What bipolar depression sounds like

Written in Summer 2017

I was born to write; it is my oldest passion and it remains my truest. A writer’s greatest handicap is writer’s block. I have drawn before but it does not cause me suffering to not draw. I have painted before but I don’t have to paint to express myself.

But writing. I have to write. It is my outlet and my brain is my muse. Therefore, that is to say that my lack of poetic output does burden me. My sporadic journaling is also always at the back of my mind. It is reported that 80% of writers meet the diagnostic criteria for clinical depression, and I am one of them. No one knows who I am and I have never published anything, but I am a writer and I am depressed.

I am a night owl. I sleep too much and I don’t sleep at all. I am an animal lover and I am owned by 2 cats. I don’t trust people who don’t have pets. I smoke cigarettes and I used to drink alcoholically. Alcoholism runs in my family, so I will never be out of the water, but I interrupted my abstinence from it after 2 and a half years.

I have been drinking, as they say in Alcoholics Anonymous, “like a gentleman.” That is not to say those 2 and a half years have cured my alcoholism; it is simply in remission. Or I have traded it in for a different addiction, of which I’m still trying to discern.

I’m “addicted” to true crime programming. I haven’t worked in over a year now so I can wake and sleep to Investigation Discovery. It helps to reinforce staying inside with the door and courtyard gate locked at all times. It also reinforces not procuring large amounts of money, or at least not any that one would have access to.

There is a reason the majority of true crime viewership are women: we fear for our safety, and being armchair detective to a (hopefully) solved investigation brings us some relief. That is not to say men are never the victims of domestic violence; I have been the perpetrator in my early relationships. More on that at another time.

I recently posted a personal ad which, while it provoked a decent amount of polite and interested responses, also provoked a cruel but devastatingly accurate one. It only hurts if it’s true, right? Or if I allow it to be true, anyway.

Since I’m in the trenches of one of my deepest bouts of depression, I can appreciate that my perception of myself is skewed. But what about my portrayal? To portray myself as depressed would only be honest, the right thing to do. I had one response that almost congratulated me for being so forthright about it, as if that’s not something depressives usually do.

Me, I have been forthright about myself, my condition and my circumstances for as long as I can remember. Most of the time it has backfired because I have given people ammo to hurt me with. My dad has to keep reminding me, as much as he loves me, that putting myself out there is why I get hurt. I have yet to clam up.

It is 5 in the morning right now and I have an appointment with my therapist in the afternoon. I haven’t held my last couple of appointments so a session is overdue. I’m supposed to see my psychiatrist at least once a month but I have been putting that off, as well, either because I have enough medication from the days I have missed or I have nothing to report because of the days I have missed.

I used to be able to go weeks without a psychotropic concoction until depression fell on me again like an avalanche. This current concoction, however, won’t let me go more than 24 hours without a psychiatric migraine. Why I’m still not adherent, I can’t answer; it’s simply another symptom of the depression. Why do I forget to eat, to shower, to feed the cats or empty their litter boxes? The same reason.

Sometimes I leave the house. Not to look for work, of course. I take a break from the isolation and socialize, mostly with new people as I have very few friends. I met more people in one place at Alcoholics Anonymous than I ever did anywhere in my whole life.

I frequented meetings throughout the winter season but stopped going as soon as I picked up a drink again. I appreciate that you don’t have to be sober to attend the meetings, nor are you required by law to pick up sobriety chips. I know that going is very therapeutic for me, so again, I have no answer as to why I don’t just go. But a depressive can only handle so much guilt and shame.

Aside from my dad, who spends the summer months in the North Carolina mountains, I haven’t seen my family in what feels like a very long time. I ended the relationship before it even began but I was once corresponding with a Dominant female.

She encouraged me, present on the phone, to go to the grocery store, buy a greeting card and stamps and mail my mother. It was a Herculean task but once I signed and sealed it, at least for that moment, a crushing weight was lifted off my chest. I wanted my mother to know I thought about her. Freud said, “If it’s not one thing, it’s your mother.” Eureka! So that’s why…

I have abandonment issues. Yes, I’m just one hot mess. But I’ve had recurring dreams about abandonment. My parents divorced when I was 7 and apparently, as the youngest, I took it the hardest. I’ve been in and out of therapy and psychiatrist’s office ever since.

Prior to the divorce we had family counseling! Those were the days (cue Archie and Edith Bunker). My mother and I’s relationship was so bad I had to move out and in with my grandparents when I was 11. Adolescence happened, and so did 2 inpatient hospitalizations, and that’s how I ended up with my father. Wait, I’m still living with him? God damn it.

“Something’s missing. You haven’t brought up your mother,” a recent date commented to me as I cradled my Long Island. “Let’s not go there,” I said. It’s okay, folks, I cried at the end of the night, anyway. It’s like a package deal with me; the tears come included.

Oh, just some emotional neglect and physical abuse and public humiliation. It’s nothing. I’m over it! I’ve called a truce, she is who she is, and I can’t and shouldn’t try to change her. After all, I had motherly surrogates to fill the void. Her sister and her mother held me and listened to me. I’m not ALL fucked up. I’m still lovable. Right, Mom?

I’m not bitter. Really, I’m not. I’m still sad, though. Really sad.

Love me at your own risk. I need it.

2 thoughts on “What bipolar depression sounds like

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