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prolificus's avatar

What keeps you from quitting?

Asked by prolificus (6285 points ) October 5th, 2010 from iPhone

As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I was diagnosed with bipolar when I was 18. In my young 20’s, almost every morning I would ask God to put me out of my misery (as in, kill me). As time passed, I felt that God had no intention of answering my request. Instead, the Divine has helped me in more ways than I’m able to recognize or acknowledge.

Almost 18 years later, I still have unpleasant thoughts. One in particular has always been the image of an imaginary gun in my hand, pointed to my head.  Even though my bipolar is managed with meds, and I’ve received cognitive therapy, some days the image lingers intensely.  It’s an image I don’t share, among other thoughts, with those close to me. As mentioned elsewhere, I’ve learned to suck it up and carry on with life.  On the outside, I appear put together, while on the inside I work really hard to live as well as possible.

The last time I attempted suicide was around the time I was diagnosed. Suicide, though, is not the type of quitting I’m thinking about in this question. I’m speaking about the type of quitting one considers when they are tired of fighting – whether it’s a mental or physical, internal or external battle.

What keeps me from quitting is the strong belief in “someday” – someday my hard work will pay off, someday I won’t have to fight, someday I will put the imaginary gun away and never pick it up again.  What keeps me from quitting is believing in my self-worth, valuing my story, and hoping someone will be encouraged to continue fighting because of me and others like me.

So, what is it that you fight and what keeps you from quitting?

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12 Answers

iamthemob's avatar

I consider myself blessed that, since I haven’t been diagnosed otherwise, that I have a normally functioning brain (from the chemical/biological perspective).

My reasons, therefore, will more than likely come off as trite, as it is simpler for anyone not facing the challenges associated with imbalances in your neurochemical make up to feel like life is worth it.

But there are people in my life that make it worthwhile, things I see that I wouldn’t see otherwise that excite me. The fact that life is consistent only in its novelty makes it pretty magnificent. For me, that’s better than the potential nothing that follows all this.

zophu's avatar

An infuriating sense of purpose that I can’t get rid of no matter how hard I try to ignore it, no matter how many people tell me it isn’t there, whether in words or in customs. People pass me, lead on leashes towards prophecies of duty and bliss, stepping on me, leaving me alone. Yet I’m still alive, and whole, more or less. And I’ll eventually find others like me, or I’ll die. I have nothing to fear. That’s what keeps me going.

BratLady's avatar

What keeps me from quitting is my own stubbornness to prove I can do what I set my mind to. I too attempted suicide after being raped at a young age. God had other plans for me. You have to hold your chin up and let the world know you aren’t going down without a fight. Now I have many health issues and had surgery 2 weeks ago but I’m determined to be the best I can be. Hopefully you have a close friend or relative you can confide in. If not join a group with similar issues as yours. It helps not to keep things bottled up. Know you have a friend in me. Send me a message anytime you need a shoulder to lean on.

BoBo1946's avatar

@prolificus happy to hear you are doing much better. I’m sure the burden must have been great. Most people cannot relate as they have never “walked in your shoes.” Having said that, every human being whether rich, poor, Gentile or Jew, has a cross to bear. Everyone faces the same old mean World day after day. Each person handles life differently. Some don’t handle it. They turn to drugs, alcohol, sex, etc. to deal with life’s problems. For myself, I’ve always turned my problems over to God as they are to heavy for me to bear. Even then, life is not easy. Being happy with life is a state of mind. We must be tough minded not to allow our problems to consume us. “One gets a bad habit of being unhappy.” (George Eliot) It gets down to a personal choice, I chose to be happy. Mental toughness is about making a daily decision to be that way.

Also, I’ve an athletic background that helps me through the rough times. As my old coach said many times, “when the going gets tough, the tough gets going!” It’s not the problems we have, but how we handle those problems. From reading your comments, it appears that you are handling your problems also. Just like the rest of us. One day at time! Doing the best we can and get up the next day and doing it all over again. Life is a game….to win, we must never give up…fight the good fight to the last step!

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I have diabetes and now MS.
Sheer force of will keeps me going.I enjoy life too much to just give up.No illness or bad event is enough to make me quit.
I have also had the pleasure to know people who have dealt with alot worse than what I have and have come through with flying colors. ;)

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I feel like this question is made just for me. I’m also bipolar as I guess just about everyone on this site knows, but it’s very well managed with medication. I’m not currently suicidal, but I want to quit everything right now. Everything but life. I am a very active participant in community theater, and I want to quit. I’m a member of another club, and I want to quit. I just want to stay in bed and read and sit at the computer and surf the net. I only want to be at home. I want to stop going out altogether.

I’ve recently come out of a bout of depression, and I know this is the depression talking, but I still simply want to quit.

alovehangoverr's avatar

To be honest.. I just haven’t found a sure fire way.

So. The fear of trying & failing.

wundayatta's avatar

I was diagnosed with bipolar three years ago at the age of 51. I know that feeling of constantly imagining the gun in your hand. In my case it was an eight floor window I would jump out of.

Even as I was supposedly getting better, that image would return from time to time. But now, I never think of it. A year ago I never would have been able to imagine that, but it’s true. I don’t think about suicide any more. I hope I have got the skills and organization now to keep it from ever coming back.

I guess what I’m wondering is whether you have further to go to get better. I’m not knocking how far you’ve come in any way. I know how hard it is to get anywhere with this. I know how frustrating it is, and I would hate to heap more on you.

Perhaps there is more work for you to do. Maybe you can get even better. Maybe then the image will become very rare.

What keeps me from quitting? I don’t know. It seems to happen without my willing it. I think it’s in my body somewhere—this refusal to quit. No matter how much the think-think me might develop an opinion about who I am or how worthy I am, my body knows better. Somewhere inside there is a me that loves me or advocates for me, or refuses to let me go. I’m not really in touch with him—probably because he doesn’t think in words. But I think he’s there because I’ve seen other people refuse to die even when everyone had written them off.

LuckyGuy's avatar

What keeps me from quitting?
Responsibility. The fact that I am the support for others that need me. Bills need to be paid. The grass needs to be mowed. The joy of seeing a grandchild.
Life.

stardust's avatar

What keeps me from quitting is my trust that all will be okay in time. This too shall pass in a sense. When I’m finding something overwhelming, I remind myself of my aims/goals and I tell myself that I will endure the difficulties. Life is so full of challenges. Sometimes, it all feels like too much. That said, when I come through the crap, I’m always grateful for the deeper connection with myself.
That I’m an adult & need to be able to stand on my own two feet also keeps me going. Terrifying stuff.

YARNLADY's avatar

I’ve already proven that it’s possible to go on living even when you’ve lost the one person you can’t live without, and that was 47 years ago, so everything was uphill from then on.

GracieT's avatar

I was diagnosed bipolar at the age of 37. It seems rather strange to me, but actually knowing that most (not all) bipolar people feel slightly under normal as a usual feeling helps me. I think that the reason why is knowing that my slightly depressed feeling is normal and doesn’t mean that I am crazy and failing at, I don’t know, EVERYTHING. It actually helps me to know that, it just means that I need to talk to my husband!

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