To The People In My Life Before I Was Diagnosed
For as long as I can remember I’ve been the “dramatic” and “overly emotional” kid. When something would happen everyone would have to be certain not to upset the “drama queen”. I may be an adult now but those words still awaken anger in me. Anger not only because for so long I felt alone and trapped in my emotions but also because looking back now I see the way I treated the people of my past. For the past ten years I had no idea that my inability to find stable or appropriate emotions has hurt myself as well as others.
I am diagnosed with Bipolar 1 and Borderline Personality Disorder. These are new and still confusing words for me but I’m not ashamed when I say them. It actually felt nice to put a face with what I’m fighting. It’s a relief. Before I knew mental illness was real, before I found truth, before my “metamorphosis” as I like to call it - my existence was chaos. I had to watch this chaos each day screaming from the inside of my mind - my prison. And for this I feel like I have some explaining to do.
To my fiancé, I can’t believe you’ve stuck by me. Before we even knew what’s been happening to me and, in turn, to our relationship you’ve been my rock. You’ve seen and chosen to love all my personalities. You’ve held me tightly during a violent rage. You’ve gotten me out of bed when I’ve been depressed. You’ve kept me safe when I’m impulsive and manic. You got me to the hospital when I tried to kill myself again. You haven’t asked for anything in return. You haven’t judged me or condemned me. You’ve encouraged me to get help and you’ve been walking with grace through a world of hell. For a woman who has been terrified of herself for so long, to have found someone who completes me is a relief. I am stronger with you.
To my family, I do not hate you. I’m not mad that you didn’t have a handbook as to what was happening to me. I’m well aware you come from a time less connected and less understanding in relation to the talk about mental illnesses. I know you wish you could have helped me sooner. Guilt or regret will only take away from what I need from you which is the willingness to learn what these diseases mean to our lives now. I know it doesn’t seem right to apologize for something I couldn’t control and didn’t understand but I am sorry. I am sorry living with me was such hell at times. I am sorry that you never knew which daughter you would be living with. Whether it was the depressed one, violent one, promiscuous one, lying one, loving one, normal one or suicidal one. I want to say thank you. Thank you for always being there no matter who I had turned into. Thank you for helping me get off the drugs I was using to numb this demon in my mind. Thank you for saving my life.
To my previous friends, I know there’s not a lot of you. Holding onto friendships has always been extremely difficult for me. I would turn into my friends because I had zero sense of self. I was always an empty capsule waiting for the next group of people to help me figure out why I couldn’t feel like a person. I would care about you one day and you wouldn’t exist the next day. I didn’t know why. I knew I felt alone no matter who I was with. I knew I felt like all of my friendships were one big joke being played on me. That everyone was in on it. I was jealous of the lives I saw the people close to me live. Most of all I felt like I couldn’t relate to anyone, being alone was always the best option.
To the people I went to school with, I’m not upset that most of you were bullies because I was too. High school is not a proper place to judge someones character. But what I do hope is that if you have children one day it’s important to remind them that kindness has nothing to do with age. I know I dressed weird and was awkward. I know it was a typical teenager thing to make fun of me when you saw me eating my lunch in the bathroom stall. I get that. But every day in that school was horrible for me and it’s probably like that for so many other kids too. Walking through those halls after my suicide attempt and being laughed at was terrifying for a sixteen year old girl. I’m guilty of not practicing this too, but we need to remember we’re brothers and sisters.
To my past relationships, being in a long term relationship now and still learning how to deal with my episodes and my problems has taught me that I hurt you without even realizing it. I would love so quickly and so deeply and then wake up one day and not care about you. I know from the fear and confusion my fiancé goes through that I was a volatile person to be in a relationship with. Every day felt like I was a different person. I was impulsive and unfaithful. I hurt people because my mind convinced me that they would do it to me first. I broke trust and begged for it back and I continued a cycle that I never noticed. I manipulated other people because it was the only time I felt a sense of control. I am new, I am learning but I am so sorry.
I don’t dwell on the past anymore. The only thing I use it for is learning what to do and what not to do. I’ve come a long way from what I was ten years ago and I’m grateful but this is a lifelong struggle that I finally feel I have the upper hand on. The next ten years will be better. I will not only have my loved ones and doctors on my side but also, for once, I’ll be on my side.
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