NOTE: I originally wrote this post right after Robin Williams’ tragic death. I’m reprinting it today in honor of World Bipolar Day. A condition I only found out I had in 2014.
So sad to hear the news of Robin Williams’ suicide today. Depression is often a hidden illness, disguised by jokes and laughter, excess alcohol or drug consumption or erratic behavior. It is a dark tunnel you walk alone and often cannot seem to get out of.
I have struggled with depression since I was a child, but went undiagnosed until I was in my mid 30’s – after numerous struggles and dark thoughts. Only recently have I gotten a diagnosis of bipolar type 2.
I always wondered why I had days where I needed little sleep, took on more projects than I could possibly handle and felt SOOO happy! Then I would crash into a pit where I was unable to function for weeks.
This roller coaster (which I am today sharing publicly for the first time) caused me to be unreliable, lose work, refuse invitations and feel incredible guilt for wasting my life. I am now on a drug combination that is working, but I have refused additional meds (Lithium).
I monitor my moods on a scale of 1-10 each day, try to eat well, get regular sleep, meditate/pray, do yoga and do something that brings me joy each day. I have a daily practice of finding joy in the little things around me (my grandchildren, animals, sunshine, flowers) and thinking of all the things I’m grateful for each night before falling asleep.
So – if you know someone who you “think” might be struggling – have a quiet talk with them – let them know they can safely share their struggles and that you will walk with them as they get help.
If YOU are struggling – PLEASE ask for help – if you have no one you can reach out to call your local crisis line or 911.
There is help available – your life is worth saving – you ARE valuable and you have a purpose on this planet.