I'm in a manic phase while I write this article. Being manic doesn't let me slow down my brain.
Flashback to 2013: An episode lasting months.
Suicidal thoughts aren't something that you ask for - they just infiltrate you like torpedoes whipping past your mind. It was a beautiful fall day in Atlanta. Comfortable temperature with a breeze, sun shining. But there was a deep fog in my head that I could feel in my brain.
I was sitting under a large, luxurious, beautiful oak tree overlooking the duck pond at Piedmont Park. This was my ritual. When I was in a haze and couldn't function I would slip on flip-flops, a dress, and my dignity between my legs.
As I lay on my blanket, my depressive state was so harsh, due to bipolar, that I was ready to die. I made a pact with myself and God that I was ready to go before the age of 40. I had just come out of manic stages that left me so dis-regulated I felt like I was in a barrage of bullets. Suicide seemed like the only option at this point after three hospital visits, tons of expensive therapy. My life was not going anywhere and nowhere fast.
I had my blanket, bag, and an idea of how to plan my suicide. It was a dis-regulated month for me and I wasn't receiving proper care after the hospital visits. I was so numb sitting under that tree that I planned my own funeral in my mind. I planned to take my life with pills, after writing lovely letters on beautiful stationary to my most beloved family and friends. The thoughts would flash to my memorial service filled with music, laughter, and tears. I was to be cremated. My ex-husband had already been given instructions to spread my ashes in Haiti, Italy and Finland “if anything was to happen to me.”
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I was living alone. This was the first time I had lived by myself since I was 19. Now approaching 40, it was devastating to me that I was at this low point. I had undiagnosed mental illness and was also living with three untreated traumas unaware of PTSD and not having a name or diagnosis for what I was living with everyday.
I'm supposed to study my emotion regulation in a white binder my amazing therapists have deemed a tool for recovery. But, I get angry sometimes that this is my life, on a daily basis. At that time in 2013, I thought it was a great idea to try and have an affair with a married man. That is not me but mania makes you do crazy shit at any given time of the day.
Ashley Madison was the website of choice. See some people drink, shop, or do drugs but men were my vice. Back in 2013, I was looking for validation in all the wrong places but today I have support from many outlets from 3 therapists, 1 doctor, and boxing to lean back on.
These articles will examine the real story of mental illness and traumas- real people, real stories and the building of my book called, “Mental Illness is a Bitch. The Survivor Guide to the Beast!”
So, please join me to get through recovery, saving lives, and changing stigma of mental illnesses. If you do not have a wall to lean on -let me be that person. You can contact me at bonjoelson-at-gmail.com.
Bonnie Joelson is an International Volunteer/Humanitarian/Foodie/Adventurer/Truth Seeker and Determined Educator on mental and chronic illness who writes with a truthful bent and comedic twist.