I’ve been inactive since Christmas or New Year’s I’m not really sure now. I thought about what to write in the meantime. I thought I might write about my health kick that came when the New Year rang in but I couldn’t bring myself to write anything. So I thought I will just be honest. I put on a facade in my everyday life but this blog was intended for an honest and transparent glimpse into what it is like to live with Bipolar.
I laugh, I smile, I go to work, I socialise and I can still have fun and feel happiness but that’s what I show to others. Inside is different. Unless I manage to dissociate myself from the depression or difficult memories I often feel like I am rotting inside and other times I feel like I am gasping for air. Aside from a few recent health complications I haven’t got anything bad going on in my life and sometimes I feel as if I have no right to be depressed. I feel like I need to justify myself for being depressed so I keep it in and I only talk to my husband about it because I don’t need people to try and dig me out of the hole I am in. Sometimes I just need a friend to watch TV with or to just lie beside me and he does that better than anyone. He doesn’t try to fix me, he knows he can’t but he supports me and does his best to distract me from whatever troubles me.
Each depressive episode is different and since I’ve unwillingly learned to dissociate I am sometimes successful at shutting off completely when the feelings get to be too much. But every now and then something triggers the emotions to rise from their sleep and I feel my demons tearing at the inside of my chest, tearing at the doors of the prison I have locked them in for most of my life. Believe it or not this brings on a physical pain in my chest. I can’t explain to you the feeling. It’s not the same as anxiety, it’s a physical manifestation of the endless fight I put up to bury feelings and memories.
I lose control of my emotions sometimes. I snap and I break down. One moment I am happy and the next I’m drowning or I am angry and restless. I shut down because it’s easier than facing it. I don’t do this intentionally but it’s like a reflex now. My mind protects itself from plunging further and further into depression. I shut myself in because it’s easier than dealing with people. I miss my family but I can’t bring myself to go and see them. I get lonely when Rob is not around but unless someone asks to see me I avoid everyone. I don’t have to pretend when I am by myself or with Rob. Your loved ones don’t treat you like a burden but the older and more experienced you get you can comprehend that people have their own issues to deal with. I can’t disrupt their lives with something I go through time and time again like a broken record.
You tell yourself you will try things differently the next time an episode comes about, that you will look out for all the symptoms and signs but it doesn’t always happen that way. It catches you when you don’t expect it and all of a sudden you are lost in the darkness. You fall back into the same patterns and routines. You tell yourself you will take better care of yourself but you don’t. You tell yourself you will reach out more but if you’re anything like me you become more and more withdrawn. You tell yourself you will keep yourself together but you never feel like you actually can.
You stop caring about the things you used to love. I used to love blogging and now I can barely bring myself to write anything. I even thought about shutting it all down. I used to love playing the guitar and now it sits in the closet collecting dust. There were many things I used to do and love to do that I can no longer muster the effort to even try to do now. I loved seeing my family and now I find myself more distant from them than I have ever been. I feel like I am rotting away in the fortress I created for myself and I can’t do anything to stop it.
This time is different though. I fight harder to get through it. I feel like I am being swallowed whole by my depression but I am doing much more now than ever before to stay alive. I don’t hurt myself. I talk about suicidal thoughts if they come up with my psychologist and the Doc. I changed my lifestyle; I started eating healthy to lose weight as my weight was a large contributor to my mental health problems. I stopped drinking and smoking as I am trying to make sure I am rid of all bad habits in preparation for future manic episodes. I have chosen an excellent psychologist and psychiatrist that work tirelessly to keep me from drowning. I am in constant discussion with my psychiatrist regarding my medication and we often text in between sessions so that he is aware of my symptoms. I stay in touch with my friends more than I used to when I was depressed and I try to talk about good things rather than remind myself I am not well. After all that’s what I talk about with Rob and my psychologist. No one else needs to know. I try to clean, even though it’s less often than when I am not depressed it’s much more than what I used to do in other depressive episodes.
Due to recent health complications I am unable to take my mood stabilisers and antipsychotics. The Doc isn’t concerned about the antipsychotics since I am no longer hallucinating. As he explained it to me I am still experiencing the benefits of lithium since I was on high levels before I had to stop taking them but he doesn’t know how much longer it will be before our luck runs out.
I am depressed and some days are worse than others. I am worried about it getting really bad but I know this time I am better equipped and prepared to battle it than I have ever been.