Categories
stigma Thoughts on life

Yes, It’s Me, Sarah & This Is Not Spam

It came to my attention recently, some people think that I’m posting spam, and then don’t read my posts or share the information I’m posting on social media. I get it. Those who really know me, don’t see me as a person to promote a cause or be particularly political in any way. That’s changed because I have changed…

I found the picture I added to this post, and it reminded me of my husband Keith. His stomach looked exactly like that after a suicide attempt where he stabbed himself so deep, that he punctured his intestines.

The night he stabbed himself we were at home watching Perry Mason, a part of our nightly ritual. At commercial, he got up from the couch and walked into the kitchen. I assumed he was after his favorite night time snacks, bread and peanut butter, but he returned empty handed and sat back on the couch.

The show continued and I happened to glance over to the couch where Keith was sitting, and to my horror, discovered his white t-shirt soaked in blood. There was so much blood gushing from the wound that it was pooling in the creases of his shirt and jeans.

I didn’t have time to panic. I grabbed a towel, applied pressure to the wound and called 911. I continued applying pressure to his stomach until the ambulance arrived, crying and trying to get Keith to talk to me. He said nothing. He just kept watching Perry Mason. Only after the ambulance left with him, did I notice the long, blood covered knife lying on the kitchen counter, and drops of blood on the tile floor. 

After his surgery, his stomach looked just like the featured photo in this post. That incident was his first suicide attempt during our marriage. I did not handle it well. I didn’t know what to do or how to help him. I have issues with mental illness and have had a suicide attempt myself, so you would think I would know exactly what he needed. 

I didn’t. 

The timeline around my suicide attempt is very blurry, and I don’t remember the actual attempt at all, just a fuzzy ambulance ride, and the horrible 2 weeks away from home. I do remember feeling so alone, although the word “alone” doesn’t give the feeling justice. 

The “alone” I was feeling, was like a panic rising up inside of me, akin to how I imagine someone might feel if they were awake during a surgical procedure, but paralyzed, unable to talk or tell anyone they were awake. Once the first incision was made, you found not only were you awake, but felt everything. Then you were screaming, yet no sound emerged. 

That is the “alone” feeling which makes suicide seem like the only option.

Keith made a second suicide attempt. I came home one evening and found him on the living room floor. He had stabbed himself in the stomach again, only that time, he inserted the knife 5 times. 

I handled his second attempt much better than the first, hardly leaving his side unless I had to eat or go to the bathroom. 

Following his release from the hospital, he was placed in an inpatient facility for a few weeks. He jumped off a bridge 7 months later…

I have to live with the fact that Keith is gone forever. Living with the loss of a spouse, or anyone really, is so incredibly difficult. Suicide adds something to the loss that doesn’t make the loss worse than others, just very different. 

Keith had support, love, understanding, and his family by his side no matter what, and still lost his battle. 

I am realistic in knowing suicide, mental illness and addiction can not be eradicated. However, with the most up to date information we have about the effects of trauma during a lifespan, and the reality of mental illness and addiction; I feel it’s incredibly important for those of us who are capable, to speak out about our experiences, to help put an end to the stigma attached to mental illness and addiction. So many people are suffering in silence and dying. 

I have been through the unimaginable in my life, and all while battling mental illness and addiction. It’s hard. The way we look at these illnesses as a society is wrong, and people are dying, going to prison unnecessarily, and families are being torn apart. 

So, no, this is not spam. This is the reality many of us live and the more that is said out loud about mental illness, addiction, and what these illnesses truly are, the more we evolve in mind and spirit. 

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Categories
Mental illness

It’s Not Really About Me


I find myself in an all too familiar battle. With me.

I’m at a point in my life where I’m unsure of my purpose. Like I said, it’s familiar, but (whiny voice) I hate it!

Most people can be satisfied by simply conforming to society and cultural norms. The outline is get married, raise a family, work hard, go on vacations, try not to get divorced (although about 50% will) birthdays, graduations, retirement, and then the sweet bliss of death.

Most people find their purpose in there somewhere. They might have their purpose instilled in them through religion or what they have been taught.

We live in a culture that puts children’s needs above everything, so it makes sense that most mothers feel their purpose is their children. Not to mention the human instinct to provide, care, and nurture our babies.

Some might feel their purpose lies in helping others and spend their lives doing acts of service. Some folks live their entire lives only indulging their every want.

My purpose has always seemed relatively clear to me, with the exception of this particular phase of my life.

As a kid my purpose was clear. Be a kid, go to school, get good grades, hang out with friends, make out behind the bleachers.

At 19 I became a wife, and at 21 a mother. At that moment I knew my life was no longer my own. I lived and breathed for my son. Then along came my daughter 2 years later. I thought I had it figured out.

I was wrong…

Through a series of unfortunate events, addiction, mental illness and a nervous breakdown, my now ex-husband was awarded custody of my babies. I was so lost. What was my purpose now?

I met Keith.

It was love at first sight. We were inseperable all but 3 days a week when I stayed with my Mama to give him a break from me. I’m not even kidding. Apparently I’m exhausting.

His struggle with mental illness was conspicuous from day one. We had that in common, but we ended up balancing each other out. It worked.

I could never remember to take my meds, but he reminded me. If I was having a particularly hard time, he set them in my hand.

Keith needed a lot of care and I could always seem to take care of him, even when I couldn’t really take care of myself.

Both of us couldn’t remember our own appointments with our psychiatrists, but I always knew his and he knew mine.

He pulled me back down to earth and I intermittently pulled the stick out of his ass. You get the idea.

When Keith and I began seeing each other he told me he was drinking himself to death like Ernest Hemmingway. I just said, “Well, if that’s what you want. Who am I to interfere with your death plan?”

Eventually, he saw his purpose was to be a good husband to me and mine was to be a good wife. We got sober. We had the kids every other weekend and for the most part, life was pretty peachy.

Mental illness won its battle over my poor sweet husband and he took an early exit. Since his death I have had 2 prevalent phases of “what now”?

The first phase was my “Blue Period”. I was sad. I was so lost that I literally couldn’t breathe. It was like I had to learn a new way to inhale and exhale to remain conscious. Just, lost.

The 2nd phase is my “Pissed Period”. One day I was sad, and then I started thinking about Keith making the choice to check out early, and it filled me with rage. How dare he? He made a promise to me and he broke it. He didn’t simply leave me, he left the fucking planet. He left me to fend for myself and I was suddenly so alone.

I’m coming out of that phase now but still struggling with my purpose. I can’t accept that my life is to be an endless array of fucked up occurrences sprinkled with slivers of joy. Sure, the joyous moments although few and far between, keep me from checking out early, but I need to believe it gets better. I need a reason to want a late checkout with a continental breakfast.

I love my children more than anything, but they are with their Dad and awesome step-mom and although they love me, they don’t need me. That’s a fun fact I had to learn to accept.

So, my purpose? YOU.

I think I need to tell my story and to a lot of people. I want the stigma surrounding mental health to disappear. I’m gonna talk about it. I’m going to talk about the real deal.

No sugar, no bullshit.

If I talk to 5,000 people struggling in silence, and 50 of those people begin to feel someone understands and then 25 of those people ask for help, I have succeeded.

I will never stop. I found it, my purpose.

If you are one of the many suffering with depression, mood swings, mania, OCD, schizophrenia, or have no diagnosis but don’t feel right, please reach out. If you don’t want treatment, there are alternatives. You don’t have to live like this, and suicide causes pain you can not imagine to everyone stuck here. The world is not better off without you. That is a lie your mind has made up. If you truly feel you have no one, or that no one gets it, e-mail me.

sarah.jones@bipolarlivingtoday.com or
inside.my.manic.mind@bipolarlivingtoday.com
Categories
Mental illness Thoughts on life

My Sweet, Sweet Husband


Yesterday marked two years since my husband left this realm of reality that is our planet, Earth. He is out there now on the ultimate adventure and a part of me is a little jealous.

I’m not suicidal or anything, I just am so curious about what is beyond our limited knowledge and understanding of the afterlife and what happens to us. It’s fascinating.

One thing I know for certain is that we don’t really die. The part of us that is “us”, or the soul is made up of energy. The law of conservation of energy states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It can only be transformed or transferred from one form to another.

I know Keith is still around because I feel him all the time. Sometimes I can even hear him if I’m quiet and still long enough to pay attention. Then there are the dreams.

He hasn’t come to me more than a handful of times in my dreams that I can recall. When he does though, it always seems like a real visit. It’s different from a normal dream. It feels as if we are in a different dimension and we are the only two entities that exist there.

Yesterday, I pretty much stayed in bed. I slept off and on and during one of my naps, Keith came. He picked me up from someplace and said, “Are you ready, dear?”

I ran up to him and threw my arms around him immediately in tears and exclaimed, “Where have you been?? You were gone forever, I thought you were dead!”

He replied, “Now, you know I’m not dead, right?”

I looked up at him incredulously and said, “Yeah, I’m pretty sure I know that, but why can’t I see you anytime I want?”

He said something poignant to me and I remembered the gist of it when I woke up so I looked it up. It was a quote by the poet Emily Dickinson.

Keith smiled at me and said, “Forever is composed of moments.”

Frustrated I asked what he meant and he basically said that I have many things to accomplish while I’m here. Be patient and take nothing for granted. He said he will always be close by, keeping watch, and loving me. He said after my series of moments on this plane of existence, he will come for me and we can be together. Until then I must be satisfied with the lovely invasion into my sleep.

We ended our visit with something we said to each other every day we were together.

I said, “You are my sweet, sweet husband.”

He returned with, “And you are my lovely wife.”

Me & my sweet, sweet husband Keith. Photo taken two days prior to his suicide.