Bipolar Takes Another Life

CLOUD050

I’m totally devastated right now. I just got a call from my favorite cousin telling me that his wife had just taken her own life this morning. She was 67 and had suffered with Bipolar Disorder for many many years and tried to kill herself several times before. Always they were able to save her before, but not this time.

I couldn’t stop the tears as he described the circumstances of finding her face down in their swimming pool when he got up today. He’s been in very bad shape himself from the weight of caring for her for all these years and getting sicker himself as it went along. He couldn’t talk much but he knew how much I loved her and how it would affect me so he called me.

This is so sad to me I can barely write about it but I feel it might help me if I do so I’m going to. I loved this woman so much. She was so funny and articulate and bright. She was the best school administrator in her district for many years before she retired because of the bipolar disorder. She was a dynamo and a jokester par excellence. She was the light of his world and a good friend to me too.

We were born on the exact same day only she was 4 years older than I am. 11/11 for us both. We used to spend a lot of time together when I lived in CA but I haven’t seen them as much since then. They were here for a short visit a couple three years ago but she got sick when they were here and had to cancel the trip. We saw them two years ago when we went to CA to see relatives of mine.

I was shocked to see how she had deteriorated even then. She always had a hard time figuring out which meds were the right ones for her to take. It’s a cruel irony to learn that the antipsychotic that has pretty much saved me from mania was the one that eventually killed her. It scares me so much. Not just for the drug but for what I might do to myself someday.

See I spend a lot of time wishing I was dead. I wish I didn’t have to say that but it’s just true. I have suicidal ideation frequently and it makes life hard and difficult. I Know I can’t kill myself because of what it would do to my partner Louie and to my remaining family and friends. I’ve decided not to do it ever. But I don’t trust my mind and so I’m scared.

This could so easily be me we’re talking about, or maybe it could be you too if you suffer from depression or Bipolar disorder. It’s a cruel disease and we tend to forget that 15% or more of people with it end up killing themselves. It’s a life threatening illness tho it’s still considered a stigma to talk about it and try to heal those of us who have it. I hate it right now with a vengeance…

It could too easily be Louie making calls to my family to tell them that I couldn’t stand the pain any longer, as my cousin couldn’t do, and that I’ve ended it. My own experience when I did try to kill myself was instructive to me. It showed me that when you reach the end of your resources to endure the pain you believe you have no choice but to end your life. That’s what happened to me. I couldn’t bear it any longer.

I’m  lucky I did pills then and the docs pumped my stomach and gave saline and got rid of the drugs. I thought I’d been clever, even calling the Poison control center in my town so to make sure that the pills I took would  kill me.( I said it was about my roommate…. sick..) But it didn’t work and I’m so glad at this point. I didn’t think of others at all  but I don’t blame myself. I was doing my best. It just wasn’t good enough.

So it must have been for her. She reached the point where she’d tried to kill herself several times before this and was in so much distress and confusion from the wrong antipsychotic that she wasn’t thinking right anymore. I haven’t been able to talk to her in some time because she couldn’t handle the phone, so I don’t know where she was at at the end, tho I can guess. I know it too well myself.

I don’t know what else to say. I’m drained of energy and feel like a wet dish rag from the crying and sadness I feel. It’s hard to imagine I’ll never see her again. She always made me laugh and was one of the closest people in my family to me even tho we weren’t really related except for marriage. She was Family to me and my family is one short today. We’ll all miss her dearly and mourn her forever.

Grieving for the loss of a dear friend,

Steve

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37 comments on “Bipolar Takes Another Life

  1. I’m so sorry to hear this, Steve. I know we are blog buddies but if you want to talk, I can listen. I’ll be praying for you and your family tonight.  I’m so sorry.

    Sent from my Samsung Epic™ 4G Touch

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  2. A sad shame….I send my condolences and hope you will be able to have some peace eventually. It is never easy to lose anyone in your life. Suicide is the end result to a disease that is often hard to treat. God be with you and your friend’s family, as well.

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    • Thank you for your condolences. I appreciate them a lot. Suicide is a terrible thing for anyone to deal with, especially someone so close to me, and Bipolar is really a nasty illness. I will miss her greatly.
      peace,
      Steve

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  3. I never know what to say in these sort of things, so I guess I will opt to say that I am keeping y’all in my thoughts. The battle against the darkness is a hard one.

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    • Thank you for thinking of me and my family. It is a difficult battle but more education will help. That’s why I wrote this – to help others understand it and to share my own feelings about it.
      Steve

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  4. Oh Steven I am sorry. Thank you for sharing this. My hand and heart …
    Speaking of which – hold her in your heart and talk to her there, write to her. You might find where she is free and unlimited, and is never gone away, hears you and responds. I don’t mean The Other Side stuff. I mean the place in you where you have for ever, her beauty, for we are all connected. It is indestructible. Grief but also contact. Life.

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    • Thank you so much Jane. Your words have deep resonance for me. I do hold her close and remember the good times and how wonderful she was. She will always be in my heart, as she should be.
      peace,
      Steve

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  5. Steve, I’m so sorry for the loss of your cousin. I am pursuing a masters degree in social work, and am deeply concerned by treatment inadequacies for individuals suffering from bipolar disorder, chronic depression, and schizophrenia. Also by the reduced well-being and shorter lifespans due to physical diseases like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. I am glad you are writing about bipolar disorder in your blog … you are helping to decrease the stigma. I love what Jane wrote to you; about connecting to that place deep in your heart where your cousin still resides. Sending prayers and positive energy to you in this time of grieving.

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    • Thank you for your condolences Candace. They’re very much appreciated. I’m glad to hear that you’re studying about these disorders and have such an interest in them. It’s people like you who may find ways to ameliorate the symptoms of these illnesses that are so difficult to deal with. They take a heavy toll on our society and on people’s lives. I’m glad I have this place to blog about BipoIar and other Invisible Illnesses to help others have a larger view of what it’s like to live with them. I agree that Jane’s comment about keeping her in my heart is the way I’m to go. She will always be alive to me there in my memories and thoughts. Thanks for your good wishes.
      peace,
      Steve

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