This is a continuation from part 1
I had lived abroad since Summer 1994 being involved in two different social projects. For most of that time I was hypomanic and consequently achieved very much. Looking back I also see the down right mean side of that period, hurting people in the process. I had sudden anger outbursts that I didn’t understand. I could make mean and hurtful comments, not knowing myself why I was acting that way.
Many times I asked for forgiveness and just as many times I received it. I am very blessed with the fact that during this period I did not lose any relationships, opposite to my time in college when I did alienate and hurt friends and lost their friendship.
Even during those years I hit an all time low and was depressed for a good year. Since I had also become seriously ill, I used the illness as a cover up so people didn’t know I was depressed. After a year I was able to return to the same project and pick up my work.
The last project involved working with youth in schools and girls on the street. I was doing way too many things all at the same time. Suddenly, on top of that, I received a letter from my parents in June 2005. This was such a shock to my system that I literally fell ill. I had tried several times to bridge the gap between us, but every time it was made very clear that no contact was desired. So this was like a bomb shell.
Together with some other circumstances it caused a severe burn-out. A stay in America for 3 months in 2006 turned into more than three years. I am very blessed, however, with my counselor who has been so willing to support me over all those years, before and after my diagnosis. Even now, since my sudden return to my home country the Netherlands in Summer 2009, we continue our sessions over Skype.
Those years between 2005 and 2010 have been excruciatingly difficult and painful. I have lived through many difficulties (including a nomadic lifestyle) during those years, together with working through past trauma’s and trying to find ways to deal with my bipolar traits.
I had been very suicidal for one and a half years, even before my trip to the States. I had concrete and detailed plans where I would not be found alive. It was not so much that I wanted to die, it was simply that I could not continue to live in such pain and despair.
The only reason I am still alive and kicking today is because the Lord saved me from committing suicide. I can not tell you how He did it, because I don’t know, just that He did. And to tell you the truth, I wasn’t even grateful in the first few years!!!
At some stage I started to understand that ‘being suicidal’ is part and parcel of BD. It is not part of ‘me’ as such. In the process I came to realise that I have a choice in how to respond and at some point I decided not to entertain thoughts of suicide as a way out any longer. This doesn’t mean that thoughts of suicide don’t pop up at times, of course they do. But I am able to handle it, it doesn’t endanger me anymore.
I am glad to say that by now I am overall glad to be alive. For the first time in many years I am looking forward to the future. I have plans and dreams and there is a live waiting for me to live. I am committed to live that life, with bipolar traits and all, to the best of my ability!
Picture courtesy of StrangeCosmos