Recovery. It’s a word used to describe someone’s quest for a semblance of normalcy in the mental health arena. We all strive to reach that place where we can breathe again. It’s that place of balance where you are neither too high nor too low. It’s a coveted plateau.
I’m not a fan of the word recovery though. I don’t believe Bipolar Disorder is something anyone can ever truly recover from. It’s a mental illness with no cure.
Can we get better? Absolutely. Can we fully recovery? No. I believe the word sets us up for failure. There are those who will disagree with me and that’s ok. We all view our illnesses differently.
I’m lucky that I have been able to sit on that plateau for awhile now. I’m balanced and my view of the world and those around me is not obscured by my illness. I know that will change though. Like I said before, Bipolar Disorder is unforgiving and I know I’m destined to swing high or low again.
However, sitting on the plateau gives me perspective to see both depression and hypomania for what they truly are. When depression drags us to the Dark Abyss, it’s almost impossible to believe we will ever reemerge again.
We lose hope. We lose faith.
So I’m writing this not only to those whose find themselves in that dark place now but to myself if I’m dragged down again.
I want to share something I wrote a few years ago when I was in that place. Those of you with Bipolar Disorder will identify and those of you without it, well let’s just say it will give you a glimpse of where we are when we are hopelessly lost.
This is powerful and it is raw, so I want to reiterate that I am ok. I am in a good place now and I could not be more pleased about that. However personal this is for me, I do believe it’s important to share because it proves we are not alone when we are in the depths and that we do reemerge from the darkness. This is what I wrote from the abyss:
CARRY ME DOWN
Will you all return to carry me today?
Carry me down to where I will stay.
When you take these strides with me inside,
Please step lightly and step wide.
The weight of each boot has forced me to root down deep,
Deep down where I will stay.
Remember before you commit me to clay,
You’ll weep and feign to pray.
You’ll tell yourself you did all you should,
But did you really do all that you could?
I fought hard to parry this day,
The day you might carry me down to where I will lay.
We’ve danced this dance before,
You and I.
I fell short and you stepped high.
Bid me farewell,
As in days gone by.
Spare me your heel,
This time as you leave.
The roots have already taken me.
To you I no longer cleave.
Will you carry me down today?
None can stay with me where I lay.
My own words chill me to the bone. Sometimes I wonder how I ever managed to rise from that place. My reason for sharing this deeply personal poem is simple. The purpose of my blog is the be honest and open about Bipolar Disorder and all that comes along with it. It is to be a voice for those who are ill and cannot find the words to share their experience. I share mine so it’s easier for them to do the same.
If you are reading this now and you feel like I did when I wrote Carry Me Down, please call a loved one and ask for help. I know it’s hard to even extend your hand and speak a word but you must fight. You must fight for yourself and your right to sit on your plateau. Your happy place still exists, you must seek to get there again.