Wake up, have a cup of coffee, have four medicines with it. Feel bad about yourself, look into the mirror, feel guilty. Lie down on your bed, get paralysed, think of everything you could accomplish but you can’t move enough to do it. Silently you somehow slip into sleep again till a panic attack wakes you up.
I’m Tannika. I’m 32, wife, sister, friend, and I have Bipolar Disorder, major depressive disorder, anxiety, PTSD. This is my life.
When my mother passed away when I was twenty, I got into my major depressive phase. I tried to attempt suicide by overdosing on sleeping pills. That’s when I was diagnosed with depression. After that, as days went by, I disappeared more and more into depression.
I got addicted to sleeping pills. First, it was one a day to get through the day. Next I was taking two, three, four a day to just get through the day.
For the next five years I tried to commit suicide six times. My father and brother saved me of course, but I didn’t want to be saved. I went to a lot of doctors and therapists but no one paid any special attention to me so I stopped therapy.
In 2009 I met my partner, who is now my husband. I was happy, I was thrilled. I was doing things that I was incapable of doing before. I thought my depression is gone and I’ll be fine again. But I didn’t know my brain had other plans for me.
I drowned again into a mist of depression. This time I was sure I would end my life. On my partner’s insistence I went to another psychiatrist. This time I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The doctor said I was in major depressive phase for almost five years after which I was manic, which is why I thought I was getting better.
I lost my father to cirrhosis of the liver in December 25th 2012. I didn’t know he was depressed too after my mother’s untimely death. I was too self involved, too invested in my own brain’s chemical imbalance.
I have kept my mental illness a secret for over a decade. No one but my brother and husband knew about it. I came out with my story on December 2015, and it rather felt good to finally accept myself for who I am.
But it doesn’t end there. I’ve been getting worse. Apparently a decade of non treatment has done more harm than good to me. Now I struggle every moment of every single day just to stay alive for the people who love me, who have accepted me.
I feel like a burden. I have never been able to hold a job for more than one, two, or at most three months because of my illness. I am 32, unemployed, without any prospects. I don’t see any light for the future.
I still have a little hope though, which has made me start a cause which is called Hope is Good. It is about fighting the stigma that’s attached to mental illness in our society. But my fight is losing it’s light.
I have been on suicide watch again for the last two weeks. I have been hallucinating my mother, the same way I’ve last seen her in the hospital. With tubes coming out of her. She asks me to end it all, to end my life. And I have tried it several times. If not for my brother and husband, I might as well be dead by now and not writing this.
My doctor has given me sedatives to keep me from self harm, but I did cut my thighs. I’m in a lot of pain and it’s getting worse.
I have made a lot of bad decisions, thanks to my illnesses and I regret them all. But I can’t go back in time and change anything. I wish I could.
My illnesses make it hard for me to trust people, to have friends, to socialise. So I practically have no one, except one friend who accepted me for who I am. And I’m glad I have her. I’m glad I have my husband who supports me even in this time when I am trying to kill myself regularly. I’m glad I have a brother who makes me understand what’s real and what’s not when I’m lost.
But I don’t know how much more I can take of this. I’m slowly losing control of my mind, my body. Everything I own, I feel like I’m losing it all.
Sometimes I feel like the world around me is crumbling down and I’m just a helpless onlooker. I cannot help but look at everything fall down.
I hate waking up every morning, to take medication, to go through the day aimlessly. To take another five medications at night to try and sleep. I’m tired. I don’t know when it will all end. I don’t know if I’ll ever be normal. I just know that I am exhausted.
I can’t pick up the book I want to read, can’t watch a series I want to, can’t do photography that was my life once. I’m slowly fading and I can feel it. It is perhaps the worst feeling in life to fade away in front of yourself.
I have given up expectations of a good life, a baby in the future, a normal, healthy life with the people I love around me. I’m slowly dying inside and I have no one to understand that.
Surely my husband understands that I’m struggling, but how much can it be expected of anyone to understand an invisible illness that’s eating up my brain.
I don’t know how many more illnesses are feeding my brain. I don’t know how to live. But all I know is the shine, the glimmer of hope is paling in comparison to the hope I had for life.
I am Tannika, and this is my story.
Tannika is a 32 year old mental health advocate, currently living in Kolkata, India, with her husband and brother as her support system. She’s struggling every day with her bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, anxiety and PTSD. She has a cause of her own called Hope is Good to fight against the stigma attached to mental illness in our society. Find her on Twitter at @McDarkTwisty.