Bipolar Thoughts

One in a Million

Every year, about 2 million teenagers attempt suicide, and about 2,000 succeed.

I was one of those attempts. I wouldn’t say it was a very serious attempt, but I would say that the fact that I survived made me question my previously held skeptical views on God and religion.

I had been depressed for months and months before I ever considered suicide. It was before I knew I had a condition, and before I had been in counseling for depression or anxiety. At the time I didn’t know that not everyone felt the way I felt or thought the way I thought. I just assumed it was normal.

All three of my suicide attempts have been accompanied by major triggers. Not everyone with depression or Bipolar is like that, but for me, that is how it goes. In fact, I have had people question whether or not I actually suffer from depression, or if I’m just ill-equipped to deal with normal life-events. This has come from family as well as other people with Bipolar. Interesting vantage point.

Anyway, the trigger in this case was my first devastating break-up. I had been dating a girl for about 9 months, and I was goo goo gaga over her. I had never been, nor have I probably been since, this passionately in love with someone. She was a person that continued to pull at my heart strings for years and years after we broke up, long after I realized we weren’t good for each other, and ages past the point that she decided I was too much of an idiot to make her happy.

So we broke up. Things were terrible but I got through them. I didn’t eat for a week. She agreed to talk to me almost exactly a week after she broke up with me and I went to her house and we talked and I felt so much better. On my drive home I picked up Wendys for my first meal in over a week. I was a trainwreck.

But then I really got into a deep depressed funk, after I felt better about the break up oddly enough, and I made the most regrettable choice I have ever made.

Her upcoming birthday became a focus for me, and I fixated on it so much that I felt I needed to kill myself before it got here. So the night before, I tried to suffocate myself with a thick plastic bag and a belt. I passed out, woke up in the early morning and just went to bed.

The next day, on her birthday, I told her and a friend of ours what I had done the night before. The ex-girlfriend lost it, understandably, and I would guess was equally scared, shocked, hurt, and angry with me for not only doing this terrible thing, but telling her, and telling her on her birthday.

I went on with my day, feeling terrible about what I had done. I know that it looks and sounds like I was trying to hurt her in the deepest way I could on a special day for her, but that really wasn’t my intention. I was just trying to tell the only two people who knew the situation and knew I had thought about suicide what I had done. I was reaching out. I didn’t really realize what I had done until I did it, and at that point I knew that I just had to take whatever was coming my way, I deserved it. I deserved it all.

I’m not sure that I was ever forgiven for that, and I don’t think I ever asked to be, and I certainly don’t expect to be. There is still quite a bit between us to this day, and I don’t really know how to deal with it at this point. I still feel terrible for what I did, and as I stated earlier, it is the most regrettable thing I have ever done. It is something I don’t even know how to apologize for or make better.

After I told the two girls, I went on with my day. I went to class and I assumed they did as well, but they didn’t. I was paged to come down to the counselor’s office not too much later and I really didn’t know what was going on. When I got there I was told that what I had shared earlier that morning was told to a counselor. I had to stay there and talk to the staff about what had happened while they called my parents into school. They were going to take me to a psychiatric hospital for an evaluation.

I was genuinely terrified. I had some experience with hospitals like this, visiting my mom in them on several occasions, and they seemed fine. But I was then, and I still am, terrified of sleeping in a hospital. That was the main thing that I focused on as we drove over there, figure out a way to go home at night. After I was evaluated, I was told that I likely suffered from Bipolar Disorder, the same thing my mother was told when she was around the same age. They were going to admit me to the hospital, and I would spend a week there in their day program, I got to go home at night. I really was not feeling better by the end of the week, but I lied about it to the doctors and got to go home. I was worried that word had gotten out at school and that if I was gone too long it would only get worse. I didn’t want to have to go back to a school where I felt terrible, and I would be mocked or whatever. Thankfully, I don’t think a single person who knew told anyone who didn’t. Or if they did everyone was very understanding. No one has ever, to this day, said anything negative to me about my disease or my suicide attempts. I’m very thankful for that.

Sometimes I think about what it had to have been like to receive the phone call that my parents got at work. They had never talked to me about noticing I was acting weird or anything. And I had never said a word to them about feeling down or having suicidal thoughts. So I doubt they had any clue this was even a possibility. I don’t know though, maybe they were picking up on signals I was trying my hardest not to lay out. It had to be extremely difficult. I wouldn’t say my parents didn’t show how much it bothered them then, but I didn’t notice. I notice it now. I don’t know if they changed or I did.

It worries me that one day I might get a similar phone call. My only hope is that I get a phone call before something terrible happens.


  • Couple of things:
    1. I think it is incredibly cool and brave how open you are about your bipolar disorder. Given the stigma associated with mental illness, it takes a lot of courage to open up like you have. My niece had bipolar disorder, and she was one of the successful suicide attempts two years ago, at 16 years old.
    2. Did you see this essay in the New York Times?

    A woman writes about her struggles with bipolar disorder and the various treatment modalities she’s tried and other complications. It’s an interesting read and reminded me a lot of your blog. I really hope I’m not the 10th person to share that link with you. I know whenever something “deaf” comes up in the news I get spammed with the same link from a bunch of well-meaning people.


    • Thanks for your comments. I had read that piece yesterday morning, but no, no one shared it with me.

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