I was diagnosed with Bipolar 2 a year and a half ago, since then I have slowly told more people and shared on social media some of what I experience with it. It’s an odd feeling to have people come up and ask me about Bipolar after sharing about it on social media.. And now I feel like I need to write down and become more clear about what my answer to “What IS Bipolar” will be in the future when people ask.
After writing this post, I will make a video to put up on YouTube about depression as well. This is going to be a series of blog and video posts that will encompass all that Bipolar is, through the lens of my personal experience. I’m starting with depression for different reasons.. it’s a fairly common human experience, most people have experienced or seen someone close to them experience depression at some point in their lives. It’s also a huge part of Bipolar. Certainly not the fun part. So.. here we go.
Bipolar is a mood disorder. People with bipolar go between depression and mania (or hypomania), and for me, I have a yearly cycle which sinks into a deep depression in the winter months, and slowly builds up to mania in the summertime. Currently, i’ve been hypomanic or just normal feeling. I’ve had some depressive days, but am certainly not IN depression.
When depression comes on, it feels like i’m tired and overwhelmed from outside circumstances and need to retreat and rest.. but then it’s like i’m slipping downward, I never feel rested but keep feeling like I need to rest more and have lots of space from people. People feel like too much. I feel like 1000 pounds, walking down the street gets more and more difficult and I just want to sleep. Cooking, showering, brushing my teeth become a struggle to achieve and more so as the days go on. In the deepest part of depression I am in bed 14 hours a day (at least), eating pancakes (if anything) showering every 3-4 days and my hair doesn’t come out of it’s bun. I completely withdraw socially, have no interest in my friends or being social in any way, and absolutely zero sex drive or motivation to have romantic relationships.
Each evening, the night is welcomed. I want nothing but to sleep. Every night i’m so glad the day is over and I don’t have to be awake anymore. I don’t necessarily want to die, but I don’t particularly want to be alive either. It’s odd, because it’s so clear that my mind is twisted up and not “right”… in a similar way that manic delusions are clearly the mental illness talking, depression feels like i’m being possessed and I am.. not there. Each morning I wake up with pain. My body feels so heavy, my stomach hurts and my lower back has SO much pain. How can I get out of bed? It would take 2 hours every day, sometimes more, just to convince myself to get out of bed. Just to sit in the kitchen and be miserable until I could go back to bed.
I missed so many appointments, for my stomach problems as well as therapy and didn’t make any arrangements to do anything because I knew I would end up cancelling when the time came. Everything felt like effort, and nothing was worthwhile or enjoyable. Usually I would say that I have a normal amount of anxiety, and can easily overcome it by talking myself through things, but with depression happening, anxiety decided to tag along I guess. I would have anxiety asking for help, like asking my neighbour (who would be more than happy to drive me to my appointments) for a ride, and I would cancel appointments because I was too anxious to walk 20 feet to their house and ask.
Depression feels like someone put my brain on slow motion. Trying to bring up memories, or just THINK feels like wading through a murkey, sticky, goopey pool of water. I would have to force myself to smile or be expressive, and it would feel so wrong inside.
The worst period this winter was pretty bad, though I certainly have experienced much worse. I had a substance abuse problem which ended 2 years ago, and I haven’t used substances since then.. but during this bad streak, I found myself reminiscing about the times when I was using benzos and how they took away all the body aches, and any mental/emotional suffering. In just moments, I could fully bring up the sensations and feelings of that time.. tingly euphoria, nothing matters. Everything is OK. Everything is great. This is the point where.. I can only explain it like I felt my perception be skewed, suddenly I went from a burning fear of drugs sucking my life away and ending up like some of the addicted adults I know, to clearly thinking that I could probably get away with finding drugs and doing them, it would improve my quality of life and no one needs to know. I surely could hide it from my therapist and friends. I would be happy alone if I could just have drugs. No one needs to know. It would be so easy. That was a scary moment for me.
.. So, thats bipolar depression for me. It changes my sleep, causes me to sleep way too much. Eating issues. Zero motivation. No creative inspiration. Sexual desire is gone. Human interaction is “just meh”. Self care is the hardest part of my day. Pain. In. My. Body. Nothing matters. Everything sucks. Desire drugs. Addictive tendencies spark up. Irritable. Blank Stare. Don’t care about the future, at all.
All I can really do, is try my best to keep up on self care, and wait it out. I could go on meds, but theres MANY drawbacks of that. I may get fat. I may lose my creative inspiration. I may be a different person. Maybe, i’ll get even MORE crazy or depressed. Long list of side effects that may be life-long. Like.. life threatening rash???? I have to take a pill. Every. Day. I can’t even take a freaking vitamin D pill every day, how will I take meds every day? Maybe I will have a change in perception and start abusing my medication. Maybe I will become more mentally unstable, and be unaware because when you are sick in your HEAD, it’s pretty hard to tell that it’s happening, and you ave to rely on other peoples outside perspective of your behaviour.
Currently I’m doing pretty well, so all of this does not apply to how I am right now. I am making art, self care-ing, eating well, social, sex, motivated, exercising, everything’s good. I have to look out for manic symptoms coming up in the next months, and do my best to use the time where I am in a good mindstate to get myself forward in life.