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Depression – Breaking Bipolar

When bipolar symptoms quell, I tend to fear bipolar symptoms coming back. That's right, the absence of bipolar symptoms can actually bring about fear and anxiety. I know that might sound self-defeating, but if you've been on the bipolar rollercoaster for as long as I have, and have seen as much bipolar devastation as I have, you'll understand that fear of bipolar symptoms is actually quite rational. It's a waiting-for-the-other-shoe-to-drop feeling. So if you fear the return of bipolar symptoms, what do you do?
I'm far too acquainted with comfort food and depression. I wish I had no knowledge of it, but that's just not true. I admit to comfort-eating when depressed in spite of knowing that it tends to be bad for one's physical health. So, let's dive into what comfort food in depression is and whether it actually offers any benefit.
Last week I applied for the disability tax credit (DTC). The DTC is something we have in Canada for people with severe disabilities that still pay taxes. It doesn't just allow for a tax credit; it also allows for access to extended medical healthcare, special retirement savings benefits, and more. If you have been reading Breaking Bipolar for a very long time, you might recall that I previously applied for the disability tax credit and was rejected. Well, last week, we entered round two of applying for the disability tax credit.
I feel like I'm a professional patient right now -- a professional patient being one who has found that maintaining their health is a full-time job. This is not a job I applied for, not one I accepted, and not one I want. In fact, being a professional patient might be the worst job one can have. So, let's talk about being a professional patient, how to live with it and how to get through it.
It's hard to know how bad a bipolar episode is when you're living it. That's because it's your brain that is sick. It is your perception that is skewed. Other people may look at you and think it's clear how sick you are and how truly bad a bipolar episode is, but these people are fundamentally missing the problem: you're so sick that you can't see how sick you are.
Sometimes sleep is the only escape from depression in bipolar disorder. I know that sounds bleak, but it's true. Depression can be a horrifically painful, possibly lethal and endlessly attacking illness. Severe depression can feel unbearable to live with. That's why people are looking for an escape. It's completely natural. And while, for the average person just experiencing sadness, escape might be found through a myriad of things, sometimes sleep is the only escape from depression.
Because of bipolar and depression, I have a lack of motivation. Lack of motivation is not technically a symptom of depression according to the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition" ("DSM-5"), but in my experience, it's highly correlated. I must admit, I harshly judge this as being a personal flaw. Here's a look at how depression and a lack of motivation are linked and how a lack of motivation isn't really a personal flaw at all.
It is hard to set goals when you're anhedonic because of depression. In fact, many times it feels impossible. When you don't feel any pleasure, why have a goal? And it's not like the other symptoms of depression lend themselves to goals either, so it's no wonder people have problems setting goals with depression-driven anhedonia.
COVID-19 vaccine refusal could be related to depression. I know there might not seem to be a link there, but I suspect there is. Depression could affect how a person feels about getting a vaccine for a number of reasons, and it may lead all the way up to vaccine refusal thanks to depression.
In my last post, I talked about how I experience depression as anger or rage. In this post, I'm going to talk about how to handle anger or rage that is really depression in disguise.