Tag Archives: mental illness

Depression Expression

What do you call your depression?  How do you describe it?  How do you combat it?

This is something I wrote a few days ago:

I am so sad.  So deeply, deeply sad.  It’s almost that it is so strong of an emotion, so overpowering and overwhelming that simple words do not come close, not nearly close enough, to describe even an ounce of it.

I wish I were able to depict it artistically in some way.  I understand and appreciate those who do.  Sometimes I will google “sadness” or “depression” and click on the images tab to find the one that speaks to me the most.

All the synonyms, again, are unable to express it nor define it correctly nor accurately.  It is so immense and heavy and weighing.  Sorrow, gloom, despair – these all seem like cardboard cut-outs of the same word, and it does not express the true nature of it.

Sometimes in pictures, it’s shown as a heavy burden, like a ball and chain.  Or a weight on someone’s back or shoulders.  Sometimes it’s depicted like a ghost shrouded in black, or a scream, or a soul being tortured in some way.  Agony, defeat, these are getting closer when you look at others’ visual depictions of it.

It is a hopelessness

And that is where my writing ended that day.  It is strange for me to be unable to put things into words, as writing has always come so natural to me.  I can see poetry possibly being an effective strategy for helping me to express my depression, though I haven’t dove into poetry for 20 years.

Let me know what tools you use to describe your own depression, or to express whatever turmoil you’re struggling with inside.

My Support System

I am one of those people with bipolar disorder who happens to have a very strong support system.  These people include my family and friends, doctor and therapist (well, I’m in a transition with that, but my previous one was Rockin’ Awesome Therapist Lady) and also, my cat.  I can call up any one of my sisters and they will lend a solid listening ear no matter what time of the day or night it is.

I also have a simple, low-stress job currently.  It doesn’t provide much pay and doesn’t provide benefits and barely supports my family, but I can surely say it’s the best job I’ve ever had.  I have no worries whatsoever, the owners adore me, and the customers are sweethearts.  (Did you hear that?  I just said the word “customers” and “sweethearts” in the same sentence.  And I totally mean it.  I know you don’t believe me.  You should.)

So in saying all that, I’m pretty lucky.  I once was a manic mess battling myself in a mental hospital.  It gave me a deep, sincere empathy for certain populations of the mentally ill in this country – those who you might see outside a department store, homeless, muttering to themselves.  I truly and honestly believe that that would be my life if it weren’t for all the blessings I have been given to maintain a certain level of sanity in the maintenance of my bipolar disorder.

I did lose my job at one point when I had a manic episode and had to be hospitalized.  I almost didn’t finish college when I had my first psychotic episode and took time to recover.  But I did it.  Thanks to the support.

So if you are someone who loves someone with a mental illness and is supportive, please give yourself a hug.  Because it is HARD WORK and for some of you, you may be the reason that the person you care about is still alive right now.  I know that is true for the ones who helped me when I so desperately needed them.

 

One Day at a Time

One day at a time.IMAG0264

It’s been my motto for a while now.  I have it posted in various places where I can see it often along with visually soothing images (usually with farm machinery involved (I grew up on a farm)).

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Only today did not feel like a one-day-at-a-time day.  It felt like one moment at a time, then it felt like five seconds at a time, then it felt like a complete panic that said “oh shiznick I’m crying in front of co-workers, wipe your tears off with your sleeve and try to keep moving.”  I go on break and I soak myself in mindless youtube videos and for the short half hour I forget where I am and suddenly I’m late punching back in on the timeclock.  (And yes, my job has a literal old-timey timeclock where you put in the time card and it cha-chunks and stamps your ticket.)

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I wiped my tears on my sleeve all day long today and when one co-worker asked if I was okay, I confessed that no, I was not okay.  Yet, I didn’t burst out in sobs as I had expected I would.  She just turned to me and said, “Life, huh?” and I confirmed that yes, I was not fine because of Life and we left it at that.  And I was grateful.

Because the thing is, even with all this depression floating around, I still have to do my job.  And I’m actually glad I have one, otherwise my depression could spiral out of control with no steering wheel attached, or burst out in flames with just the right spark.

I’m glad I have to routinely converse with other human beings, as much as I loathe getting out of bed and have to spend a good 45 minutes talking myself into the entire process of opening my eyes, getting myself into an upright position, and putting both feet on the floor.  And that 45 minutes  doesn’t even include remembering all the other parts like pants, shoes, and socks.

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This whirl of depression has snuck up on me, jumped onto my back, as Winston Churchill’s sneaky ol’ Black Dog will do.  He’ll sit in the corner, tight into the dark, so you become almost unaware he is there.  Maybe he’ll bare his teeth once in a while, growl, or in some other frightening way, remind you of his presence.  But eventually, inevitably, he will attack, always with a ferocity that scares me, sinking his teeth into my neck in a complete ambush, debilitating me.  And I suffer.  And sadly, in turn, my family suffers.

And imagine with this dog on your neck (or for my unlucky readers who have their own Black Dog of depression who already understand and don’t have to imagine) trying to perform normal day-to-day tasks.

He drags you down, you’re bleeding from your neck with a wound no one can see, and you falter at every step.

Take a walk!  Go outside!   Enjoy the sunshine!  Count your blessings!  I would if it would get him off me or even keep him at bay.  Sometimes when I write, I’m able to alleviate some of the pain enough to continue.  So I’ll keep taking it one day at a time.  And I’ll keep my chin up and hope he releases his grip soon.

Please, Black Dog of Depression.  Please, release your grip soon.

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Wrong Way On a One-Way Track

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FYI:  This is not actually me.

I feel like I’m headed toward a breakdown.  Like a runner who’s running a bit too fast and starting to lose traction but can’t slow down soon enough.  This is the exact scenario I work so hard to avoid, and yet – here I am.

Starting to flail my arms and trying to maintain my balance, but who am I kidding?  We all know I’m about to fall.  And I’m going to smack the ground.  Hard.

I could write about how hard it is as a mom with bipolar disorder.  I could write about how my husband tries to support me but we’re having marital problems.  I could write about how I’m terrified that my oldest son will develop bipolar disorder and my worst fear is that one day he will commit suicide.

I know my coping skills.  I am to:

Image result for running and almost falling

This is just a pretty picture that reminded me of a place I used to go to on my dad’s farm.  It was an old train track in a wooded area behind the acres he farmed.  When Mom got sick and there was no one to take care of me, I’d ride with him in the tractor.  If I got bored he’d let me out at one end of the field and I’d wander down the grassed-up tracks till he came back around to pick me back up again.

– write
– take walks
– utilize my support system
– stick to a routine of regular sleep
– eat healthy
– SEE MY THERAPIST.

I haven’t seen her since…October?  That is when I realized that my insurance isn’t paying for my visits (and won’t until February).  This is what stirred up problems for me last time, too – I wasn’t seeing a psych nor a therapist for months leading up to my breakdown.

Tomorrow I’ll call the office.  I’ll make an appointment.  I’ll find a way to pay for it later.  I have to see someone.

I got hit today. By a car. Well, but I was in a car, and so was the driver, and so everything was supposed to be fine. Which it was. Sort of.

Cause I drove away, and no one was hurt. And plus, it wasn’t even my fault. So that, too, was good.

But there was something not quite right about how I felt afterwards. Sure, we said our awkward goodbyes at the scene in front of the cop at the end.  And I drove away, adjusting my rearview mirror confidently, knowing I had done nothing wrong to cause this interference in the process of our days.

But then, all of a sudden, I just lose my sh!t.  I’m just crying and sobbing and snotting over every piece of clothing I’m wearing, and I’m just like, “woah.”  What is happening here?

Everything that I have ever thought of or been concerned about or worried about just comes pouring out in wave after wave, just crashing into the surface, violently, shamelessly, just smash, crash.  I don’t even know what the hell is going on.

I try to overcome it, I figure if I just lay down it will pass but it doesn’t pass so I make the WORST choice possible for a bipolar person in distress – I reach for alcohol to numb the pain.

Have I been here before? Yes.  Has it EVER EVER EVER helped? NO.

The only saving grace was me calling my best friend, who soothed me and calmed my crashing waves of emotion and swam me carefully back to shore.

I swear, she is what keeps me here.

Tomorrow is going to hurt. Bad. And the next day after that will be even worse. I’m just hoping that the next day after that gets slightly less worse. That’s what I’m shooting for. Wish me luck.

 

Find My Way Back Home

I saw your parents yesterday.  They looked older, which always surprises me, as I always like to imagine that things stay exactly as they are whenever I’m not around.  I wanted so badly to ask about you but I didn’t.  Because I knew.  I might have even seen it in their eyes.  I no longer exist to you.

I still don’t know why and it hurts so bad.  Did I do something wrong?  Did I say something awful?  What made you turn away from me so quickly?  What movement did I make that made you jump and run?  I’m so very sorry for whatever it was.

I need you back in my life, but I know you won’t be back.  It’s something I haven’t yet learned how to accept.  Your support, our laughter, our memories.  Why did it all have to change so suddenly?  Is this just how things go?  If so, when will it happen again with another?  These are the fears I have.

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Another gone for good, only this time, it’s family.  There is nothing left in your voice, nothing left to hold onto.  I receive controlled glimpses of your life, parts that I can see you have thoughtfully prepared before hitting “send.”  I miss the raw, open wounds we used to share, discuss, analyze till there was nothing left to pull apart.  Though others try to convince me you’re still in there, I know better.  I’ve seen it before, only this time, it’s closer to me than I ever would have imagined.  Because it’s you.

The one who guided me.  Who wrapped me up in your arms whenever I cried out.  The one who knows my deepest thoughts, was with me through my most awful experiences.  The one who made me laugh and laughed for me when I couldn’t find the humor in myself.  I feel cheated.  You’ve been stolen in the worst way.  And I was the one who was robbed.

I try to follow along with the parts that you’ve selected to share.  I tried to find you once, but you weren’t there and it was then that I knew you wouldn’t be back.  I can’t come to terms with it, and I am positive that I never will through the rest of our lives.

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To my son:  I’m sorry I’ve passed this enemy onto you.  I’ve seen it in you since you were first born, as we who carry it can recognize it in each other.  I knew it would happen, but I didn’t know how much it would hurt for us both.  Your seriousness, your wants, your needs so strong and so full of passion.  They will only become more intense, though it’s hard to believe your young self can take much more.  I am helpless to save you from it.

All I can do is tell you that you are smart, you are creative, you are incredible.  You have a light inside you unlike any other.  Your teachers comment on it.  Your friends are drawn to it.  Your family feels it.  I cannot live without it.

Your life is not going to be easy.  As often as your anger rises and falls and your joy rushes unexpectedly in boundless limits throughout you, eventually you will require maintenance to maintain a certain degree of sanity.  Some feelings you will have and some things that will happen will be difficult and most won’t understand because they are not like you and I.  Just promise me you will hold on.  Just promise me you won’t give up.  And if you do that, if you promise me, then I will, too.  I will make that promise to you and we can both survive, in whatever way, shape or form we have to.

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Please, make the tears stop.  Please take down the sun and make it dark again so I have somewhere to hide.  There are so many hours, so many minutes and seconds before the day is done and I just don’t know how to hold on till then.  My consciousness hurts, like an endless pain that just won’t subside, no matter what I do.

Please cover me, give me a shell to crawl into, send me underwater so I can find relief.  I’m too old to lock myself into a room.  Give me the keys, let me drive far far away.  I promise I’ll come back if I can find my way back home.

 

 

 

 

 

My Blind Rage

screaming through a litany of f-word adjectives describing every personplaceorthing who had the audacity to be in existence at the same moment in time as me.

tucked into the corner of a locked room with the lights off and my hands covering my ears because “I just needed to get away for a while.”

muttering quietly, speaking to my own brain, who keeps playing tricks on me and won’t leave me the fuck alone.

out in the middle of some backwoods country road intersection in pitch-black darkness, leaned over and gasping for breath cause I tried to run hard enough to get away from myself and failed.

flinging verbal venom, my words striking the face of whatever poor soul chose to speak to me.

 

What hurts is that none of these versions of me reflect who I truly am.  This is why bipolar disorder hurts so bad.  Because there I am, trapped inside of that hideous monster, unable to control it, trying to escape it, and all the while, no one can hear my cries, my sincere apologies, my deep regrets.

This is why I can so strongly feel that those around me would be better off without me, despite my logical reasoning that this is not so.  It’s because I can see myself acting this way.  I can see myself snapping at those who love me, who are trying to help, who want to care for me.  And yet all I can do is watch as those claws dig into their tender skin, as those monsterous fangs spew poison out of my own mouth.  And all I can do is hope that they survive.