I just observed that it’s been over a month since I last posted an original writing. This may be the longest stretch of depression, absent of any significant hypomania, since I was re-diagnosed bipolar in April. This, despite the dosages of my medications being increased on a monthly basis.
I met someone last night who had an intimate understanding of how bipolar works and during those few hours together, I believe I felt a brief reprieve from my suffering. I can’t tell you why I felt that same relief when I first started Latuda in July. Was it merely a placebo effect that just didn’t last?
I’ve been waking up every day already in a depression. My last therapy session was especially disheartening and, admittedly, morbid. It is suggested I’m going through an existential depression because my life feels devoid of meaning right now. But also, most pressing, devoid of connection.
That friend reminded me that there ARE triggers, or set-offs, for deep, lasting depressions. That when people lose their jobs, those not necessarily ill already are much more resilient. Those mentally ill, it is normal to be long and arduous.
I thought I was resilient for all I’ve gone through and without, but maybe I’ve just been resilient against suicide or at least self-sabotage. Though one could argue every day unproductive with depression is a form of self-sabotage. Maybe that’s not necessarily so, but it’s what depression has you to want to think.
It’s hard to stay afloat during a depression when your house is unkempt, the litter boxes remain uncleaned for an extended period of time, the fridge is crammed to capacity with fast food and soft drink garbage because you won’t take it out to the dumpster, and you’ve resolved that you can’t work in a society obsessed with work.
These writings are not to complain or to even seek a co-sign. My intention is not to wallow, but that is the nature of clinical depression; everything seems so unsurmountable, ergo the subsequent guilt and self-shame.
I know it will get done eventually, perhaps when a hypomanic spurt returns or there’s a breakthrough in the medication. I’m just befuddled as to why my medication has been increased on a monthly basis and yet the light hasn’t been turned back on yet.
It peeks through during moments of connection, though. I rarely if ever feel depressed while I’m sitting in an AA meeting, despite the fact that I don’t engage with anyone like I should. There’s still a lot of the social anxiety that’s been fueled by the rampant isolation. It’s a sort of tug-of-war.
My therapist suggested I might benefit from residential treatment, where I would receive more than an hour of therapy and would be in the proximity of those suffering like me. It might become a necessity if I don’t improve in some period of time.
She has to remind me that I’m NOT supposed to or even expected to do this all on my own. I told her I’ve depleted all the resources I’ve tried on my own, like bibliotherapy and philosophical pursuits. It is hard for me to trust there’s outside support that would help me through this.
My only resource as far as a support group is AA and they do not address mental illness outside of alcoholism. Alcoholism IS their mental illness, but somehow I find it hard to understand if they’re not also suffering from something else diagnosable.
I don’t have alcoholism as my sole mental illness; I’m legitimately dual-diagnosed and require support with that. Being dual-diagnosed without the outright awareness that others in the rooms might be as well feels discouraging and I feel alone and ashamed.
My family keeps waiting on me to confide in them but it’s still a sort of social anxiety. I need the love they want to offer, and I’ve realized over time they’ve done a better job than I’ve given them credit for. Their connection is just as important as a suitable support group. Not a replacement, but as an adjunct.
My therapist and my dad cannot be my only support system. They’re crucial in times of crisis, but every day living still feels elusive and difficult to construct. It’s hard to accept that while I need more intimate support and validation, my life is still up to me to live.
I think our upcoming task in therapy is to start working on a life plan, an every day living schedule. I reiterate, I can’t do this on my own, no matter what state of bipolar I’m in. I cannot rely on hypomanic spurts to return.
It is a misconception that hypomania means happiness and contentment, or even productivity. Everyone experiences hypomania (or mania, such as with bipolar type 1) differently. I experience it as recklessness at best.
While it’s entirely true I’ve suffered along the way, in a depression those days of stability are hidden in a separate memory. All I can do is continue to allow some executive function inside to stay on track and do what I need to do for my illness.
For example, I rescheduled my psychiatrist appointment a week earlier. It is tomorrow. I received my disability rejection letter, but I plan to appeal it. I still check the weather and beach conditions to ensure I get some sunlight. I still shower.
I am an arduous work in progress. Progress. Progress not perfection. I just need help not being so hard on myself. I am doing the best I can with what I have, but yes, I need more help. It’s just tricky to find it outside of books.