“If you get the chance, take me out immediately! You have to!”
I awoke to these words, my words. In a dream of course. But I said them with such conviction. And I was talking to my husband of all people!
But why did they startle me so much? I mean, it was just a dream for goodness sake! And it was nothing compared to my sleep paralysis episodes.
The thing is, it’s common for our dreams to uncover things we’ve hidden away in our subconscious. Like for instance, the fact that I feel like a burden to my family.
Obviously, I’m not the only person with a severe mental illness who feels like a hinderance to others. This is one of the many reasons why people attempt & complete suicide.
Living with bipolar disorder, I feel like a ticking time bomb. When it went untreated, full-blown mania destroyed my family. We somehow made it back together, miraculously. But for years after, I couldn’t walk a straight line without looking over my shoulder. I had to see if that black cloud was still following me. I was always waiting for all hell to break loose again.
I had this innate feeling that suicide was my ultimate fate. And statistically I wasn’t too far off. Suicide is the leading cause of premature death among patients with bipolar disorder, according to the Treatment Advocacy Center.
I thought that black cloud evaporated. Clearly it has not.
Bipolar disorder affects me daily, thus it affects my family daily. In addition to struggling with the symptoms of bipolar disorder, I struggle with worries of being a burden. For example, sometimes my energy is unpredictable. What I say I’m going to do tomorrow might not get done. Even though I wholeheartedly intend on doing it. I worry, are my daughters going to resent me when they’re older? How is having a mother with bipolar disorder truly affecting them? And my husband, the most patient & generous man on this earth. Is he going to one day decide he deserves better?
So what am I to do with this lovely information that my subconscious has so generously offered up? Am I to just go through life as I used to? Looking over my shoulder wondering how much time I have left? Am I to accept that this is my existence?
Hell no! That’s what my illness wants me to do. I may not be able to just – POOF! – make this thought process disappear on my own. But I can take it to my therapist so we can tackle it head on. I’m not going to sit with it alone. And I’m definitely NOT going to accept this for myself. I deserve better. We ALL deserve better.
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