I have bipolar type 1, rapid cycling. Defining type 1 is simple – that means I am prone to mania rather than just hypomania. To elaborate, this means I may experience a complete break from reality in a mood swing. To define the second part, rapid cycling, I will quote the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance:
“With rapid cycling, mood swings can quickly go from low to high and back again, and occur over periods of a few days and sometimes even hours. The person feels like he or she is on a roller coaster, with mood and energy changes that are out-of control and disabling. In some individuals, rapid cycling is characterized by severe irritability, anger, impulsivity, and uncontrollable outbursts.”
This month, I have gone from depressed to hypomanic and back to depressed. I feel like my neck might snap at the rate my head is whipping back and forth. I’m exhausted, and I’m currently at the bottom of the proverbial depressive pit. This one has been, for the lack of a better word, hell. I have gone from hysterical to numb to sobbing to self-harming and back around the loop again. This mood swing is sucking the life out of me and I will admit that swimming in this ocean is exhausting.
Last night, somewhere between numb and sobbing, I sat on the floor of the shower and just cried until my entire body ached. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t function. I could feel the heat of the water, but my body was shivering. Knowing that I was caught in a mood swing, three friends came looking for me. They found me like that – broken, naked, shaking. I could hardly speak. They shut off the shower and covered me with a towel. Still hysterical, I gripped my head and I cried and I just begged for it to end. They spoke to me softly. One of them rubbed my back. Another held my hand.
They let me break down.
I had nothing left.
Today, however, I went to work. I’m currently sitting in class, and while I’m still depressed and I’m still fighting anxiety, I’m here. I’m alive. The sun came up and the world is moving forward and I am moving with it, even though it hurts. It is not easy – I will never lie to you and tell you it is – but I want you to know that even when you are in that darkest moment, when you are sitting naked in the bathtub, sobbing and broken, begging to let go, ready to give up…you can’t. You can’t give up.
Please, hold on. Please, remember there is hope. I couldn’t remember that last night and I’ll be honest that even right now I’m fighting to hold on to that – but it’s true. There is something more. This is not the end. Keep trying. Keep fighting. Keep living.
It’s okay to breakdown in the shower. I pray that you have someone who will come to you and sit with you until you can breathe again. If you must go through this alone, know that you are not actually alone. I am thinking of you, and I think of you often. I wish I could be there for you in person, but the best I can do for you is these words. So when it hurts and you feel alone, know that at the very least I care and I am here. If you are religious, know that God is never far. You can reach for him.
It’s okay. It is going to be okay. I am putting one foot in front of the other today. I’ll probably cry tonight, but I will rise again tomorrow. The other option isn’t an option.
Don’t let the waves win. Head above water. Hold on with me.