- Mental Health
Being Depressed is Depressing
Depression IS depressing. That is the awful trick of this disease. It is like a parasite that attaches itself to you and literally sucks the life out of you, until it decides it is ready to let go. I learned I was bipolar back in 2000, after a two week hospital stay in a very good hospital, in the psychiatric wing. I also found out it is hereditary, and the gene had been passed down from my mother's side of the family. We had learned about mother's disease around 1995, and after a lifetime of emotional roller coaster rides, self-medicating with mostly alcohol and a few drugs of various sorts at times, plus some half-hearted tries by my family doctor to treat me for "nerves", I finally had a name for my problem.
Unfortunately, "naming" this problem did nothing to solve it. It took me a very long time to come to terms with being bipolar. I didn't want to discuss it, was ashamed of it, felt almost disfigured or emotionally weak in some way. I felt as though everyone could just look at me and "know" that I wasn't normal, all of which just made me act out even worse. To me, I was-crazy. Not sick with a disease that could be treated; just crazy.
When I was first diagnosed, I was put on Lithium, which backfired on me in a BIG way. So, it was back to the hospital, and then began a several years long search for the right medication or combination of meds. For some reason, my system is very sensitive to changes in medications, and drugs that normally worked great for others had terrible side effects for me. It was a constant circus of "Try this", "Nope, that's not working, try this", on and on for years! Finally, they put me on Depakote, and here I have stayed for several years. The sad thing is, as it was explained to me, is that the meds can help keep you stable, but you are still going to "cycle" (have ups and downs) from time to time, they just aren't as bad. Now, I live in constant, irrational fear of running out of Depakote! That's the really bad thing about being bipolar, at least for me, the irrational thinking you have when you are depressed. And that is where I am right now.
The feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, and loneliness are heartbreaking for me. I feel as though I am living in a vacuum, a vortex, a blackhole, that is sucking the life out of me. My thoughts aren't really rational or irrational, I am barely thinking at all. Just as I am lying motionless on the couch most of the day, my mind is stuck in a state of constant static, like a badly tuned radio. I tell myself this will pass, it always does, but at times, I just feel stuck-like the old saying, "between a rock and a hard spot". It's not self pity, it's just a large, black nothing. The bad part about depression is that it truly is depressing being depressed. A strange conundrum that unfortunately is a part of my life from time to time. It seems as though it is an endless night and then suddenly, you wake up one day and the sunshine has returned. Nothing made a difference, no one stepped in, it just mysteriously decided to release you.
"This Too Shall Pass..."
"This too shall pass...That's what I keep telling myself over and over when I fall into this well of depression. My worst enemy is idleness, so I write to occupy my thoughts, and to exercise my mind-and I think to myself while typing, "If the Hubpages community only knew what they have given me". To know I can come to my computer and write, with the hope that someone might read it and get some little something from what I have written, has given me back a purpose in life I didn't realize I was lacking until months after joining you all here. To be able to come to my computer and read what others have written is so much more enjoyable than any book I have ever read. The stories of courage and drama, life experiences and opinions, obstacles overcome and talents shared, the sheer genius, wealth of knowledge and humor of others, and most of all-the spirited debates! The people who make up the Hubpages community have become like actual friends to me, bravely sharing themselves with the rest of us, who really know each other only by our sign-on names and photos. Their words are what truly defines them and makes them real to me.
In some ways, Hubpages has given me back a life. We only have 1 car, my husband has to work long hours, and I spend the majority of each day alone. That in itself isn't good for me mentally or emotionally and I know that, but "it is what it is". Most of the time I do really well, staying busy either writing or painting or some other art project, but there are times, when things in my extended family are going badly, or financial times look bleak, that the ugly head of depression rears it's head and down the slide I go. Other times, things can be fine, and it comes on anyway, for no reason.
When this happens, all I can do is hold on tight, force myself to live, and ride it out. The roller coaster stops when it's ready. I don't have a hand on the controls-it does. And until the ride stops, I just keep telling myself, over and over, "this too shall pass".