Do you want to help a depressed friend or family member this holiday season? Many people do. Depression touches so many that it's almost a given you will know someone who struggles with it (or you, yourself, will) at some point. But many people don't know what to do to help a person with depression over the holidays. Here are some tips to consider.
Depression – Breaking Bipolar
Celebrity suicide can take a toll on those who are depressed and that happened to me this week with the suicide of Kate Spade and the suicide of Anthony Bourdain, reported just this morning. I can say I was upset by Kate Spade’s suicide (particularly the details, which I won’t discuss here) earlier in the week and then this morning, when I learned of Anthony Bourdain’s suicide (not an official ruling at this time), it felt like adding insult to injury. The celebrity suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain have actually worsened my depression.
Bipolar depression can last for years. Now, I know, bipolar disorder is a cyclical illness – i.e. you cycle through various states like hypomania, mania, depression and euthymia (no symptoms). This is true. But it is also true that a person can get trapped in one of the mood states. This isn’t necessarily the most common manifestation of bipolar disorder, but it does happen. And usually, if you’re trapped in a particular mood state, it’s bipolar depression that lasts for years.
Rumination in depression (both unipolar and bipolar depression) is common, and it is typically a negative thing. Doctors will ask about ruminations as will therapists; but what is rumination and how do you handle rumination in depression?
I likely don’t need to tell you bipolar depression is hard, and I probably don’t need to tell you concerted effort – trying hard – is difficult, too. But the thing is, bipolar depression management (or bipolar management in general) requires trying hard all the time. The effort of this is not something to be underestimated. This is a tall order. Trying hard with bipolar depression requires such energy and focus it feels impossible to do it all right all the time in spite of the need to do it constantly.
I’m sorry to say I have found bipolar disorder requires a fake smile pretty much on demand, every day. We all have fake smiles for different situations but mine need to be at the ready, at all times, because I use them more than others. Fake smiles with bipolar disorder suck, but what can I say, I need them.
There are so many things that I want to do during the day but I can’t do them due to the invisible barrier of bipolar disorder. When I try to explain that to people, it’s almost impossible. I just can’t do things. It’s like I’m weighed down with 1000s of pounds. There’s an invisible barrier that bipolar disorder erects between me and what I want to do.
Like many with bipolar disorder (up to 50%1), I have attempted suicide, but the question is, did that suicide attempt change my outlook on life? This is an interesting question because so many of us have been in this situation. For some, the answer is definitely, “yes,” but for others, I think their suicide attempt didn’t change their outlook on life and, unfortunately, attempt suicide again, or, finally, die of suicide. For me, the answer is both “yes,” and “no.”
I write about some things that can trigger those with depression so it’s important for readers to know how to deal with depression triggers in blog posts. Understanding how to deal with depression-triggering blog posts can protect you from negative emotional effects and worsening symptoms.
I hate it when people say, “failure is not an option,” because, especially with bipolar, failure is always an option. And by saying “Failure is not an option,” people make it sound like failure is bad. But we all need to accept that failure is an option, and a viable one. We need to accept that with bipolar, failure happens.