Article by: Elpida Verita
Translation: Harriet Spala
We often watch an action film on TV and we often think that no matter how complicated the script of each movie is, the action hero in the end always wins. However in my life things have not been quite like this, regardless if I am the leading star! Or is that not so?
I remember I was a little girl when the big problems begun. I had led a fairly normal life up to then with friends, going out for walks, playing sports, no great upheavals. It was around that period where the enthusiasm begun… an enthusiasm which I still cannot control. Every new acquaintance I made was met with great enthusiasm that led straight to an emotional dependency. I loved being the centre of attention, not a hard thing to accomplish with my skills. Nevertheless this enthusiasm began to grow out of proportion. I brought myself in a difficult situation without much thought to gain even more attention. I cried, I was angry… I thought any reaction was fair as long as I drew the other person’s attention.
A phone call made to my family was enough to bring me to a state of despair and betrayal. Though was it really betrayal? I believe it was more out of agony and interest.
The truth is that you cannot feel the love of others, when you don’t love yourself. That was my missing piece.
Time went by and the enthusiasm came and went in waves. Always to people who I named “important”. Either school teachers, people I admired, or even a relationship. Relationships don’t last of course especially during childhood. “For every ending there is a new beginning”, they say. Only the ending brought me to a new beginning which I wish it never came.
I was always a loner. However there were nights where the idea of being on my own frightened me. When I lost the attention of others, these nights were longer and harder. I used to stare at myself in the mirror and feel uncomfortable. I felt ugly, mean, a failure. I was full of disappointment and every day that came along I felt even a little bit more disappointed.
One day I decided to take some pills that I found in the bathroom cabinet and after I swallowed them I waited to die. I remember my parents driving me in a hurry to the hospital full of agony and so upset. I stayed in hospital for about two days and my feelings were really messed up.
I never felt close to my parents. I thought it would be really hard for them to understand what is going on inside me so I kept them at a distance. However I shall never forget my father’s gaze full of pain, full of tears, my sisters’ look and the desperate effort of my mother trying to find out what led me to do that.
I knew that after the hospital my life would never be the same again. I started visiting a psychologist right after that. I did not wish to go but I never knew that this specialist would help me so much so that today I am able to write about this experience. I was lying to the psychologist for a very long time. I was not cooperating at all with the doctor to solve my issues. My enthusiasm together with the dependency I had did not cease to exist. The problem was that this dependency became self destructive. My happiness was visible whenever the enthusiasm begun followed by my great need for attention.
Whenever I try to describe this need I remember this game we had when we were children… playing with soap bubbles. The larger the soap bubble the greatest was our happiness. Only with some “games” we must be more careful. If life was like this game, where you can burst each one of the soap bubbles with your hand, whether small or large ones, and then blow again and make new soap bubbles and create waves of new ones, then maybe everything might have been easier. It’s not. Whenever this need is covered I cannot ever change the bad moments I created and replace them with better ones.
All the people in my life have been there for me regardless the bad situations I have put them through. However things did get worse. Maybe it was the bad mood I had for a long time, maybe the attempt that followed was enough to lead me to a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist prescribed medication for me and when I asked my mother what was wrong with me, she answered that I was suffering from depression. I took medication for a long time until the psychiatrist thought proper for me to stop taking it.
Time went by, a couple of years too and by now I was enjoying being a university student. However around September I got really worse. One evening I started to self injure myself. Not so deep as to kill myself but enough to feel the physical pain which eased the pain I felt inside me. The psychologist suggested a really good psychiatrist who prescribed more medicine. The diagnosis on the prescription read: “manic depression”.
I did not expect that the name of an illness would fill me with such negative feelings. I sat on a bench wondering whether could anyone in the planet love a girl who is pessimistic and self destructive. Nevertheless the medication began to help me sleep more and kept me calm. This diagnosis though could not explain this self destructive need that led me every time to more extreme situations.
I visited another psychiatrist hoping to understand what was wrong with me. I remember during our first meeting my mood was fairly stable so I could easily explain my experiences up to now. I relapsed yet again a few days later. I dived into this enthusiasm without thinking that if I sunk deeper I would never be able to escape. My next appointment to the new psychiatrist was completely different. The medication changed and multiplied. The diagnosis changed also. I learned that I suffer from “bipolar and personality disorder”. I had brought myself in such a state that I never believed that I would ever be able to find the courage and fight it.
Again the days went by. Just as it happened since I was a little girl. Only one thing was different: this time I knew exactly what I was suffering from.
Maybe the time had come where I ought to stop feeling angry at myself, maybe I ought to stop harming myself and start taking care of myself a lot more. Maybe the time had come to forgive myself, because some things cannot ever be the way I want them to be. Maybe that is not so bad after all. I began to show my love through post cards, through a tight hug, though an “apology” for the harm I created so many times I was not well. Instead of seeking attention and wonder why everyone left me and abandoned me and nobody loved me, I began to think that to be able to feel their love, I would have to love myself first.
Everyone reaches a point in their lives where they feel that they have lost everything. I on the other hand, have felt like this most of my entire life. Today while I write about it, there are many moments of internal suffering and I am still self destructive. My psychiatrist and my psychologist stand by me every time I feel I don’t have the power to overcome those feelings and remind me that I do have the power to overcome anything. Indeed I can overcome these negative feelings!
Even when I feel high or even when I feel low and if sometimes I reach rock bottom – as we all reach rock bottom sometimes, there is a reason: we fall in order to rise again much stronger!