10 Ways to ‘Reach Out’ When You’re Struggling With Your Mental Illness

Via: Let’s Queer Things Up!
Author: Sam Dylan

10 Ways to Reach Out When You're Struggling With Your Mental Illness

Via: Let’s Queer Things Up!
Author: Sam Dylan

I’m a mental health writer and advocate, and a suicide attempt survivor. I’ve told people on this blog many times, “Keep reaching out.” I’ve written multiple articles preaching the importance of vulnerability, defying stigma, and owning your struggles.

This is my whole thing, okay? This is what I do.

So when one of my closest friends died by suicide a few weeks ago, I wasn’t just shocked — I was completely gutted.

I thought there was never a question of whether or not my loved ones could reach out to me. But the very person who I’d talked to so often about mental health… didn’t call me.

Not even to say goodbye.

10 Ways to Reach Out When You're Struggling With Your Mental Illness 2
The last night I spent with them.

In the weeks following their suicide, my grief took me to dark places. I soon began having my own suicidal thoughts. And even then, when it was my turn to “reach out“? Even after losing my friend? I began to withdraw, too.

I watched, with painful awareness, as I did much of what my friend seemed to do leading up to their suicide. I wrote myself off as a burden. I isolated myself. I got lost in my own head. And despite knowing the danger of where I found myself, I said nothing.

After an especially scary night, I realized something: No one ever explained to me how to ask for help. No one told me what “reaching out” even meant.

As my grief began to snowball, I hesitated to tell anyone I was struggling, largely because I didn’t know how. I didn’t know what to ask for, and without knowing what to ask for, it felt too complicated and futile to ask.

“Why didn’t they tell me?” is such a common refrain when we talk about suicide or mental health challenges in general. It’s easy to make this remark, because “tell someone” seems like a simple request. But in truth, it’s vague at best.

“REACHING OUT” IS THIS SKILL WE’RE SOMEHOW EXPECTED TO KNOW, YET IT’S NEVER TAUGHT AND RARELY MODELED FOR US.

It’s this vague, hopeful sentiment that people throw around, without ever really defining it. What are we asking people to do or say? It’s not exactly clear.

So I want to get more specific. We need to be more specific.

I don’t know if an article like this could’ve saved my friend. But what I do know is that we need to normalize asking for help and talk about what that might look like, rather than pretending it’s a simple and intuitive thing to do.

Maybe then, we can reach people sooner. We can meet them more compassionately. And we can find better ways to support them.

So if you’re struggling but you don’t know what to say? I get it.

Let’s talk about it.

Tweet: 10 Ways to Reach Out When You're Struggling With Your Mental Health https://ctt.ec/4Rdb6+ “'Reaching out' is this skill we're somehow expected to know, yet it's never taught and rarely modeled for us.

1. “I’M (DEPRESSED/ANXIOUS/SUICIDAL). I’M NOT SURE WHAT TO ASK FOR, BUT I DON’T WANT TO BE ALONE RIGHT NOW.”

Sometimes we don’t know exactly what we need, or we’re unsure of what someone can offer. That’s okay; that shouldn’t discourage us from reaching out. It’s perfectly fine if you have no idea what you need or want — especially when all you can think about is how much you’re hurting.

Let someone know how you’re feeling. You might be surprised by the ways they offer to support you. And if they aren’t helpful? Keep asking until you find someone who is, or seek out a hotline (I know it can be weird to talk to a stranger, but there are some awesome hotlines out there).

Tweet: 10 Ways to Reach Out When You're Struggling With Your Mental Health https://ctt.ec/4Rdb6+ “'Reaching out' is this skill we're somehow expected to know, yet it's never taught and rarely modeled for us.

2. “I’M STRUGGLING WITH MY MENTAL HEALTH AND WHAT I’VE BEEN TRYING ISN’T WORKING. CAN WE (MEET UP/SKYPE/ETC) ON (DATE) AND COME UP WITH A BETTER PLAN?”

Feeling helpless or exhausted is part and parcel for dealing with a broken mental health system. But a team approach can make it a little more manageable. Sometimes we need a cheerleader/researcher that helps us explore our options, especially when we’re having trouble believing that we have any.

One thing you’ll also notice is that, for almost everything on this list, I suggest setting a time.

This is important for a couple reasons. The first being that it helps the person you’re talking to understand the urgency behind your ask. It can also be helpful to know that there’s an event in the near future when you can expect to receive some support. This can help us hang in there when things get bleak.

3. “I DON’T FEEL SAFE BY MYSELF RIGHT NOW. CAN YOU STAY ON THE PHONE WITH ME/COME OVER UNTIL I CALM DOWN?”

I know this is a hard one to say. Because we often fear telling someone just how much we’re struggling, and admitting that we don’t feel safe? That’s a biggie. Obviously you can replace the word “safe” if it’s not working for you, but I always encourage people to be direct, because it’s the surest route to getting exactly what we need.

Asking someone to be present might feel especially vulnerable. It might not even feel like, in the moment, it’ll make that much of a difference. But you’re more likely to feel better with support than without any.

And remember, from everything we know about mental illness, depression is more likely to be a liar than a truth-teller (I talk about that a bunch in this blog post).

4. “I’M IN A BAD PLACE, BUT I’M NOT READY TO TALK ABOUT IT. CAN YOU HELP ME DISTRACT MYSELF?”

You do not have to talk about what’s bothering you if you’re not ready.

Opening up a whole can of worms might not be the safest or best thing for you in that particular moment. And guess what? You can still reach out for help.

Sometimes we just need someone to shoot the shit with, so we aren’t stuck in our heads, making ourselves a little crazy. This is a valid and healthy thing to ask for! And it’s a subtle way of making folks aware that you’re having a rough time, without needing to go into detail.

The sooner the folks around you are aware that you’re having a hard time, the quicker they can show up to help you through it.

Early interventions are so critical for our mental health. In other words: Don’t wait for your whole basement to flood before you fix a leaky pipe — fix the pipe when you notice the problem has started.

5. “CAN YOU CHECK IN WITH ME (ON DATE/EVERY DAY), JUST TO MAKE SURE I’M ALRIGHT?”

I cannot say it enough — do not underestimate the value of asking for a check-in. I am such a huge fan of this as a coping skill, especially because it can be super helpful for everyone involved.

If you take nothing else away from this article, it should be this: Please ask people to check in with you. It’s such a small thing to ask for in the age of texting, but it can help us stay connected, which is freaking critical for our mental health.

(If you’ve played The Sims before, remember the social bar? That’s you. You need to fill it. Humans need to connect with other humans. It’s not just about wanting to, it’s that we actually require it to survive.)

And this can happen in so many smart ways. A few of my favorites:

  • “I haven’t been doing well. Can you text me every morning to make sure I’m okay? It would really help me.”
  • “Hey friend. I’ve been kind of sad lately — do you maybe want to Snapchat/send selfies to each other before bed every night, just to check in? It’d be nice to see your face.”
  • “I’m in a funk right now. Do you want to be self-care buddies? Like text each other once a day something that we did to care for ourselves?”
  • “I’ve been isolating myself a little lately. Can you check in with me every so often, just to make sure I didn’t fall off the face of the earth?”

Add emojis wherever fitting if you want it to feel more casual (but really, you don’t need to, there’s nothing wrong with asking for what you need!).

Asking for people to check in with you when you’re struggling is just like buckling your seatbelt when you get in a car. It’s just one extra safety measure in case things get rough.

Both can actually save lives, too. Consider this a PSA.

6. “I’M HAVING A HARD TIME TAKING CARE OF MYSELF. I NEED EXTRA SUPPORT RIGHT NOW AROUND (TASK). CAN YOU HELP?”

Maybe you need help getting to an appointment or the grocery store. Maybe you need a cheerleader to make sure you took your meds, or someone to send a selfie to to prove you got out of bed that morning. Are your dishes piling up in the sink? Do you need a study buddy? It doesn’t hurt to ask for support around tasks like these.

Sometimes these things add up when we’re struggling with our mental health. But we forget that it’s okay to ask for a hand, especially at those times when it could really make a difference.

Being an adult is already challenging. If you’re going through a rough time? It’s even harder. We all hit a point when we need some extra support. Don’t be afraid to let folks know directly how they could support you.

7. “I’VE BEEN FEELING SO LOW. CAN YOU REMIND ME ABOUT WHAT I MEAN TO YOU OR SHARE A FAVORITE MEMORY? IT WOULD REALLY HELP ME.”

I used to think that asking for something like this meant I was “fishing for compliments.” And what a lousy way of looking at it…

Sometimes we need reminders that we matter! Sometimes we can’t recall the good times, and need someone to help us remember them. This is true of every single human being on the planet.

It’s such a simple request, too. If you’re the kind of person that feels nervous about making a big ask (again, I’d encourage you to challenge that assumption — it’s okay to ask for help!), this can be a small step in the right direction.

8. “I’M STRUGGLING RIGHT NOW AND I’M AFRAID I’M REACHING MY LIMIT. CAN I GIVE YOU A CALL TONIGHT?”

To be honest, it wasn’t until my friend died that I finally found these words in particular.

Up until that point, I’d never been sure exactly how to raise the alarm. You know, that moment when you’re not at the end of your rope, but you’re getting there? It’s a crucial moment.

Yes, you can and you absolutely should reach out then, even if you aren’t sure if it might make a difference (spoiler alert, people might actually surprise you). I think about how much pain I could’ve avoided if I’d saw that moment for the opportunity it really was.

Listen to that little voice in the back of your mind, the one that’s trying to tell you that you’re a little too close to the edge for comfort. Listen to that nagging feeling that tells you you’re in over your head. That’s your survival instinct — and it’s an instinct you should trust.

9. “I KNOW WE DON’T TALK MUCH, BUT I’M GOING THROUGH A TOUGH TIME AND I FEEL LIKE YOU’RE SOMEONE I CAN TRUST. ARE YOU FREE TO TALK (DAY/TIME)?”

I wanted to include this because I realize that not all of us have people we’re close to that we confide in.

When I was a teenager, everything changed for me when I reached out to a teacher at my high school that I barely knew. She had always been incredibly kind to me, and I had a gut feeling that she would “get it.” And she did!

To this day, I still believe that she saved my life at a time when I had no one else to turn to. She connected me with a social worker, who was then able to help me access the resources I needed to recover.

While it’s important to be respectful of people’s capacities and boundaries (and be prepared, of course, if someone can’t be there for you or isn’t helpful — it’s not personal!), you might be surprised by the responses that you get.

10. “I’M SUICIDAL. I NEED HELP RIGHT NOW.”

Raise the alarm.

Raise the damn alarm, friends, and be as direct as you need to be. An emergency is an emergency, whether it’s a heart attack or a self-harm risk. Harm to you in any form is reason enough to ask for help.

I promise you, there’s someone in this world — an old friend or a future one, a family member, a therapist, even a volunteer on a hotline — who wants you to stay.

Find that person (or people), even if it takes time. Even if you have to keep asking.

Give people the chance to help you. It’s a chance that my friend deserved, and it’s a chance that you deserve.

(And if all else fails, I have this resource about going to the emergency room when you’re suicidal. I’ve personally been hospitalized twice, and while it’s not a ritzy vacation, it’s the reason I’m here today.)

PICK SOMETHING FROM THIS LIST. WRITE IT DOWN, EVEN IF IT’S ON YOUR HAND OR A STICKY NOTE. REACH OUT — BECAUSE NOW YOU KNOW HOW.

Hell, bookmark this article while you’re at it. I know I’m going to, because there are times when I need this advice, too.

If you’re struggling with your mental health, let me remind you that it’s never too soon or too late to let someone know.

And it’s never, ever too heavy, too messy, or too much to ask — even if you asked fifty times the day before.

I’d have rather had my friend “bother me” every day for the rest of my life than have to lose them forever. Their life was that precious.

And yes, so is yours.

Author Signature

SAMheart Hey there, friend. Before you go, I want to share some resources with you.

If you’re suicidal, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386, or reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

You can also go to the emergency room. If you’re not sure if you should or how to prepare for something like that, I’ve got an article for that, too.

This isn’t just a generic “here are some numbers” plug, this is a “I want you to stay, we need you here, please don’t go just yet” plea.

Chris Alvaro And Lastly…

There’s a memorial fundraiser in honor of my dear friend, Chris Alvaro.

The funds raised will go to organizations that support trans mental health and racial justice.

This article is, of course, dedicated to them.

Topher, you’re still the brightest star in my galaxy. We couldn’t keep you safe. But I will never stop fighting for a world that could have.

Feature photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash.

©2018-2020 Let’s Queer Things Up!
Republished with permission

The 4 Faces of Memee: Bipolar Me

4-faces-of-memee | Memee's Musings
A snapshot of one person trying to survive in 4 different chemical bodies.

Hi all,

It’s been a long, long while. I have been suffering with bipolar depression in a very extended way lately. Some people who don’t understand bipolar have the misperception that we suffer both the depressive side and the manic side equally. We don’t. Also, we’re all different in our levels of functionality at the various phases of the disorder. So I’ve been down and out of the game. I am on a new medication, Latuda, and I think it may finally be kicking in. I certainly hope so! It is supposed to relieve the symptoms of Bipolar Depression which is a very big deal for me as I have never had relief from this phase and it is the phase I suffer from the most frequently as well as it being the most catastrophically impactful for me.

Anyway, the picture above was put together back in December at the beginning of a manic phase which I will be sharing with you very soon. During mania I have many brilliant ideas and am extremely active. Unfortunately the mania does not last long and when it burns off suddenly my activities cease and my plots, plans, schemes come to an abrupt halt. For instance, this article had the headline written and the picture uploaded, and even a link to some statistical data but no body. Fortunately, I know my main intent was to go over my 4 “personalities” (for lack of a better description) that I am constantly trying to adjust to and live with.

Left to Right:

  1.  Deep Depression.  This is where I have been for the last several months.  My days in this state consist of sleeping (escaping my problems, but also I am exhausted physically and mentally), crying uncontrollably for no specific reason, staring at the ceiling or blank wall sometimes with no thoughts registering in my head and other times inundated with only negative recriminations for  being this person (something I cannot control) that suffers this chemical imbalance of the brain.  I’ll get up to pee and return immediately to bed.  I mostly drink my calories during this time as I have no energy or desire to even pour cereal into a bowl to eat.  I will bathe once a week but don’t remember to brush my teeth and do not bother brushing my hair or changing my clothes.  I am completely shut down.  Inhuman. Some days I am afraid to be alone because I fantasize about killing myself.  I know that is not the answer and it is really not an option.  Besides, in this state I am frozen in grief and depression so I do not act upon thoughts.  I “just” terrorize myself with them over and over again.  Visualizing myself killing myself.  It’s not fun, believe me.  It scares me and heightens my depressive state.

2.  “The Blahs”  This is where I live the majority of my life.  I still have difficulty with hygiene most days.  I am messy and tired.  I have zero focus, zero attention span, zero interests, zero motivation , and zero drive.  I do nothing but zone out on the computer or Netflix day after day.  My mind is chaotic and so is the environment around me.  It’s better than the deep depression but it is no life.  A waste.

3. Happy/Balanced.  This is my goal persona.  It is who I long to be.  I enjoy friendships and can hold onto a job.  I feel like I am pursuing goals and making real change in my life toward becoming this person authentically.  I bathe bi-daily, I pick up after myself, I eat and sleep in a normal pattern.  I have a life and recognized the blessing it is.  I may even be able to have a romantic relationship again!

4. Mania!   I am awesome!  You are awesome! Life is awesome!  I have big plans and they are, no matter how far-fetched, attainable!  I just got to follow my plans step by step and I’ll do it!  I will succeed at anything I try and I will try anything that interests me!  The world is my oyster, my cake, my playground!

The 4 Faces of Memee: Bipolar Me stats1 | Memee's Musings

So who is susceptible to  Bipolar Disorder?  Statistics sourced through Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance says that:

Bipolar Disorder Statistics from BDSA

©2017-2020 All rights reserved.

#wcw On Perseverance

I often blog about mental health issues because I have lived a life of great strife. Strife I self-inflict and strife cast against me.  It’s not just me that hurts me. I have been tremendously hurt and traumatized throughout my life by others.  My body hurts me: I suffer from chronic migraines, chronic pain, chronic fatigue and to top it off, I am bipolar.  I am an extrovert who often finds herself isolated and alone. Usually I am in self-imposed exile, but it’s not always physical exile.  Many times I feel socially exiled because my life looks and feels so different than those of my family and my friends or perhaps I am with them physically but doing my best to put on a brave face and appear “happy” or “normal.”

I have great friends.  True friends.  They love me and support me in spite of my mood swings, irritability, insecurities, and socio-economic status.  They are there for me if and when I am willing to reach out to them and let them help me.  I have great friends because I am a great friend whenever I am capable.  I am steadfast in my love and loyalty to them. They have earned it and so much more.

Today’s quote honors those friendships and the struggles that I know we all face, whether they are similar to mine or entirely different.  Everyone struggles. Everyone suffers. Everyone hurts sometimes.  And to get through the struggles we must endure it is essential that we never give up in our faith and trust in God — or the life process, karma, insert your belief system here — that things will get better.  Each struggle is independent of the rest. Some people do appear to live harder lives than others, but that is not because we are not all equally deserving. God offers blessings to us each day if we can crawl out of bed, put on our shoes, and live our life with our mind in the moment and our eyes on the lookout for blessings, which are there for us to find.

This quote is also chosen today because it is the holiday season which is commonly a very, very difficult time for people.  For some it is the additional costs associated with the holiday. For others it can be feelings of obligation to others we do not agree with. Even the fast pace of the clock ticking down to Christmas can add great stress to those who are otherwise happy.  The fact that it is Christmas (a typical family-oriented holiday) causes pain to those who are or think they are alone.  Social expectations that this is a happy, merry, time of cheer can cause additional pressure to those who struggle to maintain balance and stability with their moods (anxiety, depression, mania, etc.).

It is also an election year with a highly contentious and divided reflection on the outcome and future.  This is the third spire of why I have chosen wisdom from Winston Churchill.  I hope you will find it helpful in bringing to you strength and courage to persevere through your dark times, whatever the cause, even if only for a day or a moment.

#wcw On Perseverance | Memee's Musings

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If you’d like to play Words Crush Wednesday along with me here are the details:

Cut/paste and follow these 3 simple rules:

(1) Always pingback to the site you discovered #wcw on with every Words Crush Wednesday post. In this case, that’s me: memeesmusings.com!

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If you wanna play #wcw with me, here's your badge!
If you wanna play #wcw with me, grab that panda badge!

* To see the badge I earned, visit my very first #WCW post.
And, here’s my pingback: Rebirth of Lisa

A Letter of Introduction – by Embeecee

via Letters to the Mind
Contributing Author: Embeecee

A letter of introduction | Letters to the MindI have been in therapy a good portion of my life and I don’t have a definitive diagnosis as such.  They keep changing it to suit the therapy group I’m participating with at the time.   I don’t know if they don’t know how to categorize people like me or if it’s ME, because part of my own complaint is the ability to morph into what I think the ‘person in charge’ wants to hear.

In the latest therapy effort, I’ve tried hard not to do that and to be as honest as I can about my problems.   I still feel pretty mixed up about it all though.   I do a group therapy session about once a week (it’s a long drive and our weather has been bad, plus I’ve been sick a lot this winter so far) so I don’t always make the group session.   In that group we deal with addictions of various kinds, of which I didn’t ever really think I had any, save food, and so I have been resistant to the process. Others deal with drugs, alcohol, sexual addictions and the usual type of stuff.  I’ve felt like an outsider.   I’m also a good deal older than most of the women who attend that group, and I’m further along (in my own estimation) in the healing/dealing process.

It’s been odd therefore to realize that in that group I’ve discovered some depths to my own mental illness that I hadn’t considered before.   The group is a trauma group, all of us in there have suffered some sort of traumatic event, whether it is childhood or spousal abuse, abandonment, physical abuse or whatever fits under the umbrella of “abuse.”

And again I’m worried that I over-identify with the ailments of the other patients. One has pretty severe OCD and through her sharing I’ve identified some traits of that in myself.   I always knew I had elements of OCD, but I thought they were pretty minor (I continue to think that), so I never thought I ‘had’ OCD.

I overthink things.  And this ‘letter of introduction’ if you want to call it such is getting too long.

My own problems include:

  • Chronic depression
  • Dysthymia (or major depression)
  • Insomnia
  • Possible bipolar II (depressive bipolar disorder)
  • Possible BPD (borderline personality disorder)
  • Very mild (to me) OCD
  • Agoraphobia (very mild)
  • Social phobia/anxiety
  • Slight paranoia

It sounds really stark and overwhelming listed out that way.   I don’t think if you met me IRL, you’d even suspect any of these.   I have learned over decades to hide them well.  Privately I know I have some issues and I’m not comfortable around people.   Someone recently told me I have a true introverted nature, which in psycho-speak means I draw energy from myself best, and I expend it when I have to be around other people.   Being in crowds exhausts me and I don’t do well if I’m forced to wait for things or if someone is holding up the progression.   I find that I’m becoming more vocal about it, and this leads me to want to stay home.   I’m embarrassed by being that way, but I’m finding it happens more and more.   People stare at you if you are grumbling to yourself about what an asshole the guy in front is being.   Or if you openly ask this asshole if they are EVER going to conclude their business and get the %$@# out of your way.   I have anger issues.

Well that’s enough about it for today.   Thanks for inviting me here and for listening.

Author’s note: I was invited to Letters of the Mind by B.L. Memee of Memee’s Musings, and I thank her for offering this chance to address mental illness in a safe venue.


About the author:

I’m Melanie. I have been diagnosed with major chronic depression.   I also deal with social phobia and anxiety.

I’m a 56 year old woman who was born and raised, and remains in Utah in the United States of America. I have degenerative bone disease (type undiagnosed), diabetes and the mental health issues [I’ve discussed], and therefore I am under disability and retired now. I am widowed (going on five years in February). I live alone and have one pet, and I prefer it this way. I am considered reserved. I am Mormon in faith, but I am not judgemental nor do I consider myself holier than thou or anything. I try to be open-minded and accepting of everyone. I TRY.  🙂

Blog: Sparks From a Combustible Mind

“Life Is Not Waiting for the Storm to Pass; It’s About Learning to Dance in the Rain.”

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Please, if your life is impacted by mental illness help spread awareness and understanding by writing to that illness and sharing it at Letters of the Mind blog project.

Click here to Contribute.

☀ Memee

Submitted to Letters to the Mind by Embeecee Dec 2015
A Letter of Introduction post: © Embeecee (Author) & Letters to the Mind (Publisher) 2015-2017. All rights reserved.
A Letter of Introduction by Embeecee post © Memee’s Musings, 2016-2018. All rights reserved.

Bipolar Be Gone!

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:

Bipolar: Depression

by brightonbipolar

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.

brightonbipolar | June 14, 2015 at 3:41 pm | Tags: Bipolar, depressed, depression, mental health, symptoms | Categories: Uncategorized | URL: http://wp.me/p66ClX-2f

Original Blog entitled Bipolar: Depressed © BrightonBipolar, 2015-2017 All rights reserved.
Bipolar Be Gone! post © Memee’s Musings, 2016-2018. All rights reserved.

Simply put

So I have been back in Washington for just under a month now and I am not doing well at all. I am physically and emotionally exhausted all of the time. I have zero interest in blogging and make zero effort at seeing those people that I “missed so much” when I was in California. I have done very little school work and my new job hasn’t begun yet.

I found out I will have orientation next week, on Tuesday, for the new job and how I feel today is, “Geez, can I even hold a job? I’m so lost. Whatever, guess we’ll find out.”

So, yeah, that’s why I haven’t been around. I’m in the doldrums and wishing I could just go back to sleep. Second-guessing the smartness of coming back here (or lack of smarts). Simply put, I am not happy.

I wish that it didn’t cost an unreasonable amount to live there. I wish I could have stayed. But working 40+ hours a week and only being able to afford a tiny room in someone’s house didn’t make sense. Not when I was on a course toward putting my life together and making something of myself. And I couldn’t stay where I was, that was tearing me apart mentally.

Now I am just totally off course and without direction. I don’t feel the me inside of me any longer. Just emptiness. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful that I don’t have Ms. Passive-Aggressive wounding my pride every day. But now I just feel like, well, I don’t feel like anything. I don’t feel human. I don’t feel pain or happiness, just blah, nothing-blah.

I guess I need meds. But I have zero energy to jump through a zillion hoops to get them.

Stagnation

Stagnation | Letters to the Mind

I cannot move.
I cannot stand.
I lie and stare
and really don’t care.

The whispers in my head,
get off your butt,
you’re hurting yourself,
this inaction will
only make it
worse.

I know it’s true.
If only I could
don’t you think
that I really would?

I feel frozen in place;
I’m stuck in the mud.
Motivation is
all well and good
but without drive
nothing will change.
At least not now,
not while I’m
in this space.

And so,
I wait only for
the next moment
to take this one’s place.

Eventually, I know,
as it always has been,
a moment will come
when a shift has
occurred and
I’ll be on the mend.
I’ll find myself
standing upon the
forward road
again.

☀ ☀ ☀ ☀ ☀

I originally published the above poem at my other blog, Letters to the Mind. Please consider writing to the mental illness that impacts the world you walk in and sharing it with our new community blog. The site was built in the hopes that other creatives who suffer from a mental illness or have a family member/loved one with a mental illness will write to the illness and post it on the site for two purposes.

The first is as a way to grow and challenge how we relate to our illness. In the act of writing to your illness you achieve empowerment. And the second purpose is to educate other people about the various mental illnesses that people live with every single day and how their struggles differ or are similiar to everyone else’s. With education comes understanding and with understanding stigma begins to fall ill and eventually dies.

For more information on contributing to the Letters to the Mind please click here.

We ALWAYS need contributors, any and all mental disorders welcome. No one is turned away and your own blogs, media platforms are cataloged and linked on the site.

Thank you,

Memee