The diagnosis is one no one wants. It is a wretched, horrible illness and carries with it a stigma. No one wants that either. However, I have that disease, always have had mental illness, although my bipolar diagnosis was not handed to me until the age of forty. I hate it, loathe it, want to bury it or throw it into the depths of the sea, but I can’t. You see, it is part of who I am.
It started in childhood and carried on throughout all my adult years. This is my story. It includes the teeter-totter ups and downs as well as the psychotic times and paranoia, hallucinations, and feelings of grandeur. My whole life is illuminated for you to read.
“Run!” I knew I had to get away. “run! Before he gets me and makes me go to the insane asylum. How I feared that place. My thoughts were jabbering through themselves and through each other. “Insane asylum! He’ll put me in there! Oh no, not me!” “ I ran into the house, washed the mud off my hands and arms, changed clothes, and threw a few things in my knapsack. Then I grabbed a sharp knife, tucked it in my belt, and ran through the woods. I needed to think. Traffic roared by on route 128, just beyond the woods. “Thumb it,” I silently yelled at myself. Thumb your way to Canada.”
Sharon Carruthers, a retired nurse, enjoys a stable and productive retirement, organizing and leading out in depression seminars, and Bible study groups. She supports bipolar individuals and their families. She and her husband, Douglas, live in Kansas. They have two adult sons and a delightful shih-tzu named Singlea.
Corrine Vanderwerff, a freelance writer, makes her home in Sherwood Park, Alberta.