On the outside, everything is fine. I am sitting with people who know me, who care about me. I am not alone, I am not being tormented outwardly, I am not in an awkward situation. Everything is normal. Except it's not. Inside my head, I am going over and over every possible situation and scenario that could possibly go wrong. Is she looking at me weird? Why did I wear this dress today? Is there something in my teeth? Why am I such a failure at being a friend? How come no one can tell that inside, I'm drowning? Why would I ever tell anyone? Am I going crazy?
"Excuse me," I say, with a demure smile on my face, and make my way to the restroom. Once inside and alone, I can breathe again. I look in the mirror. Nothing in my teeth, I look fine. Splash some cold water on my face. Straighten my dress, smooth down my hair. Can I escape this event? Can I sneak out? All I want to do is go home. Somehow I manage to leave without anyone noticing, and walk back to my room. Once there, I quickly change into my most comfortable pajamas and in-robe myself in my soft blanket. And the thoughts start again. Why did you have to leave, nothing was wrong? Why are you such a burden? Why can't you just die and get it over with? Do you know that no one would miss you? Everyone would be better off without you. You are crazy. No one cares, just take the pills, and go to sleep...
That was then, this is now. I did have those thoughts, I did overdose, I did try to end my life. But I am so thankful that I was not successful. After a short hospital stay, I was sent to a psychiatrist, who diagnosed me with bipolar and put me on the correct medications for that and an intense anxiety disorder. Now, I was not truly a believer in the powers of medication until I began to feel better. My moods were more balanced, my self-loathing thoughts became less and less noticeable, my social anxiety became more and more manageable, and I started to feel like myself again.
Going years with undiagnosed bipolar made me think that I was crazy, or that I was going crazy. A lot of mental health difficulties can make us feel this way. Others can include: anxiety disorders, depression, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorders and multiple personality disorders Don't automatically assume that you are going crazy just because you are experiencing something new or unexplainable. It really is almost always explainable—sometimes we just need help finding answers. Catalog your symptoms, write them down and when they happen, see if you can find a pattern. Identify any new stressors in your life that may be making things more difficult. Go to your doctor for a physical to rule out any physical problem. Maybe go talk to a therapist, who can refer you to a psychiatrist if need be. Look into changing your diet, and trying to exercise more. Spend time outside, the sunshine will do you wonders. Don't isolate yourself. Ask if you need help. If the friends you have in your life are not very supportive, you can have a talk with them and explain your situation. But it is also ok to start moving toward new friends who will be more supportive and loving. Create a support system that you can rely on. I am still in constant contact with many members of my support system because they have made themselves such huge parts of my life. They saved my life. Try and be there for someone else if you can, someone who is going through a similar battle, but only do this when you feel strong enough to do so. And remember, you aren't crazy, you aren't alone, and your life matters.