I Survived, Dad
January 10, 2021
I’ve been living a lie my entire life. A twisted sick retelling of a long lost twin’s sorry story. Even at the best moments of my tale, there is just so much malice in my wonderland. Mostly myself. I’ve been a sucker for self-harm, the idea of the bubble bursting so much more wholesome than the bubble. So as the author of this heavily rewritten book, let me show you a few pages of my life.
I say heavily rewritten as my disease has the added curse of a terrible memory. Whatever I don’t remember clearly, I rescript to suit my convenience or make a better story. I don’t remember a lot of my glory days, have entirely blocked out tear jerkers, and a lot of my suicidal moments feel a lot more subdued when I recall them now. The distortion doesn’t just restrict itself to my recollections. It alters the way I look at things. I used to be a pessimist and can recall this one incident where a boy had gifted me a flower for my birthday. After he left, I shredded it and stomped it to the ground. Flowers are just reminders of how impermanent life and beauty are. That all things eventually die.
My happiest songs are the ones which tell the saddest tales. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy up-tempo bangers. The notes which pluck the strings of my soul however are wrought with woe. Life shouldn’t have to feel this way. Jumping of a terrace despite my vertigo shouldn’t be the first thought that comes to mind. Contemplating least painful ways of offing myself shouldn’t be routine. I see people breezing through life and sometimes wish things were that easy. Dandelion seeds floating with the wind while I’m lugging my anchor around everywhere.
Relationships with people become complex. Family often becomes the crutch which broke the leg. (Childhood stress and trauma are common contributors for an early onset of manic depression). While on medication, the feelings and emotions become numb. Creativity, often associated with mental health problems, takes a backseat. For a person living their life in highs and lows, this new flat-lining can come as an unwelcome shocker. The predilection for the emotional rush can be quite overpowering. We tend to resort to drugs or quitting medication to experience the altered reality once more as the new normal feels quite bland. That is why a support system is quite necessary to monitor the initial phases of recovery and to prevent a relapse.
During depression, even the most supportive friends may feel unwanted. Judgement goes for a toss and we end up not thinking about consequences. This often leads to burning bridges and more often than not, there’s no going back. I am lucky to have so many people who understand my disease or try to. I haven’t been that lucky always. I was in an abusive live-in where the other person’s push and pull on my emotions made them go haywire. He just added fuel to the fire. Despite dropping me off to my psychologist, he refused to believe that I was ill and thought that I was deliberately acting crazy because I enjoyed that. I’m much choosier about the people I let into my life these days. Once I used to indulge in self-destruction. Nowadays it doesn’t take me a second to cut off someone who could harm me for the sake of self-preservation.
I survived delirium, borderline insanity, anxiety sucking away at me like leeches. I survived the horrors of the world not ending in 2012. I survived a speeding truck while fully loaded on three drugs. I survived bullies, I survived this, I survived that. I survived Dad. I survived, Dad.
I feel like the Destiny’s Child song. I’m surviving despite the odds of bipolar death rates (doubled due to increased chances of heart failure) and I’m not just talking suicide. We are hypersexual as well, often resulting in risky behavioural patterns and promiscuity. I have survived 6 HIV tests in as many years. I’m surviving not because I want to. I’ve tried the other options and failed, so why not make the best of living a loud life and making the best of it. Currently I’m surviving to hopefully see a day where I enjoy living and am excited about opening my eyes the next morning.
The author is bravely dealing with their mental health problems. The article has been published without any edits.