Worth Living Ambassador Thomas Morgan
My name is Thomas Morgan. I am a 21-year-old Sociology student at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. I am a brother to both a younger sister and an older brother. I am a son to two wonderful parents. I am a suicide survivor. I am also Bipolar.
Caution: Thomas discusses suicide
First of all, I just want to say how honored I am to be a part of the Worth Living team. When my sister, Hannah-Grace, had asked if I would consider applying to become an Ambassador I did it as soon as I got the chance. Mental health, as well as the discussion of it, are extremely important to me and I look forward to sharing my opinions about it. I wasn’t sure exactly what to write for my first blog post, until two friends said something recently that I have been hearing quite a lot lately which inspired this.
When you think of things that have made you a better person than you once were, it’s more than likely that we have different ideas.
On August 22, 2013, I hanged myself. I didn’t tell anybody for two years. The branch had snapped, it had been much weaker than it looked. I went home an hour or two afterwards, having lost the courage to make another attempt that day. When I got home I read three documents I had left on my computer in Microsoft Word, one for my girlfriend, one for my parents, and the last one for my little sister. I read these goodbye notes and realized I couldn’t leave my parents, but mostly my sister, with just a note toby which to remember me. So, I kept going for them, my love for them and their love for me is what got me through the two years it took before I had completely accepted what I had almost done and felt the need to come forward about it.
Since the two-year anniversary of my attempt, when I came forward about my suicide attempt, I have constantly emphasized the importance of taking care of your mental health. Unfortunately, while I am a survivor, I have many friends who are not. Friends who I had no idea were struggling with such dark thoughts. This ate away at me last year, and eventually, near the end of June, I began hearing voices telling me that all of it was my fault. I didn’t see the signs even if I was a survivor. I knew something was wrong when I began to believe them. I did the best thing I felt I could do. I called someone very important to me and just talked for about an hour and a half. I never acknowledged anything was wrong and just talked with them about random things I can’t even remember with many silences between the conversations that always seemed to happen when we talked on the phone.
I continued to hear the voices, but at that point I understood for the past year what was going on, and recognized that, given time, the voices will be silenced and they were. A few months later, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. These two major depressive episodes are just two of my largest ones I remember and I eventually understood that what I normally thought of as a large part of my personality was the result of manic episodes.
Since then I have been put on Mood Stabilizers. I have focused on my studies, with my goal set on becoming an elementary school teacher. There are now multiple ways I am focusing my creativity instead of wasting it playing video games all the time, including when I should be studying. For example, I got back into photography, I sing (not well) and play the guitar, and I have begun reading, listening, and writing spoken word poetry. I exercise frequently, and I try to meditate once a day.
I do all this because I know I must work hard to stay healthy, whether it be physically, emotionally, or mentally. I have been told many times by many people that they have noticed a good change when it comes to the way I am around them. This is the most wonderful thing anybody could say to me because despite how well I feel when I am alone, I don’t know if it is visible to other people around me.
When you think of things that have made you a better person than you once were, you may not think of mental illness as being one of those things. Mental illness, as ugly and emotional and chaotic as it can be, is one of the things that makes me who I am. My acceptance of my diagnosis, as well as the countless mistakes it has led me to make, is one of the things I find I am most proud of in my life.
While I do believe that I am much more than my Bipolar, I also recognize how much it has made me grow as a person overall. Mental illness has this social stigma attached with it that those who suffer from it are broken or dangerous or socially-inept, but we aren’t. We are not our mental illness. It does not define us. However, it does help shape who we are and that can either be a good thing or a bad thing. The choice is up to you.
I’m Bipolar, and I am a better person because of it.