Hanging on to Hope

According to the national alliance on mental illness (NAMI), almost half of people who die by suicide had a known mental illness. The stats surrounding bipolar & suicide are terrifying to me. Another study done by Cambridge University revealed that 30% people with bipolar disorder will attempt suicide once in their lives. The suicide rate is twenty times that of the general population.

2013 was when I got my first diagnosis. It was the roughest year of my life so far. I was struggling with addiction to suppress my internal, emotional feelings. I kept chasing happiness even though I knew it wasn’t there.

I remember driving home on a wet, rainy day that year. I was bawling my eyes out because life seemed so hopeless at the time. My first marriage was crumbling & the addiction was tearing my family apart. I truly wanted to die.

I remember rounding a curve and all of a sudden I just let go of the wheel. The next few moments after that are fuzzy. But I clearly remember letting go and not wanting to live anymore. My car then crashed into a telephone pole going 45 mph.

Luckily I was wearing my seatbelt. I don’t remember anything much after that but seeing glass everywhere. I had nearly cracked my windshield in half with the impact.

My brother took me to see the car a few days later. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It looked like the car was split in half. I shouldn’t have survived let alone walk out of the car completely unharmed.

I knew it was time to get help. I went to an inpatient center and got my first diagnosis. Bipolar disorder. “No that’s impossible” was my first thought. I was so embarassed and felt so shameful of this disorder that I didn’t tell anyone for the longest time.

I’m finally opening up because life isn’t easy. I’m not an expert in mental health, I just know my own experiences. I never thought that I would attempt to take my own life.

Looking back, I am grateful. It woke me up to knowing that I needed help. I couldn’t do this on my own. My parents & brothers did everything they could for me. The best choice was for me to move to Seattle with my brother and start over.

Starting over was scary. But what’s scarier was knowing that I probably should have died in that car wreck. I was given a second chance. It was up to me what I was to do with it.

I have been clean for nearly 7 years. I chose to live my life with intention and purpose after that. It hasn’t been easy and life isn’t always perfect, but by finding hope- I found myself.