Content Advisory: Please note the following content can be directly or indirectly related to topics about mental health, depression, suicide, and or self-harm.
Depression is isolating.
When I was 17, I used to go on walks whenever I was sad.
On days when the sadness felt unbearable, I would walk down to the lake near my house, sit on one of the benches, and delete my contacts, one by one. I would start with acquaintances, but, pretty soon, even my parents,’ brother’s, and best friend’s contact information was gone from my phone, my messages to them headed with empty digits.
Later that year, I was diagnosed with type 1 bipolar disorder after a severe manic episode which followed the depression. No one had seen it coming–except for me. The notes section of my phone tells the story for me. Entries upon entries insisting that I had bipolar disorder, that I was the messiah, and that I was entrusted with saving the world.
I wrote a series of 11 commandments.
The eighth commandment is the shortest, and it reads: “Find your prophets.”
Four years later, I still think about my commandments and particularly this one.
We all need something to believe in, regardless of whether or not we are religious. We need a reason to get out of bed and go about our days.
And, for a long time, my reason wasn’t that I was the messiah; it was that I was going to write a book about how I once thought I was the messiah.
The book was my primary purpose in life. I had to live so I could complete it, I told myself.
This reason didn’t save me from the two suicide attempts which followed my manic epsiode, however. It didn’t save me from soul-crushing depression or from psychosis.
What has saved me, more recently, have been other people’s books, other people’s stories, the advice and words of other people.
Being a prophet hasn’t saved me, but my prophets have.
Our reasons to live don’t come from inside of ourselves. We are social beings with a long history of existence on this earth. There is so much to learn from others that can save us.
With that sentiment in mind, I started a website called Bipolar Creatives. On the website, I share interviews with people who have bipolar disorder as well as any creative work they’d like to share. The work and words they share become their contribution to the community’s collective wisdom.
I also joined TAD as an advocate because I want to help people find their prophets. I sincerely believe that the people I reach out to can save lives with their stories.
And as for my book? My primary purpose in life? I finished it three days ago.
Though it didn’t save my life, I hope that it may save others.
Depression is isolating, but we can fight it.
Check out Chloe’s awesome initiative here: https://www.bipolarcreatives.org
Talk. Share. Help.