This week has been a difficult one for me, with today being a very depressing day, as it is the anniversary of my sister’s suicide. Am I in a depressive episode? No. I’m just in a lot of pain, because I miss my sister horribly, still, after five years.
They say it gets easier as the years go by, but either they’re just trying to be nice, or just lying, because it certainly hasn’t proven to be true in my case. Each year, the pain is still the same. I can’t help it. Every year on this day, I think of Debi, and I hurt. I miss her so much. I have other girlfriends, but she was my best friend.
We were like twins, even though we were three years apart. In fact, I called her the twin of my heart. She used to call me every morning from Florida (I live in Tennessee) and we would “have coffee together,” talking about everything under the sun, you know, just sister stuff. It took a LONG time before I could go into a store and past the sister things without crying. In fact, even after all this time, even though I no longer cry, it still bothers me. She was my only sister.
Today I am in pain. There is a hole in my life where my sister used to be. I even still get angry at the injustice of it all. And I wish with all my heart that she could still be with me. But I am not that selfish. Because for her to still be here would mean that she would still be in the incredible amount of pain she must have been in to do what she did, and I would never want that.
You see, Debi had bipolar disorder . Some people question why I get up on my soapbox and preach about people with bipolar staying on their medications, well, this is why. My sister went off her medications, and shortly thereafter became irrational, and killed herself. I believe it went back to her going off her medications. If only she had stayed on her meds, she would have stayed balanced and kept her bipolar disorder manageable. But she didn’t, and now she is gone.
God, how I miss her. Especially today. She was so full of life! She had so much to live for! And so many people who loved her! Debi was the kind of person you loved to be around, because she made you feel so much “bigger” than you were. She made you feel better about yourself. She was always building other people up. She was such an encourager. Always positive. Always fun to be around. She believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself.
That’s another reason why today is especially hard for me. I have always wanted to be a successful writer, have dreamed about it since I was 12 years old. And Debi dreamed about it along with me. The difference was, she actually believed it would happen, whereas I doubted. So now that I have finally found success with it and have four books published, I wish she was here to share in my success – to see that I actually made it! But she isn’t. And I feel that loss acutely. I want her to be here and to be happy with me.
Do I want to blame the bipolar disorder? You bet I do. That’s where part of the anger comes from. See, in really bad bipolar episodes, I too tried to kill myself (thank God I never succeeded). So I know the pain you can be in, and how irrational you can become. But medication helped stabilize me, and I am balanced today, and have never tried suicide again. But I can’t be angry at my sister. She was my sister, after all. She was irrational, and not really responsible for what she did. At first I was angry at her, though, for leaving me alone. That anger now is only sadness and loss, and pain.
There is so much I wish I could share with Debi now. Not just my success with the publication of my books, but my success with life and the management of my bipolar disorder. With successful management of my disorder comes a greater quality of life than I’ve ever had before, and I wish I could share that with her – to encourage her that things could have gotten so much better for her, if only she hadn’t given up.
I counsel people now who are suicidal, and I tell them Debi’s story. And I blog about it and write about it. And, like I said, preach about people staying on their medications. Because I don’t want even one more family member to go through the pain of loss that I have to go through if their loved one should go off their bipolar meds and kill themselves.
I go through this pain every year acutely on the anniversary of my sister’s suicide, but I live with the pain of loss every single day. No, it does not get easier. For me, nor anyone else in my family. We all feel it.
If you have bipolar disorder, I beg you to stay on your medications, no matter how much you don’t want to. Think about your family and what might happen if you don’t. Remember my sister. Remember Debi’s story.