Dear Mr. Psychologist,
This week is the National Suicide Prevention Week. Ironically my birthday is this week on September 11th. I almost didn’t make it.
I pick up a daisy. Its petals are large, layers of pieces, bright and colorful with fluffy centers and sturdy stems. Sturdy like you. I add it to a vase. Pink, yellow, fuschia, and bright orange flowers blooming in an array of colors. I tuck in pieces of green fern in varying lengths.
In class, we transported into a world where we connected with nature. We peered into Thoreau’s “The Ponds” and Emerson’s transparent eye in “Nature”. Shivering, we felt goose bumps on our arms as the cry of Whitman’s “Song of the Tree” resounded through the land. “This Compost” lay nearby, rich in nutrients and organic matter. Ambling through John Muir’s “American Forests”, the heavy scent of pines, cedars, redwoods, and sequoias wafted through the air and filled our noses. We even caught a glimpse of Julia “Butterfly” Hill atop “Luna”-a giant redwood.
There was not only a connection in nature-we shared a connection as friends. You were a sturdy stem that held up the fragile petals of the daisy.
I didn’t know then, but I was suffering from terrible mood swings. Happy and hypomanic, elated and exuberant. On top of the world. Then I would suddenly plummet and crash, crying uncontrollably, not understanding what was wrong. There were days when I couldn’t get out of bed, when I experienced rapid cycling. According to statistics, those suffering from Bipolar Disorders commit suicide at a high rate of 25%. It is frustrating to experience such devastatingly vast highs and lows, when it is not controlled.
But you were there, a rainbow bouquet of bright colorful gerbera daisies with sturdy stems. When a person sees someone with qualities that one aspires to be like, then that person mirrors it. You were optimistic, saw the best in everything, loved life with a zest, lived life to the full and open hearted, gentle, sweet, giving and joyous in giving.
I couldn’t sleep and was up with racing thoughts and plans of grandiosity, driven by creativity. My condition worsened and I became maniac, disillusioned at times and even got lost and hitchhiked at times. When I called you crying, I decided not to end my life. It has taken a couple of months to regain my strength and sanity, but my moods and mind are becoming more stable and clear.
I found out I have Bipolar II. I know this doesn’t excuse the lies and pain I’ve caused you, but it does explain some of the behaviors. I want to tell you sorry for the trouble I’ve caused you, but cannot ask you for forgiveness. I have hurt you so much and will spend the rest of my life trying to make up for it. Bipolar II, we love so deeply, yet hurt so easily. Yet hurt others so deeply. Forgiveness is a process and it is earned. But I would like to ask you to accept my gratefulness. I am finally getting the treatment that I’ve needed since I was a teenager. Thank you for being a sturdy stem that has held me up during my difficult times. Thank you Mr. Psychologist for saving my life.