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Fighting For My Life

Updated: Jun 21, 2023

I love watching reality TV. On Big Brother the other day, there was a challenge where there was this board that looked almost like a pinball machine, only the pairs of players had to tip it back and forth from the left to the right to keep the ball from falling off the edge and having it land in the goal at the end. This is so much what my bipolar is like. There are very few days that I just get up and go through life with no ups and downs. For the most part we are constantly making adjustments, me and my support team, trying to keep me from falling off the edge.

For years, the enemy has always been the hospital. When my Bipolar gets so bad that I am no longer safe, that I am unable to keep myself from hurting myself or someone else, I get admitted to the hospital. When you’re in the hospital you lose all your rights. They take the strings out of your shoes and clothes. You have to ask permission to have soap and shampoo and towels to take a shower. You can’t have regular pens or pencils. You often don’t get to choose what you are going to eat. And, worst of all, you don’t get a choice between whether you end up in a “good place” or a “bad place”.

My first few days in the hospital I do nothing but cry. I call my support team during the designated phone call times and try to barter with them, I will do anything to get out of there. Some of the hospitals I have been in have been incredibly traumatic, and I always promise myself that I am never going back in.

But this is the first time we have fought, so hard, as a team, to keep me out. And there are days that I actually find myself wishing I was in the hospital. It’s almost easier. You don’t have to do any housework or food prep, which is incredibly difficult when you’re as depressed as I am. The doctor sees you every day and they can make adjustments much more quickly. There are no temptations to hurt yourself because they have taken away all the weapons. And in a week or two, you walk away actually feeling a little better.

It's really tempting right now, when I’m spending twenty-four hours a day tilting that pinball machine, fighting to get the ball to the end. But I know, if I give in now, it will be even harder next time. So, I’m not taking the easy approach. I am a fighter, and I can make it through this…it’s just going to suck. But I’m a fighter, and I haven’t given up yet. I can do hard things. And I know, that when I am finally through this, I will be so proud of myself for doing it without the hospital. I’m glad to know it’s there when I need it, but I’m even more glad to see how strong I am.

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