Saturday, 30 December 2017

Grieving For Yourself.

Do you ever sit there and wonder what your life would have been like if mental illness didn't dig it's claws in?
Fantasize about what could and should have been?

This is something I know all too well.
That constant ache for what has been lost.
The pain you feel when you realise that life is gone and things will never be the same.

It is grief.
Something has been lost.
Someone is gone forever.
That someone is you.
Or at least the version of you that 'should' have been.
The future you dreamed of is shattered.

After experiencing real grief for the first time this year I realised that grief is exactly what I've been going through my whole life. Losing my uncle was the first time I had experienced loss but not grief. I have lived with grief every single day.

Essentially a life has been lost and grief is the natural process that follows that.
They talk about 5 stages of grief and all are experienced regardless of who you're grieving for.

The grieving process started for me when I got my diagnosis.
I felt many different things. It was a confusing and emotional time. For a little while I was numb and refused to even talk about it. Even now saying the word 'bipolar' is hard for me. The word rests on the tip of my tongue too scared to be heard. I don't want people to know.
I still hold that little chunk of denial. Almost like if I don't say it it isn't true.

After a week or so I began to spiral downwards. For years I had consoled myself with the idea that my situation was temporary and that I would be back on track in no time and so to be told that bipolar and avpd would never go away... well it was devastating. Utterly devastating.
My little bubble -of obvious denial- had been burst and there I was hurtling towards the ground at full speed.
More weeks went by and I was filled with anger and frustration. I was angry at everything.
I was filled with a relentless rage that bubbled over endlessly.
I remember the words 'why me?' being played on repeat and being furious at the cards I'd been dealt.
Why play a game that isn't fair?
I was and have been angry for a very long time.

I am still holding onto my grief. I am still in the midst of it.
The clouds come over and I''m thrown right back into the eye of the storm that is grief.
The sadness and pain ebbs and flows. Sometimes it tricks me by lying dormant only to spring out on me when I least expect it.

Grief is a journey. 
I will always look back and miss what could have been. I will always look at people I used to know and wonder what would have happened if I didn't go through what I did.
What university would I have studied at?
Would I have a career that I love?
Perhaps I'd be planning my wedding or counting down the days until my baby is due.
Maybe I'd be living abroad.

But I'm not doing any of those things. That's another life. Another me.

Some days I remember faces that I loved and lost through mental illness.
I remember the days when I felt carefree and happy.
I remember all the memories that were made when I wasn't depressed or unstable.
I remember all the plans I made with friends that I don't have anymore.
I remember planning for the future. Wondering who I'd fall in love with and what they'd be like.
I remember studying so hard and knowing that it would pay off.
I think of all the places I went and the things I saw.
I remember the butterflies that came to live in my stomach when I saw a certain person smile.

I remember the old me.
There is so much I remember.
And I look back at her and try to smile.
I smile at the memory of her and the ghost she left behind.

She's gone now.
And I must put all my energy into living this life.
The life that is real.
The life that is mine.


"The reality is you will grieve forever. You will learn to live with it. You will heal and rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole but you will never be the same again. Nor should you be the same nor should you want to be"
-Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

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