**Trigger Warning** Talk of Suicide Attempt
By now I’m sure most of you have heard the ridiculous statements made on air by the ignorant Tom Sullivan of Fox News Radio. I mean yes it is Fox News, but come on, this is a new low even for them. If you still don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s just a little sample of what Mr. Sullivan stated regarding bipolar disorder, “I’m very skeptical. And I’ve got to tell you, if you haven’t been told, I will tell you. I think bipolar is like the latest fad. Everybody and their brother is getting diagnosed with bipolar. And last time I checked, we all have good days and we all have bad. And I don’t consider that an illness. And I don’t consider it a disability.” Basically the man had his panties in a bunch about people on disability. mediamatters.org transcribed the entire interview with the woman he spoke to and you can listen here
What I want to talk about is how this “fad” almost ended my life. I had been in what we now know was a mixed state for about a week before crashing into depression when I first tried to take my own life. Bipolar disorder was the culprit. It wasn’t some bad day or made up illness that did it. Someone didn’t talk me into feeling this way, as Sullivan so sweetly points out in his broadcast. It was a fucking disease, a terrible all-consuming, debilitating disease.
I was 32 years old the first time I intentionally tried to take my own life. To say that a darkness had crept in slowly would be a half-truth. The darkness had always been there, slipping in and out of the shadow of itself as darkness often does. This was different. This was a despair so encompassing that it cloaked even the tiniest flicker of hope. I was no longer a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister. I was anguish, sorrow, hopelessness, despair. I was lost and the only lifeline I could find was ending my own. My salvation came at the bottom of two bottles: whiskey and sleeping pills. It has to be the good whiskey though, a girl can’t go out on cheap whiskey, that leaves a terrible message behind. For the first time in four days I had something to do that would make sense to someone other than myself. I was going to the store. I was finally being responsible. I took my impending suicide very seriously, I was flawless in it’s execution. Now I just had to wait and drift off to sleep, dreaming of my two daughters, how much I loved them, and how much better of they would be with me gone. There would be nothing to leave behind, nothing of importance to say but twelve words scrawled on the back of an old family photo, “Brinly, I Love You. Tatym, I Love You. Scott, I’m Sorry. Forever”.
I don’t know what was looking out for me that night, but I woke up 17 hours later. I was admitted to hospital and I started a slow process of accepting my illness. Had I heard someone tell me at that point that it was a “fad” I wonder what that would have done to me. I wonder what that has done to the people who heard Sullivan say that. Now does it sound like at that time I wasn’t disabled? Tom Sullivan, you should be ashamed of yourself. People die every single day because of mental illness. Get educated. It’s people like you who make people like me want to curl up in shame, but I’m tougher than you are, and I’m smarter too. There are too many ignorant people like you in our world, but there are also hundreds of thousands of mental health advocates ready to stand up and say, “No. You’re wrong.” And you know what, people will hear us.