You know that quote by Laurence J. Peter, “Speak when you are angry, and you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret”? Well, this post may be along those lines, except delete angry and add depressed.
I’m going to share about my experience of the current bipolar episode I’m in, and I’m hoping that come morning, I won’t think to myself, “oh geeze, what was I thinking?” I feel as if a big part of that thinking is because of the stigma attached to mental illness. Is me sharing about this episode too taboo? Either way, that’s a conversation for a different time and I’m going ahead with this post.
Bipolar is a sneaky B-word. It’s challenging enough trying to manage bipolar disorder; throw in random mood swings, and you’ve got yourself A LOT to handle. Yesterday, I was as happy as a clam (what does that even mean?). I mean sure, it was raining and cold and it just started getting dark at 4:59pm (ugh), but I went out with my boyfriend to a fancy social get-together in the Hollywood Hills, met some friends, and enjoyed my evening.
But come this morning, it was practically a full 180 (hence why it’s called bipolar). I had trouble sleeping (even more so than I usually do), and once I woke up, I knew getting out of bed would be hard. I called off work right away (I am SO grateful to have a job where my employer is understanding; many jobs/employers aren’t). For some, I’m sure it sounds silly to have such difficulty getting out of bed. But I’m not talking about it’s too cold, I’m so comfortable, I don’t want to work difficulty; I’m talking the mere thought of pulling the covers off is exhausting, I don’t think I can make it to the shower, I’ll break down crying once I get to the kitchen difficulty. And it’s serious.
During my worst depression episode in 2013, I barricaded myself in my living room for almost 6 months. My boyfriend took the mattress off the bed and set it on the living room floor for me (that was the only room with AC). I watched shows on my laptop, and if I was lucky, I’d take a shower. It was exhausting. And horrible. And the deepest despair you could ever imagine. I cried literally every single day.
Today, I tried to make myself do things. I made myself go outside (it was sunny today), especially before it got dark. [Side note: daylight savings time strongly affects those with bipolar disorder and mental health conditions. Circadian rhythms play a huge role in bipolar disorder. When it gets dark earlier, depression tends to set in.] I took a shower. I played with my dog, I made sure to eat frequently (blood sugar affects moods, as well; hence why people get hangry). I wanted to clean up so badly (my apartment is a disaster), but I could only muster up the energy to lay on the couch (and simply sit there, because barely anything brings comfort when depressed).
I felt/feel as if I could break down crying at any moment. I was telling my boyfriend about what I was feeling, and my body was trying to get me to cry, but I fought it. Sometimes crying helps, but I simply didn’t feel like dealing with it. It feels like I have a storm of sadness and anxiety swirling in my chest and my head. I can’t make sense of anything.
Luckily, I’ve learned to manage my bipolar (after much trial-and-error) since diagnosis in 2008. Because of that, I know I will get out of this by taking it easy, doing only what I need, meeting with my therapist, and probably my psychiatrist to tweak any medications if need-be. However, even knowing that, it still hurts like hell.
I guess there really isn’t much point to this post, except that I wanted to share about it in the moment that it was happening. It’s often hard to describe depression when you’re no longer in it.
I will get better, as I always do. And to everyone reading this who has bipolar and/or depression, I want you to know that you’ll get better, too. As my therapist once said (and I turned into my own quote),
“Pay attention to how you feel, and then take one step to help you feel better; whether it’s staying in bed a little longer, going for a walk, or eating a pint of ice cream.”
To happiness, stability, and everything in between,