Hello, my friends!
You’ve been ever so patient with me (I think). I mean, I haven’t gotten any hate mail from anyone for disappearing on you for so long. It’s been four and a half months since my last post, the erotic flash fiction story entitled, In Our Little Yellow Tent. It has been seven months since I was posting regularly… April of 2016! I cannot say time flies or that it got away from me. I wrote only one piece in May called Simply put that explained why I had been absent for a while: I moved from California where I wanted to be, back to Washington, where I didn’t want to be; however, my mental health necessitated it. (If curious you can learn why in my posts entitled, Agonizing Turmoil and Persona Non Grata. But that wasn’t the big thing keeping me away from blogging, the big thing was depression and I wrote about how I was feeling at that time. Well it never got any better. In fact, it only got worse.
This week I feel I have turned a corner. You see, when I moved to California last year I went off my bipolar medication. Not because I wanted to or thought I could. I just failed to seek out a new doctor. Perhaps subliminally I felt that it wouldn’t last… the hopes and dreams I had about my future. I mean, never in my life have things worked out the way I hoped they would. But really, let me be honest here, rationally I know that is true for everyone. But that is the thing with depression and especially bipolar depression. It sucks everything out of you; literally everything. Anyway, I started back on meds last month and they are finally kicking in. I am also taking 600 mg of St. John’s Wort daily and use essential oil aromatherapy when I need an extra boost.
To read more about my bipolar journey please visit my bipolar posts category.
Rather than going into a long-winded account of how it all works I want to share with you, reblog if you will, from a wonderful writer who is clear and succinct (unlike me!) And although she lives in England we walk a similar life path. I followed her blog regularly and when others wanted to understand bipolar better, I would send them to her blog. Sadly, she took it down many months ago. Tonight I found a wonderful blog post she wrote about bipolar depression in my email and that is what prompted me to write to you this evening. Everything she says in this post is true of me except for the hallucinations. Thank goodness I don’t have that on top of everything else. Don’t worry though, I do plan on being here all week. And have set the goal to begin doing at least one Flash Fiction story a month for the year 2017! See, I am feeling hopeful once again and ready to go! Or maybe I’m just hitting a short term manic phase. That is, after all, entirely possible. But I hope not! Think good thoughts for me!
So with no further ado, I introduce you to my fellow Bipolar sufferer, Brighton Bipolar:
Depression means different things to different people and everyone experiences their own personal low points with varying symptoms. As a Bipolar sufferer, my own struggles with depression are probably very similar to those many other people have to endure on a daily basis. For those without first hand knowledge of how difficult it can be to function in a depressed state, I hope my words can give a bit of insight into the darkness that clouds us both mentally and physically.
For me, depression can come on in waves, like a tidal change, slowly getting progressively stronger and threatening to drown me at any moment. One minute everything seems fine and the next, an all enveloping fog descends, giving the world around me a grey tinge and a sense of foreboding. It’s not always something I can predict or prepare for – Some days I simply wake up to find everything around me has slightly changed, like the world has tilted and I’m still upright wondering where the dizzy, sick feeling In the pit of my stomach has come from.
My Whole Body Aches – Depression can actually manifest itself as physical pain. It feels like I’ve run a marathon with every inch of my body aching, which makes walking around or even standing up very difficult. This is often accompanied by migraines or headaches, adding to the feeling of being completely drained and not wanting to move. Symptoms can be very similar to those of severe Influenza.
Chronic Fatigue – Coupled with the aches and pains, comes the overwhelming tiredness. Like being totally drained of energy to the point where simply getting out of bed seems too exhausting a prospect to even consider. All I want to do is sleep (during these times I sleep a minimum of roughly 16 hours per 24 hour period) and every day tasks like taking a shower or getting dressed are impossible without assistance (my husband has washed and dressed me many times over the years, when I simply don’t possess the strength).
The need for Isolation – Lacking energy and being in physical pain isn’t exactly conducive to socialising. At these times I have a desperate need to be on my own and fear leaving the house or having to interact with anyone. It’s almost like a phobia and the thought of going ‘Outside’ away from the safety of my home is terrifying.
Uncontrollable Emotions – When in a depressive phase my emotions are in chaos and I have very little control over them or how they manifest themselves. This results in violent, unexplainable anger at times or more often, uncontrollable bouts of crying. I don’t mean a few tears – but gut wrenching sobbing that can go on for hours without reason or warning.
Suicidal Thoughts – It’s during these dark times that I find myself wondering if the struggle is worth it. The idea of ending the mental and physical pain becomes a very seductive one and a lot of my time alone is spent planning and organising my own ‘Exit Plan’.
Self-esteem and Self-worth Simply Vanish – There seems to be no reason for my existence and I can see no positive aspects of my life at all. In my mind, I’m a burden on those around me and cause everyone nothing but heartache. Looking through the fog of depression I see (what I feel at the time is) the reality of my situation – I am universally despised by everyone and my life has no value. At times, I’m overcome by paranoid thoughts which can take the form of either aural or visual hallucinations, confirming in my mind, my way of thinking.
These depressive phases can, for me, last anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks or when in a state of ‘Rapid Cycling’ I can jump from depression to mania several times in one day. Trying to ‘Mask’ or ‘Hide’ my symptoms is very stressful, tiring and all consuming – I don’t doubt that the effort used to try to appear ‘Normal’ contributes to my irregular mood swings and general exhaustion.
No matter what others may tell you, depression is a serious condition which should always be treated with respect and understanding. Living with the symptoms can be as debilitating as those of many severe physical illnesses and should never be taken lightly.