Chapter 7- Bipolar

My name is Francesc West, and I have bipolar disorder. cropped-dsc_9003.jpg

            Before I get into this part of my life, you need to know that what I am about to share with you is what makes me who I am. This is my biggest strength, and my ultimate weakness. I want to share this for people who struggle with similar feelings to know that they are not alone. That there is hope. That the light at the end of the tunnel does in fact reappear. Everyone goes through good times and bad. Everyone to some extent knows the meaning of the word depression. Every day is a new day, and every day is another chance to start a new page. A new chapter. A new book. And every new book, just like this one, started with a single word. What doesn’t kill us, only makes us stronger baby. That’s damn right.

                  Where do I begin? How do I begin to describe it? I guess I can never really describe it. And unless you’ve been through it, you can never really understand. I mentioned I had an epephany one day. I believed that life itself was the gift. I always did and still do even today. The feeling was too good to be true. Not “happiness”. Constant euphoria. The true definition of being “high on life”. Nothing could knock me down. Nothing can upset me enough. Nothing can be important enough to bring my energy down. I was feeling every heartbeat. Every rush of blood through my veins. At times I would get angry at people that turned to me about their so called “problems”. I kept saying they worried about the wrong things and that they should look around and count their blessings instead of their predicaments. Unless you are terminally ill, handicapped or disabled in any form, then you are fine. I kept telling people to be thankful for having food on their table, a roof over their head. Every time I encountered someone pissing and moaning about insignificant things, i would turn to God and say thank you. Thank you for giving me the enlightenment to see what truly matters. Thank you for giving me a new way to look and understand life. I was unbreakable. 

                 When I moved back to New York, things were bad at home. Constant fights with my mom and dad, not having friends around, not being able to find a job, not having any sense of direction broke me down and I was all of a sudden in the midst of a severe state of depression. Months later I had constant thoughts of suicide. I tried to speak to my mom many times, but she never really understood. She didn’t know how to help. How could she? I didn’t even know how to help myself. I didn’t think I would ever be able get out of the emotional hole I was in. I opened up to her about smoking weed. I didn’t wanna lie or keep secrets from them. That was a big mistake. My honesty and trust in my parents backfired. Instead of trying to help me out, they condemned me with their words and actions. They made me feel like a horrible person. All of a sudden, just when I thought I couldn’t get any worse, there I was, on the verge of packing up my stuff and saying goodbye to my parents. 

              I will never forget the way they made me feel. I will never forget the things they said. All because they disapproved of me smoking marijuana. Telling them that it was the only thing keeping me alive didn’t help. It was my medicine. Some people are old fashioned and no matter how you try to break it to them, you can never get through. The way they looked at me, the way they spoke, the cynical way they walked past me, was all making me contemplate suicide even harder. I knew I couldn’t stay at my parents house anymore. To this day I never really tell them much about me anymore. I did forgive them a long time ago. After all, they are the reason i’m alive today. But without intending to, I keep people at a distance. I prefer it that way to be honest. Not being distant, but just keeping people at a distance. Maybe that’s why i’m writing this book. Maybe I want people to get to know what i’m about. One thing i’m about is honesty. I am straight forward and honest when it comes to my relations with people. Sometimes too honest. The same thing goes with my parents. The last thing I want is to lie or keep a secret from them. At times even if it means breaking their heart or knowing they will disapprove, I still say what’s on my mind and do what’s in my heart. The way I see it is, this is my life. People always give me advice. I listen, smile, agree but at the end of the day, I follow my own advice.  http://www.paykassa.com

         I see too many people living their lives afraid of what other people think of them. They worry about pleasing others and neglect their own desires. They choose their path according to what their parents want or what their friends think. I never could understand why anyone would give a second thought to what anyone else might think. Let me put it this way; No matter what you do, who you decide to become, or what you wanna be, it could never be as bad as being a murderer, a thief or a suicide bomber. So fuck it! Go study fashion instead of accounting. Take dance lessons. Sing! Come out of the closet. Live! I mean seriously, how long do we have to work with? 60 years? 80 years at most? If that! Just do whatever satisfies your inner soul. Whatever makes you happy. You can’t live life according to what other people say to you or think of you. The sooner you break away from that urge of satisfying others or the need of approval from anyone besides yourself, the happier you will be. Take me for example. I’m telling you my inner most darkest hours, secrets, and i’m leaving it all out in the open. Do you think I give two shits about the fact how people will judge me after reading this book? The way I see it, people will judge you no matter what. The more open you are, the less room you leave for others to judge you. I welcome judgments with open arms. In fact, I like seeing people judge me regarding certain things. That tells me more about them. Sometimes I would do certain things or say stuff just to see people’s reactions. Specially with women. Women are the biggest judgmental beings. 

                  One day locked in my own room, I remember how close I was to doing something stupid. I’m just telling you a tip of the iceberg. With zero hope left and no one to turn, I called the suicide hotline. I don’t know why. Maybe I just needed someone to tell me that my life was worth living, and that everything was going to be okay. I took a long drive, thinking of ways to end my life. I googled painless ways to die, wrote a suicide note, and knew that one day, eventually that I would build up the courage to actually go through with it. I was scared of that. I was scared to snap. I know my personality, and i’m not the type of guy who seeks attention. If I attempted it, there would have only been one outcome. But even in the middle of all this negativity, I knew that life was such a precious thing to waste. All I needed was something to hang on to. Something that will give meaning to my life. I just needed this feeling of hopelessness to go away. I wanted to be me again.

                  After some time, my parents started coming to their senses and realized that they were about to lose their only child. My mom suggested that I see a therapist. She had mentioned it before but I never thought it would be of any help. Talking it out wasn’t gonna solve my problems. But at this point, I was desperate and ready to try whatever. I was headed to a dark place with a dead end. She knew a good therapist and made an appointment for me to see him. I had gone to therapists as a child. One time in 6th grade the principal of the school suggested I see one, when I told my teacher that she was a world class boring bitch and that was exactly why she was still single. Yeah I said it, and I meant it. I was going through some teenage issues. With trying to adapt to Junior High School, not having friends outside of football, and not getting accepted to the Manchester United youth academy. I had snapped at my English teacher. Little did I know that one day I would become one myself.

                   After 2 hours of talking and $400, I turned to the therapist and said “I think I have bipolar”. Yes you do, he said with a smile. “Well good to know”, I replied. He gave me some websites and articles to read at home about bipolar disorder. Reading through it I felt as if they were talking about me. The cycles, the mood swings, the anger, the euphoria, the depression, the energy, the impulsiveness. It was all a part of a much bigger thing. I felt as if my mind had just been blown. With every other sentence I kept thinking “OMG that’s me right there”. It was good to know, on the other hand I kept wondering how I would ever be able to control this. Would I ever be able to? When will I cycle back to being euphoric? And will I slip back into this depression again? Because I don’t think I can handle that. I won’t survive. I had a thousand questions and even more worries. Was I ever going to be okay? Or should I just end it all now and get it over with? 

                 I started researching and getting to know more about Bipolar disorder. I found out that some of the most famous people and some of the most genius people that had ever lived had bipolar. Like Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, Vincent Van Gogh, Robin Williams, Adolf Hitler. Okay, maybe the last one was a bad example. And let’s be real, Van Gogh had it coming. No one in their right mind would ever do so, but if you were to cut a piece of yourself as a gift to a woman you love, i’d imagine the proper part would be your genitals and not your fucking ear. Don’t even get me started with Marilyn Monroe. That bitch was bad! Her and I would have made a good couple. When Robin Williams committed suicide, I couldn’t help but think if I was going to share the same fate someday. You might say he had it all. You might think all the fame, admiration and money in the world would be enough for happiness. I can tell you that money is not the answer to a depressed soul. Even though you might think otherwise. Money does not bring happiness.

                       It’s hard to say what a person must have been going through. Most of us keep to ourselves and never talk about such things. I never understood why people would shy away from talking about their inner most vulnerable times. Everybody has them and everybody is bipolar to some extent. Nobody is a perfect creature who is happy all the time. Our bad times is what makes us who we are. I share my story with everyone. I know that if I do, then maybe someone who is going through the same struggles as I have, will not feel so alone. It may sound selfish but hearing other people’s stories about contemplating suicide made me feel not so alone and abnormal. It made me believe if these people were there and made it out, then I can too. I do believe the more you reveal, the more open and honest you are, the stronger you are as a person. Weak people hide and cover their lives with lies to satisfy themselves and others. You can pretend to be whatever you want, but at the end of the day it makes no difference. You are who you are. 

                  After spending my weeks paycheck on this therapist guy, his solution to all of my problems was to put me on anti-depressants and mood stabilizers. I thought to myself “Go fuck yourself”. I told my mom that this was exactly what he was gonna try to do. I knew the script before I ever met the guy. I was’t surprised. So instead, I smiled and said “Thanks doc, i’ll be sure to think about it” and walked out. What a waste of $400 dollars. I am not exactly diagnosed. But I didn’t have to be after reading all about it. I knew people that were taking those types of medications and I knew that it never really worked out for them. Maybe for the short term, but in the long term they would always cycle back and start using it again. I refused taking medication. Throughout my life I have been fine without it. This was the severest depression i’ve ever gone through. If I was going to come out of this thing alive, I wanted to it on my own. I wanted to do it my way. Not have some fucking pill dictate my life. I believed I was strong enough to be able to get past this. Even though I had doubts in the back of my mind. 

                   Something was broken inside. I knew I could never ever be euphoric again. I knew that profound feeling of constant happiness was forever gone. It was as if something had wrapped it’s hands around my heart and stopped it from beating to it’s potential. To be honest, that constant state of euphoria is a dangerous place to be. The happier you are, the lower you fall. A higher state of mania means the drop would only be steeper. Imagine being on top of a mountain. The higher up you are, the further down you have to go. Same notion goes for emotions. I never want to be euphoric again. I can’t be even if I wanted to. Knowing I was bipolar made me very scared of myself. Not scared of what I would do to other people, but what I would do to myself. I could never hurt anyone. I don’t even kill bugs. Except mosquitos. Fuck mosquitos!  But I was terrified of living with myself. All of a sudden I wanted to be anyone else. I was 24 years old and figured I had another 50 years to live with myself. I couldn’t take it for that long. Not like this. Everyday was a struggle. Everyday I felt closer to death. I had to do something. Or dig my own grave.

              At times I wished I had cancer instead. The last kind of illness you want is one that’s mental. I’m not mental. Or am I? I don’t know. FUCK! I’m sorry. Go fuck yourself! You’re so nice. Yeah. I might be. Looking back to the time I found out about my illness, I remember wishing they would have killed me instead. I felt this was the worst of illnesses. Worse than cancer. With cancer, you know you’re fucked. With bipolar, one day you’re the happiest person alive and the next day you wanna jump off the next ledge. It’s like a woman on her period. Unpredictable, highly dangerous, yet so beautifully emotional. 

                  I’m not ashamed of being bipolar. I’m not ashamed of being who I am. I can strip completely naked in front of a thousand people and be completely comfortable. The way I perceive it is, you are all people. Just a bunch of people. Your opinions or what you think doesn’t matter. You may think “oh what an idiot”, but the next second you’d move on with your lives. We are all just flesh and bones. That’s why i’m choosing to be so honest. To make you see that it doesn’t fucking matter. We are all just people. After reading this book I probably will never even cross your mind again. With our faults, with our uniqueness, with our ideas, with our sins, and blessings. We are all fucked up in our own ways. We are all different with similar needs. We all want something. We all want to feel important, we all want to be acknowledged, loved, cared for and about. We are not the same, but not so different. Stop living your lives to please other people. Stop caring about what other people think of you. Stop trying to impress people you don’t like. Stop buying material things you don’t need and can’t afford, just to rub your egos. There are more important things than you and me in this world. We are just a tiny cell in a world of organisms. There are 8 billion other humans, and billions of other species on this earth. Think about that for a second. Billions of other life forms besides yourself. You don’t particularly matter. Trust me. Your life and importance to yourself is not as significant to anyone or everything else. A baby crying without a mother matters more than your precious car. A street dog dying of hunger is more important than what you’re going to wear for your date. The celebrities and movie stars you so admire and love are not better than a man working 80 hours a week on minimum wage to support his family. Once you realize the world is bigger than you, it doesn’t matter if you’re rich, famous, good looking, gay, sick or fucking bipolar. You’re a nobody. One day, dust will be all that’s left of you. Just do your best, live and move on to the unknown. 

 So what am I looking for? I’m looking for a source of where we went wrong as people. I want to know when life became a matter of rules to follow of which we have no choice. When did we start believing in sin and evil? Why are we afraid of other people and why can’t we just celebrate our differences instead of propagating hatred? For many years I was very insistent on changing the mentality of the world around me. I wanted people to break from their shells and explore the world around them. I tried to shake people and get them to step outside of their comforts and ignore the warnings given to them by idle media sources. I wanted everyone to see the world like I can and to appreciate their own freedoms which they never knew they had. I stopped that. Such is the luxury of youthful idealism. Now it’s only me. I rarely tell strangers where i have been in this world and the things i have seen. If they are interested they will find out for themselves. Furthermore, I stopped arguing with people ignorant about the world. This is me. Who are you?

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13 comments

  1. All people are bipolar, LIFE is too. You are able to go much lower and much higher than most, that’s all. These are just feelings and emotions. Getting out of it or staying in it is a CHOICE. I know this because this story is NOT unfamiliar to me at all. Actually it is so familiar that I read it as if you said “I went to the supermarket and bought a ding dong.” You are only different from many others because of this ability GOD gave you. HE himself will explain to you what you are made this way. Ask HIM. His name is YAHUAH and YAHUSHA takes you to HIM. You are SET APART, set yourself APART. http://www.renewedminds2purehearts.com

  2. i have ADHD (mood swings pretty much like bipolar) and i refuse any kind of medication and i am a self made pagan in a muslim family 😀 i ve read it 5 times already and i will not stop at that, i know 😀 you made me feel good about myself once again thank you

  3. Hello Francesc. You have been a real special person for me but as I read this chapter, I just realize I have nothing to do more than respect you and make you know that I am always here for you. You are such an inspiration for me and for all the people who have psychologic disorders or illnesses. I have loved you, I love you, and I will love you no matter what. And this chapter will always be my favorite one. You deserve the best of everything. Love yourself, love Cansel, love your life and love your disorder. I bet you do.

  4. Hi eser! I just read your post on bipolar, its such an insipiration to see what a beautiful honesty you showed right there❤ you are a true man you deserve all the happiness i hope your story will inspire all those bipolar survivours out there! Stay strong as a psychology student doing her final year i felt honoured with what i chose to do one more time! What a great feeling to take a step into wanting to help and understand those out there who are some how some way identical to a total stranger! We are nobody in such a cruel world but what a beautiful man you hsve become no matter how hard life has been❤

  5. eser abi,

    Oncelikle bütün ictenliginle bu kitabi yazip paylastigin icin tesekkür ederim. 18 yasindayim ve ben de yasadiklarina benzer seyleri yasiyorum. psikiyatra filan gitmedim ama ters giden bir seyler oldugunun farkindaydim hep. bu yazi beni cok duygulandirdi ayni zamanda umutlandirdi da. hayat garip bir sey.

  6. Dear Eser,
    I’ve read your post when you had been in”Survivor” and find the form of your writing very interesting. You can bring your feelings very good across. Your posts are amazing and I love to read them. I hope that you will post more of this kind of blogs!

  7. Cok ozelsin hem de çok özel.İctenligin,samimiyetin,dürüstlüğün,kalbin,insanliğin,okurken o kadar etkilendim ki.. Her şeyi yenebilecek güctesin..Seni her şeyinle oldugun gibi,seni sen olduğun için seven o kadar cok ibsan var ki ben de onlardan biriyim..Mutluluğun için, bu güzel kalbin için, sağligin için hep gönülden dua ediyorum.Bazen tanimasanda gönülden gönüle giden bir yol vardir.Sayiysiz insan tarafından Gercekten sevilmek herkese nasip olmaz..öyle kalpten seviliyorsun ki..bu sevgiyi her zaman kalbinde hisset..

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