The dictionary definition of futility is “useless.” Another definition is “won’t ever get better.” That’s how I feel when I think about not wanting to live anymore. That’s how I feel a lot … because I feel useless a lot … and because most of the time I feel pretty sure that things will never get better. My existence seems utterly futile … and therefore completely pointless.
A defining characteristic of many bipolars is thinking about suicide, attempting suicide or succeeding at suicide. Personally, I rarely contemplate actually killing myself. Usually I fantasize about simply not existing.
When a counselor or therapist asks me if I feel like hurting myself, or if I have recently thought about hurting myself … I usually look away and wonder how to answer honestly and accurately.
“Not exactly,” I say. This, essentially, means “Yes,” to a therapist working with a bipolar client.
I explain that I just feel tired, exhausted. That I hate the idea of never getting better, of living like this day after day, month after month, forever. I just want it to stop.
“So, do you have a plan to hurt yourself?”
I try to convey the nuance of what I am feeling … it usually requires having worked with a therapist for a while for them to get it ... or at least for them to believe me when I say I’m not going to hurt myself. I suspect that some other bipolars know what I am talking about.
Futility. I look back on my life and I feel exactly the same as I always have … despite all this work, all this therapy, all this treatment, these pills … Ugh.
A lot of the time I just can’t see things getting better. And the thought of things not getting better is excruciating. It’s more than I can imagine living with for another minute longer.
My efforts at self-annihilation have largely been in the areas of alcoholism and addictions. I now consider recovery from chemical abuse to be essential to achieving the best possible mental health I can hope for.
It’s funny … I drank because I couldn’t stand the thoughts and voices in my head … I couldn’t take the mania for one minute longer, and the alcohol did quiet it all down and make me feel “normal” and relaxed – for a couple of hours. But the cost was enormous. Looking back, nothing made my mental health symptoms worse than alcohol—nothing.
So, now I’m stuck with me and, yes, the mania, the voices, the crushing depression, the mixed episodes that tear me apart and wear me out. And almost every day I find myself saying, “This is absolutely pointless … am I existing simply to be miserable?”
But I keep doing it … so there must be hope in there somewhere!