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  • Writer's pictureLydia Lampert

How Do I Forgive Myself When I Am So Damn Good at Self-Punishment?

Where does one begin to forgive oneself? How does one undo the wrongs one has committed and erase the pain one has inflicted on those one loves? My therapist suggested I start to try and forgive myself a few weeks ago at one of our sessions, but I have no clue as to where I should start. How can I forgive myself when I feel there are so many others that need to forgive me first?

Do I apologize to my children for disappearing and letting this disease kidnap their mother? Do I ask them to disregard all my outbursts in the name of Bipolar? How? I fucking despise this disease right now. The old me is gone, and I don’t even know if I want her back, because this disease is playing with my mind and making me feel as if the old me was horrid, that the pain I inflicted is unforgivable.  Over the course of my life, I have become a master of self-punishment. No one can make me suffer the way I make myself suffer. I am my own worst enemy and continue to look for additional incidents in an effort to foster further self-degradation.  Despite the many people that tell me I am worthy of love and forgiveness, I feel I am not.

I cried today in the bathroom, begging my husband to please tell me I have not done permanent damage to our family. I told him I hate myself right now, because I am being flooded with memories of my misbehavior, my cruelty and my rages. I told him I am tired. I told him I am running out of fight and my thoughts keep sucker punching me.  Should I be happy that I have insight enough to recognize I have done wrong? My father never apologized for any of the pain he inflicted. He lacked any insight and blamed everyone else for his wrong doings.  I have worked my whole life to not be like him.  When I do wrong, I do apologize to my children and tell them I love them.  Is that enough? In a search for self-forgiveness images, I found something that said, “Words can be forgiven, but never forgotten.” The thought petrifies me.  How do I undo the damage I may have done? How do I remove those words from the minds of those I love? Many quotes are along the lines of forgiving oneself with the endless possibility of being an even better person.  I would love to be able to do that, but right now I am scrambling.

I am desperate for reassurance that everything is going to be okay, but I don’t know if there is any amount of reassurance that will make me feel better.  So where do I start? Do I start by telling myself I have an illness, and that some of these things were beyond my control? I have such a problem relinquishing responsibility to a disease.  I have always lived my life without a crutch, and I really don’t want one now.  I am aware that at times throughout my life, I have been powerless over this chemical imbalance, but I have never felt the magnitude of its force as I do right now.  For someone who has always lived with the misconception of “being in control,” I refuse to admit that I am spinning completely out of control. I clutch and claw daily at life, trying to be “good,” trying to present a healthy image to my family, but the image is fleeting. The “good girl” appears for moments here and there and gives no warning that she is leaving. Her face goes from “happy” to drained, or even worse, angry as the veins begins to throb in her temples, and are apparent to everyone in her presence. Like a porcelain doll, falling from a shelf, my family scatters to try and catch me and protect me, but I slip through their hands.  BOOM, I hit the floor and shatter into a million tiny pieces.

I told my husband tonight that I feel as if my body is completely covered with open, weeping blisters. Everything hurts. Everything is intensified. Even air hurts when it hits my skin. I don’t know how else to explain it to him. I hurt.  I hurt so much and then I hate myself because I can no longer deny the pain I am feeling. I used to be the master of moving on and now I am stuck. I have been stifled, debilitated, disabled by this awful disease, as if the bipolar was just laying in wait, and is now back with a vengeance, assuring itself that I will never dismiss it again.

Feeling s of anxiety and worry plague my every thought.   I worry that my daughter feels she will never be able to depend on me again. I worry my thirteen year old will be forever scarred by this experience. And I hope and pray my six year old will have no recollection of it in a few years.  I have always been able to stop the pain, ignore the difficult things, to shove them far down and keep moving. I can’t tell you the many times I have been told how strong I was and how people have ponder how I survived and could still be happy after the many curve balls life had thrown at me. Rape, loss of a child, cancer…I believed I overcame them.  I believed I was strong. I believed I was a survivor. I was positive I was a rock and so were my kids.   My children are desperately missing that person.  That person has been replaced by a mother who feels hopeless and unpredictable. That mother is wilting away with black circles under her empty eyes. So again, tell me, how do I forgive myself, when I can’t even accept the sentence I have been handed down by the Gods? How do I absolve myself of my sins when I continue to punish myself for the many things that may have very well been beyond my control?

Bipolar, I curse you from the pits of my dark soul.

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