A note about depression…

Disclaimer- I am not looking for sympathy or even understanding, I just feel it is necessary for my own benefit to put this into words. Take it however you’d like.

I have struggled with bipolar disorder for my entire adult life. I have been hospitalized several times and misdiagnosed more times than I can count. When I moved here, I found a good therapist who actually gets it and with her help I have managed to find a combination of medications that allow me to function normally. It took 12 years to get to that point. Not to say that everything is perfect with the medications, I continued to have good days and bad days but then again, doesn’t everyone? I had been on this “cocktail” of psychotropic medications for several years when the Zen Master and I decided to have another child. In order to even start fertility treatments, I needed to be off most of my medications for at least 4 weeks. Several of the meds I take have the chance of causing some rather significant birth defects when taken during the first trimester so I couldn’t chance even having them in my system for the first week or two of pregnancy. Since it took us about 8-9 months to get pregnant and then I was unable to start anything back up until my second trimester, I was functioning in the absence of most of my medications for over a year. Even now, as I am nearing my third trimester, I am on a reduced dosage of 2 out of 3 of my main medications.

Here’s the thing about bipolar disorder… There are highs and lows. Ups and downs. Moments of euphoria and invincibility and never-ending energy followed by periods of crushing exhaustion and sadness and the inability to rouse yourself out of bed even to eat. Before I was diagnosed, I thought everyone lived like this. My mom is very classically bipolar and spent much of my youth unmedicated or incorrectly medicated so I thought the ups and downs were normal. My dad generally just avoided the swings altogether so my main point of reference was mom. I even learned to manage my symptoms to some extent, taking advantage of the manic phases to clean, declutter and otherwise get things done and would follow-up each high swing with a few days or weeks of lows where I faked sick for school or work so I could stay in bed all day and order pizza (which was a food that I could have delivered and could eat in bed… No wonder I had a weight problem).  When I finally got my medications straightened out, I still had highs and lows but no more than your average person. Stretches of sleepless days which culminated in expensive shopping sprees and 15 garbage bags full of clutter on the front curb turned into stretches of productive days with a decent amount of sleep, getting to work on time and a house that was cluttered but clean and not something you’d see on Hoarders. Seemingly endless periods of mind-numbing depression that negated any effort of doing anything morphed into a regular routine with some “bad days” with some mild irritability and struggles with stress.

Apparently, the amount of medication I am on right now, for the health and safety of the infant that I am growing, has completely negated the manic phases and has put enough of a damper on the depression so that I am able to leave my bed to eat and physically go to work but not much else. I’m not sad, I don’t want to cry all the time, I don’t want to hurt myself, I just don’t want to… well, I don’t want to do anything really. My sole response when people ask me how I am feeling is, “tired.” There is nothing else. Just tired. Exhausted. Wasted. I’m not happy, I’m not sad, I’m not angry, I’m not excited, I’m not scared, I’m not nervous. Just tired. It’s partly physical exhaustion, making a baby and all, not to mention not really being able to sleep very well. But mostly, I think, it is mental. People who don’t have any personal experience with depression think that it means being sad or suicidal or something like that. Which at times is true. But for me at least and especially now, the most debilitating thing about depression is The Tired.  It is all I can do to get out of bed in the morning and go to work. When I’m at work I’m extremely lucky if I get one or two things done. Then I go home and crawl into bed and play mindless games on my phone until I go to sleep. At some point between getting home and falling asleep I eat something and give Princess Punk her bedtime tuck-in but that’s about it. I don’t read books, I don’t watch movies or TV, I just zone out until I fall asleep. I will turn the TV on so there is noise in the background but to actually pay attention to a full hour-long show? WAY too much energy required.

Sorry, Jack Bauer.

Crap… now I made Jack cry.

So I think I needed to put that into words. Because I can’t get past The Tired. Because I’m feeling guilty for neglecting my job and my family. Because part of me knows that maybe putting words to this feeling (or lack thereof) might help me get past it. Because maybe, just maybe, getting this post out will give me some sense of something that will cut through the absolute nothing that is filling me up right now.Because depression sucks and I’d like it to be done now.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Brain Apocalypse « newlifeinvermont

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