Cruel Summer

In August of 2014, Robin Williams committed suicide. I took it pretty hard. It’s not so much because I’m a big fan of his work; it’s because of what it said about me. I logged off of Facebook and Tumblr for a full week after this, because I didn’t want to see everybody’s assessment of the event. Regardless, I saw everybody’s assessment of the event. 

As a bipolar, I have a rhythm—autumn puts me into hypomanic phases, winter and spring are pretty stable, and summer lulls me into a deep, deep depression. Therefore I was barely holding on anyway when this happened, crippling me with grief. Add this to the guilt of feeling so miserable, despite how wonderful my life is, with the cats and the spouse and the adventures and the time to write and draw as much as I want; and my own death was not far from my mind. 

It’s said that suicide is the coward’s way out. I disagree with this fully. At those lowest of moments, all I could think of is the burden I put onto my spouse—we’d been married for five years before I’d gotten a proper mental-health diagnosis, and the damage done to her is incalculable. What she needed, I told myself, was to be free of me. 

What this brought me back was my parents. For a long time, they’ve looked at me as the go-to guy for info on bipolar, attention-deficit disorder, and depression. I have them, I’ve learned about them, and in their mind, I’ve beaten them. My sister was not so lucky. She’d attempted suicide many times, and, and I’d been the one who was able to get through to her (this is because I’m anti-platitude).  

It was me my parents turn to for comfort and reassurance. For years, I’ve been an expert in (mostly) keeping the depths of my depression to myself, especially from them. Can you imagine what it would do to them if I finally snapped? So I was able to talk myself out of it, no matter how hard it got. 

In the end, I recovered, then hit my annual manic period, then cycled rapidly, and finally stabilized … for now. Summer’s starting, and I’m worried. Will it be as bad as before? Or will the thrill of returning to the States keep me afloat? I have no idea. 

I haven’t been able to talk about this to anyone but my spouse and my psychiatrist (because reasons), but I really, really need to share with someone else. And my journal is locked … and now it’s out there. Keep your fingers crossed that I make it to late September in a somewhat chipper mood. 


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