They don’t look me in the eye when they say these things to me.
This intimidating, clinical jargon they pull from the pages of old books, weathered and stained from overuse.
They stare straight ahead, typing away and speaking indirectly, avoiding all contact like I am a number to them; a name in an appointment book.
They will allow me 10 minutes; it’s all the insurance will cover.
Ten minutes to add a life-altering warning label to the end of my name.
They don’t know me.
They don’t ask me.
They barely see me.
But because of them, I now have caution tape surrounding me.
A warning sign to all employers, police, professionals to be careful—something is terribly wrong with me.
In those 600 seconds they have figured out that I am Bipolar.
I have fluctuating mood swings; some up and some down.
I get angry and aggressive. I get excited and restless. I have big ideas and grand plans.
I could have told them that—if they had just asked.
Before I leave though, they make sure I am fully aware that I also have a personality disorder.
“Borderline Personality Disorder.”
No, there are no cures. No medication.
From what I can tell, my personality is just no good.
Oh wait they say, one more thing before your 10 minutes are up.
I am also Obsessive Compulsive.
I’m a germ freak. I wash my hands over and over.
I check too much.
I count things and have good and bad numbers.
Nope. No cure. It’s brain chemistry. Genetics most likely.
From what I can tell, my brain is just no good either.
Some days, I take this all in stride, believing my future is still bright.
Other times I wake up, open my eyes and, even before reaching full consciousness,
I feel those small droplets of salty sadness flowing gently down my face—
A rude awakening to a reality I hoped had changed overnight.
Strong and unexplainable emotions disperse throughout my body like stealthy soldiers on a steadfast mission.
Do you ever have these mornings?
Do you ever arise with a dull hopeless sensation in the pit of your stomach?
The small, slight voices within you whispering painful, self-loathing secrets?
“Here we go again, nothing has changed. You’re stupid and sick.”
“You’re as alone today as you were yesterday. Might as well turn over and sleep the day away.”
“No one loves you. No one needs you. Give up now.”
Ugliness and self-pity fill you.
Anger and regret multiply like cells, mutating and transforming increasingly with every second that passes.
Often I am lost in this seemingly inescapable, treacherous world of misery and loss.
I don’t have all the answers.
Sometimes I don’t even have any and my day turns into a series of trial and error, guesses and rolls of the dice—
Like a board game pulled out of a closet on a snowy night.
On these lost days, I seek comfort.
Comfort in the smallest and slightest of things.
However insubstantial, however minute—I find something, anything.
An old television show that brings about good memories.
A new book from my kindle.
I spend time with my cat or my dog.
Take a hot shower.
I have made a “go to” list for the days I feel stuck in my mind and unable to escape.
Does it salvage my whole day?
Does it cure my sadness, my insecurity, emptiness and turmoil?
It is a means to an end.
A band-aid to cover my open wounds while they heal.
An anchor to steady myself as time passes.
It is an unpaved road to follow until the drawbridge returns to its normal location,
And I am able to cross back to the other side.
I don’t have all the answers.
I do know one thing though:
We always have hope.
Hope is a strong belief that resides right in the center of my heart.
It is a visceral feeling that whispers, “You will be okay.”
“Life is moving forward and tomorrow will be new and different.”
“Hold on tight, you can do this.”
We can’t live without hope.
Without it, emptiness takes over—
We lose the will to live.
The power to survive.
Hold on until tomorrow comes.
Tell yourself in the lowest of moments when you can bear no more pain,
No more misery,
That if you reach out as far as you can—
You will touch the wings of the angels that carry with them a new beginning, a new day and hope for a fresh start.
And hold on tight.
As long as we have hope, we have everything.
Author: Rebecca Conroy
Editors: Khara-Jade Warren; Nicole Cameron