Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight

Please welcome Mental Mama from Mental In The Midwest with a story of fierce courage.


I’m one of the lucky ones. My self-destructive streak never achieved full steam in spite of my dual diagnoses of Bipolar Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder. It wasn’t from a lack of trying, I assure you. But hard drugs scared me, pain pills do nothing for me, and booze just wound me up tighter. I experienced more than my share of mornings waking up next to a stranger, convinced he was The One, and then I’d spend the next week crying my eyes out because he never called. That’s when it would get really good and ugly. Rather than see their lack of compassion for what it really was – a reflection of their inhumanity, immaturity, and lack of a heart – I internalized the hurt and convinced myself that I was somehow lacking. I wasn’t enough.

I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t smart enough. I wasn’t pretty enough. And I sure as fuck wasn’t skinny enough. Never ever enough.

The last time I tried to kill myself I woke up in the ICU. I had overdosed (again) because some jackass decided I was too intense and he couldn’t deal (again). I was handcuffed to the bed because Ativan is no friend of mine and I was just about to be arrested for swinging on a nurse. I was moved to the Special Care Psychiatric Ward after my vitals finally stabilized. That’s where they keep the special little snowflakes like me that aren’t really safe enough to stay on the regular ward.

My shrink was seriously concerned that I had finally managed to do myself some permanent brain damage. I’d taken more pills than ever before and it took longer for anyone to find me than it previously had. By the time the EMTs got me to the ER there was nothing left in my stomach to pump. Nothing.

It took weeks of slow and painstaking work to get my brain back to functioning. I went on FMLA at work (again) so that I could see my therapist three times a week and my shrink once a week and go to a DBT group session once a week. I was kept on a very short leash.

All of that while working on a Master’s degree.

It took every bit of strength I had in my soul to keep going. My family never left me and my work friends stuck with me. I lost all but one of my IRL friends, and honestly I think she only stayed because she has her own Dx. But I was never alone.

While I was trying to survive the worst of my symptoms I had times where suicide honestly seemed like the best solution. I couldn’t see or acknowledge that my life even had the potential to be anything other than a long string of heartaches and disappointments. I thought that throwing in my towel was the only way to deal.

But it wasn’t and I’m here to tell you that it’s not, not for any of us. Suicide might end your pain, but it transfers all that hurt to those who loved you most. It is NOT a solution.

I haven’t been back in the hospital for a psych stay since that last suicide attempt in 2010. I’ve finished my year long stint with DBT. I finished my Master’s degree with 3.8 GPA. I got remarried. I’ve just finished a graduate certificate. I’m taking on more responsibility at work and excelling at it. I’m spending time with the people I love and I’m doing things that I love.

I’m not going to tell you that life has been all rainbows and roses since 2010 because that would be a total lie. My father died from an aggressive form of cancer. My husband has been working to deal with alcohol addiction and has been diagnosed with Bipolar and ADD. I’m having to come to terms with needing way more sleep than I thought I did.

But I’m here, and I’m still fighting. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem, you need to remember that. Temporary problems. Temporary.

There’s no shame in taking some time to hole up and shut out the world for a day. In tactical strategy terms it’s referred to as falling back. Make a temporary retreat so you can rally the troops, get your strength back, and then ATTACK.

Fall down seven times, get up eight.

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16 thoughts on “Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight

  1. I keep suggesting the atheists around me, ” Spirituality is the best addiction with least of side effects.” I just wish that more and more people realize this and instead of self destructive habits like drugs, alcohol, and various more get into this.

    Chances are that it will do something good but at any point it will not do anything bad. To heal anything we need love and power best derived from the universe and divine.

    Love and blessings to you.

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  2. It takes strength to remind ourselves that the bad times too will pass, that it is all temporary. I think there is a certain courage in taking time out, or at least others might see it that way. I think it is more about self-preservation. I’ve grown to feel more able to take those steps back when I need to, and it makes a real difference to my resilience.

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  3. I’ve always reminded myself that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. And then we just have to come back and try it all over again. So I say, keep getting up and take all the time you need to fall back and regroup. I do it all the time. I call it a nap. I take them instead of someones head. 🙂

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