As I mentioned last week, my Dad asked me to share his writing. I chose to sit on it for a week to make sure that he wanted it shared and that I was comfortable doing so. I think it's a moving insight into what it can be like to struggle with manic depression.
Here are his words:
For all my life I have lived in darkness and I feel that this has to do with an overblown ego. I was once told that depression is rage turned inward. This rage coupled with ego has placed me in a hell on earth scenario. I hope that by focusing on the light I will be able to reclaim the light and grace of the Lord.
I feel blessed that this revelation struck me just last night. My previous focus had been on a negative diagnosis of Bipolar disorder. The identity I adopted was one of self-pity and darkness. So much dwelled in the darkness that I couldn’t see the light in others. As I dealt with others the intense negativity and hate that were channeled through others ended up repelling them and this was painfully boomeranged back my way, causing my own pain to be compounded, driving me deeper into the infinite dark.
I had attacked others with my pain. Some shot pain back my way. Other fled having no dialogue which is the first step in healing. So most relationships I am involved in are locked in pain and anger. While writing this today I am all alone in the darkest of dark. I pray that Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and God will relight my inner candle. The way the lord said let there be light. And through that act my light will begin to grow through works in order to illuminate my new world. For myself and my family.
It's heartbreaking for me to read this and see his suffering. But at the same time it's all very true. I would love to say that my relationship with my dad was not defined by pain and anger, but anyone who has dealt with a mentally-ill loved one knows how painful and infuriating the process can be.
Last year when my Dad was in the hospital, I told myself that no matter how much I was hurting, he was hurting more. It's so easy to ask why - why can't you get up; why can't you stay in treatment; why isn't my love enough. Seeing the other side may not make it easier to understand, but it does make it easier to empathize.