I’m in a new “fight”…one I don’t like at all…but it’s one I’ve been battling for years in all actuality. It just reared its ugly head again this past week. I *think* I’m winning it but there are moments I doubt myself and therefore, doubt the position of victory.
This fight is the depressive side of bipolar disorder. I’ve been very lucky that this “side” of the bipolar box stays usually on the bottom for me. It’s kept in check by 2 medications. Lithium, which I’ve taken since 2009, and Topiramate. The latter of the two I’ve only been taking for about 3 years and it replaced a few other drugs that just didn’t work well for me. That’s actually a pretty common occurrence in bipolar rhythms – a drug may work well for a while and then lose effectiveness. Body chemistry may change, and in my case, the massive amount of weight loss in 2014 definitely affected how the drugs were working for me, and if alcohol was introduced, well, let’s just say those were some unpleasant nights. I rarely drink anymore anyway, and not because of this matter, but mainly just because I’m not out & about in situations where there is alcohol. I do still like to have a few drinks, and that’s not an issue for me. In fact, I’ve found myself thinking lately, “Man, I’d like to just go get drunk one night!”.
But the thoughts surrounding me lately have just been centered on sadness and overall depression. I’m sure they started upon the death of my good friend Cindy in December; for, up to that point, I had been feeling very positive and right AFTER that I even “spun” into a very upbeat almost overly positive tailspin, as if I was trying to “make things right”…but the last week, all I can think of is overbearing loneliness, no immediate close friends to talk to, unhappiness with career goals, financial burdens, dissatisfaction with a wide spread of things, and the overwhelming feeling that somehow I’ve let everyone down…..and I can’t seem to get past it… it all points to “failure”.
I’ve always been somewhat of an empath, and the nearly insurmountable negativity that has been present in our world surrounding the transfer of power in our government in the US has been unlike anything I’ve experienced in our lifetime. To the point that I have had to severely limit what I allow to be posted on my social media by others; not necessarily (but including) their content, but for my own “sanity”, because I can no longer allow myself to keep witnessing it uncontrollably. Some would say, “Just stop looking at Facebook”, but I enjoy other aspects of the platform, so I’ll find ways to work around that.
I’ve been dealing with this long enough, have had appropriate counseling, plus I’m a smart enough individual to recognize my “triggers” and warning signs to know that I’ll get THROUGH THIS and I don’t believe that I’m in any real and inherent danger, but for the first time in about 8 years now…the sadness of the depressive state has left me tearful a few times, unsure where tomorrow leads, and unable to grasp at things with strong hands. I looked in the mirror and didn’t like my eyes today, felt an old man looking back, a lost person with worry and somewhere in the background of those eyes, tiny mirrors of regrets and questions about decisions I’ve made regarding my own life, and that is not a place I want to be. I’ve always moved forward with determination and surety of myself, except in the period where this was all first diagnosed and I never ever want to go back there. There are even times that I find I wish I haven’t been so open and transparent about the struggle, at least publicly because I still find the stigma and the public knowledge about exactly what bipolar is very unclear.
I read today that Brad Pitt is taking Mimi Baird’s excellent “He Wanted The Moon” and making it into a film – and I hope it is done with the justice it deserves. Most films do not accurately represent what living with bipolar is like, therefore the stigma is perpetuated even further. To also find that he has suffered from depression in his lifetime makes me more interested to see what he’ll do with it.
I’ll close with I *know* this is my own private little world for now, and the truly crappy part is that when the phase ends, hopefully tomorrow or Friday, there’s an exhaustive day of physical recuperation that hits. I really can’t afford that one as I have a client starting on Saturday that lasts through the first week of February. But it is good to be able to at least write it down, have my words here, and know that hopefully someone may be reading it, and that is why I am sharing as much of my life as I can. I know I am not alone.