In my last post The Experience of Depression: The Flip-Side of Mania I focused on both depression and, you guessed it, mania. I have a secret: I’m not feeling so great. I am clinically depressed.
Rather, as my psychiatrist told me yesterday, “You are experiencing a state of depression.” Sometimes, I wonder why she cannot state the obvious with different language, perhaps tell me I am “experiencing a state of rather low mood as your serotonin is a little low, chemically, this is the issue.” That might be nice. Different. But right now? This sucks. I hate depression. It is like the kids in middle school who called me names and pushed me around; it is relentless.
An Episode of Depression After a Period of Wellness
I admit, I thought that maybe this year was different! Yes, I have had some stressful times– the end of a relationship, for example– but that depression was directly related to circumstance. I got better. But this is different. This year has been great!
I live alone and I love it. I bought a huge puppy who gets me out of my home and kisses my face. My career is better than I thought it could ever be. The rain did not bring me to my knees as it usually does.
Psst, you know what I thought? Maybe, just maybe, I would never become ill again! Yes, I have a mood disorder and need to make sure I do not drink or abuse drugs so help me God, but I thought maybe I could take my medication and never, EVER, become sick!
I asked my parents: “Do you think it’s possible I don’t even HAVE bipolar disorder?” They gave me a weird look and told me to stay on my medication. So I did. And all was well, better than it had ever been been…and then, like the seasons changing, my mind slowed down a bit. It was a gradual process–it always is.
Mental Health Relapse
Dammit, I hate that this post is about me! Perhaps that is selfish, but I would rather it be someone else. We all would. I wrote in my last post that when depressed you find yourself in bed, not eating, blinds shut. I wrote this in third person. It’s easier like that. But that’s what happened. Slowly.
A couple hours napping, forgetting to eat, wondering why it was suddenly so difficult to move…to walk my dog, to sweep the floor, to do everything! Living alone, I isolated myself myself. I isolated myself, the ringer on my phone off, until I called my family, crying, “Mom, Dad…I’m not feeling so great.” They tell me they already knew this; they always do. It pisses me off, I digress. So, what’s next?
Sitting in The Psychiatrists Office…
I have not seen her in months. Six, seven, eight months? I was not happy to see her. She asked how I was doing. I said I was tired. Just tired, that’s all, verrrrrrrrrrrry tired. “Are you depressed?” she asked me. I replied, I think, slowly “Well, I guess I am.”
She asked me if I’m eating, how much I weigh, if I want to visit an eating disorders clinic–again–as I memorized the grain in the carpet. No, I do not, I replied. My lack of appetite is related to depression.
Her advice? Move your antidepressant up, see ya in two weeks, good luck! Something to this effect. She also told me to buy some vitamins, which I did, with a $100 price-tag. Calcium and fish oil should be free if you have a mental illness.
Great. Thanks. I’m glad health care is free in Canada. Depression makes me more sarcastic than usual. But I have a point here, really, I do…
Pursuing Stability After Relapse
OK. Fine. I still have a mental illness. I won’t always appreciate sunshine and sushi, lattes or company, whatever. I need to move one of my medications up (bear the side-effects) and hope that it works. But it’s not all bad, really, it’s not, just a blip in the road. A road that has become more stable as the years pass.
Now, time to take a handful of vitamins and contemplate eating oatmeal.
(And exhibit less sarcasm?)