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This is no literary masterpiece.

It is largely unedited and a simple transcript from an off the cuff recording. It is completely about suicide.

I write it down as yet another way to reach out and find the one person who needs to read this or watch this. If there is such a person, I hope it finds you.

November 23rd, 2019 marks ten years since the day I shot myself.

It also marks ten years since a resolute decision that I would not go there again, that I would survive.

It’s not been ten years since my last suicidal thought.

That day was not my first suicidal thought.

It wasn’t impulsive. …

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If you have bipolar, you’re chasing the unicorn that is management if you haven’t already tamed it. Everyone jumps to talk about how they manage the depressive episodes that strike.

But what about the manic ones?

We work to avoid all episodes of mania, but the battle for management comes to a truce at best. A ceasefire that has no set time limit and can end at any time. We may find ourselves depressed or manic or in the danger zone between without much notice.

It’s no surprise there are few tips for making it through an episode of mania. …

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We plod through this world as if it is a punishment.

Work builds a supply of resentment and various sized piles of assigned value currency. At home, we curse the fact that work comes tomorrow or Monday and do our best to ignore one another in favor of our phones.

It’s relaxing. It’s how I unwind.

The assigned value currency (AVC) is allocated to fulfill obligations first, feeds us second, then fills basic needs. The dregs serve as funds for entertainment.

It’s so easy to become consumed by the pursuit of only the last use for AVC! It’s a time away from all of the ways the world drags us down. We seek that singular piece of…

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I made a tool for myself that changed my bipolar management from ineffectual to possible. It coupled with coping mechanisms and brought me out of the years full of chaos. I found a way to measure my emotions.

Before it, I barely managed to exert some measure of control upon my episodes. My first ten years were tumultuous, and the next four weren’t a whole lot better. I lived, yes, but it was either in pain, chaos, or fear of the previous two.

I didn’t feel it was much of a life.

During my last hospitalization, I pledged to do more than I had been doing. …

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I didn’t set out to make clingy kids that seek out hugs, cuddles, snuggles, and the like. It wasn’t intentional, and they may even become personal space invaders in the future.

It wasn’t my intention to turn them into creatures that attach themselves to me any time I’m sitting on something squishy.

I think I have to take responsibility for it, though.

Their future spouses may curse my name as they barricade themselves in the bathroom to escape their affection.

“You’ve reached your cuddle quota for the day!”

they may shout through the door.

I can even hear their friends:

“Dude. We don’t have to hug at every goodbye.”


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We all need breaks from time to time. It can be good for us to take a break, even from the things we love, in times of turmoil.

My house of cards was beautiful. It was a carefully constructed thing consisting of a beautiful wife, three sweet children, many other supportive family members, a good job, and a carefully managed case of bipolar I disorder.

I had recently rediscovered the wonders of writing. I wasn’t sure if I was any good at it, but the joy of creation and sharing was great.

I loved my life and couldn’t imagine how it could get better.

Other plans surfaced, and something in my mind…

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It is tough to separate the treatment of mental illness from the effects the illness has on ourselves and others. It’s hard to see the tears in the eyes of a loved one and not feel responsible.

It can seem logical to believe we should seek to get better for them. It would show that you see and care about the pain of our loved ones. It could be a way to take away the pain they feel.

The things they need might not be the right path for an overall treatment approach, though. …

They made the choice to support us. We don’t get to make that choice for them.

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Mental illness can have a sick sort of way of convincing us that we are too much of a burden on our loved ones. It tells us that our supporters would be happier if they didn’t have to deal with the emotional turmoil that surfaces around us.

Is there any truth to it?

Even if there is, are we remotely qualified to make that decision?

I have caused pain.

I don’t have to look too hard to see ways that my mental illnesses have caused pain in those I love.

I can look back and see how I’ve given my wife both the happiest and saddest moments of her life…

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I seek something different. Confused? I was at first.

Everything in our society tells us that we should strive to be happy. We are directed to chase the purple dragon in the pursuit of a feeling of ecstasy. We find bits and pieces that leave us wanting more. They urge us to continue the chase.

My therapist mentally slapped me.

It happened in our last session. I was telling her how frustrating it was to be completely happy, with everything in my life, and yet still be struck down with an episode of depression. It was a purely chemical depression, and the lack of a focal point was almost frustrating.

You’re not happy.


New mental health diagnoses are difficult to accept, but should they be?

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I was recently bestowed with the diagnosis of borderline personality disorder. I had a distinct idea that it was coming, even though we had not addressed it in therapy, but it still shook me to the core.

I don’t think it should have, though.

It wasn’t the first mental health condition whose label has been placed upon me. It’s an add-on to my bipolar, anxiety, and PTSD diagnoses, so a mental health diagnosis itself wasn’t the source of the shock.

Receiving a new diagnosis feels like a new set of problems.

For some unknown reason, the act of placing the diagnosis upon me felt as though a change had been made to who I was. …

Justin Jagels

I am manager of bipolar disorder and anxiety, and PTSD. I write about my experiences in the hopes of helping others.

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