In the throes of my bipolar depression and psychosis, all I wanted to do was die. This has happened multiple times in my life. I have attempted suicide multiple times. I was sure that the only way to relieve the stress on my spouse and family was to end it all. I had multiple plans, and the assuredness of mind that this was best. What I didn't see was the little things. The things that ultimately matter most. I don't have much money, and I don't drive fancy cars or live in a mansion. The small things saved me.
You are here
I call you dearest because I know you don't believe it about yourself, but you are dear to so many. Right now, at 19 years of age, you want to cease existing, and you're trying to figure out how. I want to tell you to STOP. Stop and look around you. Stop and feel the softness of your blanket. Stop and look at the pictures surrounding you. Stop and hear the beautiful music playing from your Walkman (remember when you used those?). Go to the kitchen and find something delicious Momma made for supper to taste.
I need to write you a letter of thanks. Though we’ve swapped emails for years with snarky jokes and little life updates, it’s time I thanked you. Truly.
I was a soprano who smoked constantly, swore all the time, and wore inappropriate clothing to my auditions. Yet you saw someone who could do something, who could make something of herself. You saw me.
When I was 20, I was sexually assaulted. The details of such an incident are my own, and not anything of any use in a blog post, but they caused a condition called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. PTSD is found in the DSM-V, and many who have lived a trauma are diagnosed with the condition.
I first knew there was something different about me when I was about 7. I kept my mouth shut, as I was the oldest of 4 kids, and mom and dad had many things to take care of. I could feel my body shift into moments of extreme anger, sadness, or happiness. Whenever these moments "leaked out", my family would attribute it to my "dramatic and theatrical nature". It's no wonder I went into opera performance as a career.
I am 37 years old. I have battled symptoms of bipolar disorder since I was a child, and was diagnosed when I was in my early 20s. Essentially, I have endured and tried to “fix” this disease, even cure it, for 30 years.
When I was in my 20s (I'm 37 now), my bipolar depression got so severe that the docs decided it was time to try ECT, Electroconvulsive Therapy. In the old days, they called it “shock therapy”. The premise is sound: if you cause a 10-60 second seizure in the brain, in at least 10 consecutive treatments, certain biochemicals “right” themselves and those suffering from extreme depression feel better. There is still a cloud of mystery surrounding why the treatment works, but I was willing to try anything.
Greetings all! I am a new blogger here as of this month, and I'm really excited to begin the process of opening up a great door: the door of honest discussion about bipolar disorder. There are so many facets to this condition. I thought I would start off with one I am currently working through.
Laura Sanscartier is a professional singer, part-time librarian and mental health advocate. She is the wife of the most hilarious, loving man in the world. Her parents and siblings are rockstars, and she is lucky to share their DNA! When Laura isn't singing or writing, she can usually be found with her head in a book, or clutching a Netflix remote. She lives in Massachusetts.