“All I knew was that something was wrong..”

By: Chelsea McBride (@crymmusic)

It is February of 2012. I’m pretty much a 4.0 student in my second year of a music undergrad. I have a social life, good friends, a loving and supportive family, the makings of a good foundation to a career, and I’ve just launched my own original projects, playing my own music in public for the first time.

But… I also can’t shake this overwhelming feeling that I would really, really like to kill myself. Like…walk out into traffic, while the light is green. Step elegantly out my residence window (not an actual possibility). Go to sleep…and not wake up. It would be so easy.

Yet there are things to do, a calendar full of engagements. Midterm exams. Life is going on around me.

I don’t know anything in this moment other than that there is something wrong, and that is what drives me into three ERs in two days. Each time I am told “Come back later. We can’t help you right now.”

But I need help, now.

It takes a social worker from a mobile crisis team checking in on me, meeting with me, taking me to appointments - with counsellors, with psychologists and psychiatrists - and it takes only two months, luckily, to come up with a diagnosis: Bipolar Type II. It then takes another month until I am stable, medicated. But it takes years for me to realize how far I have come.

I passed all of those exams, somehow, and got my undergrad in 2014. I have somehow made a successful career in music, and I am only 24. I constantly ask myself if I am acting appropriately, but I know now that I can trust my instincts and my judgment to overcome whatever out of control moods I have to deal with.

And most importantly, I believe now that it is worth continuing on, and taking the next step, and seeing what new adventures lie around the corner.