While in the throes of a down cycle, you honestly believe that life will never be enjoyable, hopeful, worthwhile again. This is depression's turn to practice her ricks on your fragile psyche and, trust me, if you are bipolar, you are an easy, easy target. This is why: all that shit that seemed like such a brilliant idea while mania made you her bitch, is coming back to bite you on the ass now. Depression is relentless. There is no reprieve from her infiltration into your thoughts. Now, you are experiencing a constant barrage of guilt, embarrassment and shame. Which leads to a new problem: lying. Lying to try and cover up the mistakes you have made. Which leads to more guilt, shame and embarrassment. In no time at all, you have managed to convince yourself that you are a worthless waste of space and oxygen and that the world, your family and your friends (if you are lucky enough) to have them would all be immensely better off without you. You cannot live with the decisions you have made. You cannot face the consequences.
It is then that the thoughts of suicide begin to creep in. Like wisps of smoke from a fire raging on the other side, they slide silently, undetected, under the door of you consciousness. At first, they flirt around the edges of your thoughts, so that you don't really recognize them for what they are. They are only the images of ideas. But just like a room separated from a fire by a door, eventually the entire space is overtaken and black with the smoke, or in this case the ideas. Every shameful thought, every guilty action, hell, every thing within you is met with the thought of escape. Suicide has become your temptress and she beckons you at every turn.
Initially you are strong at resisting her siren song, but over time, if your down cycle is long enough, your fortitude begins to waver and plans, scenarios, begin to play like scenes from a movie in your head. Pills, nooses, razor blades, bullets, carbon monoxide all have cameos in this gruesome film of your own imagining. You keep razor blades hidden in the closet and learn how to form a make shift noose. The ideas begin to become actual plans. You begin to weigh the pros and cons of each method, quite rationally at this point. This one is too messy. This one too painful. Exactly how do you hook a garden hose up to a tailpipe, anyway? It seems easy enough, but trust me, the logistics are a little tougher than you might imagine.
The one thing that keeps from falling off of this precipice of escape into the abyss is my children. I simply do not want them to be the ones to find me. I don't want them to think it was their fault, that I left to escape them. Of all the things in this world, they are they one thing that still seems to bring laughter and joy and I don't want to hurt them; to traumatize them with my abandonment. It is something, I fear, I know deep in the soul of my being, that they would not recover from. And the cycle that I am trying stop within my self will transfer to one of them, like a spirit of possession in some horror film.
So, I hang on, gripping desperately to ledge until this cycle passes and the next one begins.