I have spent a good deal of my adulthood waiting to die, wanting to die or planning my death. It is hard to explain to a healthy person with normal brain chemistry. I have a disease, and it is ostracized by the general public, much like shaming a child for contracting measles.
I am lumped in with schizophrenics, and other, much more severe psychotic disorders. It is true that bipolar disorder is a spectrum illness, and there are individuals that hallucinate, experience violent mood swings and lose touch with reality. I am somewhere in the middle, very grounded to this life, but still suicidal, still very miserable.
The thing to know about bipolars is that we have a rather short shelf-life. We tend to fight the disease for as long as we can stand it, until one day all is lost, and it becomes too much. Van Gogh, Cobain, Williams, and countless other brilliant minds simply could not outrun the heavy absence of serotonin, any longer.
I admit that I have purposely straddled a line when publishing this blog in the past. Just skimming the surface of my mental illness, still timid of public reaction, scared of being deserted by neighbors and recent acquaintances.
This is not paranoia, I have been honest with close friends in the past, and watched as they retreated, themselves not capable of empathy. Most are unable to acknowledge their own pain and frailty and my openness must instill sheer terror. Why would one show their personal weakness? Well, in an attempt at bonding and self-revelation, it might help explain one's own perspective with life's struggles.
The truth is mental illness is everywhere, common in every class of human society. It is not just homeless bums or delinquent youth, or even catatonic elderly in state asylums. It is also rich housewives, proud individuals, alcoholics, community leaders, and even first responders. It may not be that happiness is elusive, it might be that misery is more pervasive. With a little openess, you will pause and reflect on your loved ones who are struggling. Stand with us, so that science will find us. The only way for truth to be seen, is to bring it out in the light.