipolar Planet out of the backwaters of the Web. The site is at www.bipolarplanet.com. Writings, poetry, and artwork by Sister Leslie and her bipolar cohorts, and Leslie’s new blog, Into the Void: Back off man, I’m co-creating my reality.

And a good info page with some links from the Canadian Mental Health Association www.toronto.cmha.ca/ct_about_mi/bipolar_disorder.asp

Because humor is essential: http://bi-polar.com/

Managing mental illness and the rest of my life

I wanted to keep a record of dealing with Bipolar Disorder and a relatively high functioning life. I was diagnosed in ’91 and have since taken 2 degrees and held a couple of different full-time jobs. In the last 8 years I have taken a total of 2 1/2 years off to recover from major episodes, but I am now working part-time and taking my Master’s degree part-time.

It is easier for me to be totally ill and give up all together than to be a little bit ill and try to keep the rest of my life going. There are some resources for people who are not working, like meetings and classes. But they are all during the time when I work, so I can’t really take advantage of them. Sometimes I just want to let go of my life and wallow in being ill, divest myself of all my responsibilities.

I have a great therapist and a very good shrink, who don’t let me get away with much, and that has been instrumental in keeping my life together.

At the moment things are going very well, so we’ll see how I do with school and work over the next few months. The fall is always a tough season for me, but so far so good.