A few weeks ago I received an e-mail from a young man named Luke. He asked me whether I knew much about what actually happens inside the head of a person suffering from depression, specifically bi-polar disorder. I was honest and said that while I know the facts about the illness, I know very little of the human element. His reply was to ask me if I thought my readers would be interested in finding out more. Again I replied, this time my reply was a simple one......yes.
Over the next week we exchanged details of what he would provide to me and I grew more and more nervous. Not because of him. I was in awe of this young man. The bravery of what he proposed was, and is, astounding. No, I was nervous because I was afraid of what he would eventually share with me. I knew it would be confronting, maybe scary. I also knew that I really needed to hear what he had to say.
I can write posts for days, weeks and months on suicide, depression and tackle the issue head on with facts, figures and peripheral human elements. What I can't do, is tell you what it's really like to suffer through a serious mental illness. He can.
Yesterday he sent me a message to let me know he was finished with his self assigned task. He had written a diary of sorts of just one average day in his week. The problem was, he couldn't send it. Fair enough I thought. It still amazed me that he had gotten to this point and I was already seeing through his eyes just based on the information he'd already given and the links and studies he'd suggested I look at. Armed with this much, I was preparing my post. I sent a message to let him know that I acknowledged how tough it would be to let me into his world in such an intimate way. I let him know that I was proud of him for understanding that most of us don't (and possibly can't) comprehend his daily struggle and for wanting to be part of the process of increasing awareness on the issue. That done, I set to work.
This morning, just before I posted my latest offering, I received a new message from him. He had hit the 'send' button. In my inbox was the most incredible glimpse into a full day in the life of a bi polar sufferer. I have read it, over and over again, and still it affects me. I considered briefly that I should edit the piece and correct grammar etc.....then decided that this was much better in it's raw form. It's more powerful because these words are his and he deserves to have them respected and acknowledged as being perfect. He has done exactly what he offered to do and I am very thankful to be the recipient.
So, here it is.....a day in the life of Luke, early 20's, mechanic, owner of Bear the cat, diagnosed as bi polar.
"Go to bed just feeling sad and don’t really know why
From waking up
Open eyes first thing that comes to mind is why did I have to wake up
Same feeling just unhappy don’t really know why again just don’t want to move alarm is going off, turn it off and roll over to look out the window feel sick just feel empty which feels like im hungry but i know im not
Have to go to work but just cant do it alarm keeps going off but i just hide it i don’t want to go, i don’t want to be seen just unhappy
Bear walks in and knows something is wrong and cuddles up under my chin this is the only time he does this makes me smile he is so cute, this is enough to get me out of bed but my legs just don’t want to walk this is what being so unhappy does to you i cant even get up, i do it takes me about 5 minutes as i start walking i just start crying i don’t know why i just hate the though of have to be seen i hate the thought of people looking at me knowing what is wrong with me. But even i know they don’t know how i feel but i feel when they look into my eyes they see my pain and judge me cause of it.
Still crying i just stand in front of the mirror looking at myself just hating how i look how i feel i just want the pain to leave me right now
Its the little things that people do everyday that i just cant do i feel so unhappy and so full of hate at myself that simple things like cutting my lunch i just look at the knife and think why don’t i just do it right here right now and i start crying again.
Once again i start to think straight again thinking shit what would bear do i mean who would look after him, i don’t want him to get upset that im gone and he is only a cat funny how i don’t think this way about my family and friends but i mean all he has known is me and like my family love me no matter what.
so i decide to go to work but this again starts it all over again things like walking outside to the garage cripple me at the back door and i just cant do it i go sit down on the lounge again and wait till the bad feeling leave. By this time im already late for work and that just brings hate into my head not at work but at myself for making myself late again.
I get so angry that i walk outside without thinking and push my motorbike out of the garage and out past the gate close the gate and garage and walk back inside and only then do i start to breath.
Time to put on all my riding gear which takes 5 minutes find bear to say goodbye and it floods back again what if this is the last time a say good bye to him well i better put out heaps of food and water for him just incase.
Time to leave walk outside ready to ride with my helment on so i don’t have to see anyone but still i warm my bike up i guess you do these things when your a mechanic, start to feel better cause this is what i live for i live for riding (and a cat).
Everything from here to work is routine i know which way i have to ride where all the bumps are on the road now i feel great i love this life how could i want this to end wow this is fun all this power all this speed.
And about half way to work it hits again the fun leaves and i start to look at things a little different i start to look at the trees down the valleys at the cliffs on the way and start to think again wow what would it feel like if i just hit that i mean would i feel it not at this speed no could i do it yeah why not just have to make sure i wont hurt anyone else but yeah i could do it i find myself start to count the places where on the way to work i could do it but then i think it would be better to do it at night less people to find me. And then i just cant do it i cant go to work i start crying again which is not good at 110kmh but why should i care it gets that bad i pull over and just sit on the side of the road, by now im over a hour late to work but at the same time why should i care all they have to do is get someone in to replace me they wont care.
I cant do it i have to turn around i just cant do it, i send i text to my manager with some bullshit like the bike wont start sometime its good living over 90ks from work its not like there going to come check up on me. So now i start riding home thinking what am i going to do the rest of the day .
By the time i get home im fine again and start to think should i go back to work nar by the time i get there it will be midday so no point.
So i put the bike away and now im happy its not cause im not at work i love work i have so much fun there its just cause im by myself again. So im happy now i can do what i want think i might finish working on one of my many project bikes so i go into the garage and sit down to think which one i should work on by the time i move again its about 2hrs later and i just cant do anything. I kind of look around like im trying to find something i need then i see it a rope and it all starts again i cant move all i can think of is tying a noose and throwing it over the beam in the garage but the work bench would be in the way once again i just cant do anything right.
I go inside don’t know why and bear looks at me and im alright again i hate this up and down feeling so i try and think of a way to be happy i mean i should start doing the things i have fun doing so i write it all down great a plan on how i can make myself happy ok lets do it.....or lets not 10 minutes late the paper is in the bin and im thinking how could i do those things i would stuff them up as well.
I spend the next 4 hours just staring out the window the only thing that stops me is bear is telling me he wants meat for dinner i realise its now dark outside i have been staring outside just thinking all these things my mind is racing but i couldn’t even see it was dark.
Dinner time great best the best time, i get bear his dinner otherwise he steals mine off my place which i hate but its cute watching him try, right cook dinner lets just sit down and work out what im having. By the time i work out what to have its about 10:30 at night once again all i was doing was sitting there my mind racing good thoughts bad thoughts wish they would just fuck off now i hate this i hate it so much fuck dinner whats food going to do to help me walk outside to make sure everything is locked up, i look up at the stars and start crying again thinking there is no one out there to talk to no one that will ever understand thats it. Once again i have been staring for about an hour and am tired now time to go to bed and once again hope i don’t wake up.
But once again i sit up till 3 in the morning just think of different ways to run away and hide should i go bush would bear be ok coming with me should i just fly somewhere and end it where no one would know or care.
Woke up on the lounge the next day................................"