I have spend most of my life struggling with Bipolar Depression. The first time I was depressed was when I was 9 years old. I remember not wanting to take a bath and wanting to stay in bed. My mom got angry with me and thought I was being lazy. My teacher made fun of me in class and had the other students laugh at me. It lasted about a month and then it went away. The next time I was depressed was when I was fifteen years old. I was extremely tired and couldn't understand math and chemistry class. I forced myself to go to school but I struggled with staying awake I slept alot and barely passed my classes. My mother didn't notice my depressed behaviour. Her philosophy is "no news is good news". She didn't know that I almost flunked out of school. My sister was having problems with her mental illness issues. It was a bad year. I got better the next year. I brought my grades up and graduated high school and got into college.
I didn't think much of my depressions. I thought I was just a loser. I had low self-esteem. I was glad to graduate and get into college. I was expecting to get a degree and start my career. I did alright my first year in college but in 1989 I had a severe bout of depression. I was extremely tired and I had a hard time concentrating. I missed class and didn't go to final exams. I felt suicidal and so down. I felt like I was a failure as a Christian. I felt condemned by God. I got incompletes on my classes and almost lost my financial aid. I was sleeping alot and feeling like I wanted to die. Then the depression went away and I felt better after a year.
In 1990 I was hypomanic. I felt good and did well in my classes. I was a great "disciple" in my church and was "fruitful" with conversions. I felt great but the next year I got depressed again. I had to leave school. I was struggling with depression again. I dropped out of school and lived with my mother. I moved in to an apartment and got jobs. I couldn't keep the jobs because I would get depressed and stop going to work. I told a doctor about my depressions and he diagnosed it a slow thyroid and gave me medication for that. I got suicidal and set my apartment on fire. I got scared and left after the fire started. I called a friend who took me to the hospital. I confessed my crime and was arrested. I was severely depressed. I spend 3 weeks in jail. I told them I was depressed they gave me prozac. I was givien an anti-depressant when I got out of jail. The medication triggered a manic episode in me and I went to the hospital. I was thne diagnosed with Manic Depression.
I was put on Lithium which made me gain sixty pounds. I was so out of it for the first six months. I was living in my father's house .He lived with his girlfriend. It was a small one-bedroom house in a bad neighborhood. I was alone and trying to find a way to get a job. I worked with Vocational Rehab to find work .I lived in the house 2 years. I moved in with friends after I found a job. I was stable on my medication. I met my husband and we married in 1995.
For five years things went fine. I worked and was married. I did have a bad time in 1999 when I had a severe depression and manic episode thanks to a psychiatrist who didn't know what he was doing. I struggled to work but had to quit my job when I couldn't work a part-time schedule. My medication was causing me to have trouble working. I decided to quit rather than being fired. I figured I could get on disability. I applied to disabiltiy but was turned down. I applied again in 2002 and 2007 but was turned down. My depression was pretty bad during this time. I was on various medications but was put on lithium again in 2004. It was hard for me to function anymore. I had a hard time sleeping and slept during the day. In 2007 I left the church I had attended for 20 years. I lost contact with alot of people in the church. I felt isolated and alone. I became an atheist. I stopped enjoying life just merely existing. I stopped reading books which I used to love to do. I stopped talking to people and doing things socially. I was in a fog. I couldn't function. I couln't work. It was a tough 8 years. I became a different person.
Depression robs one of one's ability to see things clearly. Everything is skewed in an unfavorable light. It's like walking around with a cloud over one's head that is constantly raining. I lose perspective and feel defeated about life. I feel like I am cursed or condemned to lose everything I love. I feel like giving up. " I don't want to die ; I just don't want to live" from a song I used to listen to. It's just like that. I stopped living and merely existed; waiting for my inevitable death and destruction.
Not being able to sleep at night really affected me. I couldn't find comfort in sleep. I couldn't pass the time sleeping and taking myself away from the tedium of my thoughts. I felt extremely anxious and defeated. I felt like I was going to end up a widow and homeless and dead with no one to care about me. I had a hard time concentrating so reading books was very difficult. Enjoying little things like tea and coffee and meals was devoid of any pleasure. I didn't feel emotion or pleasure. I was flat-lined emotionally. Communication with my husband was sparse. I didn't have any sexual desire. I was waiting to die. I felt like a caged animal just pacing my apartment waiting for the inevitable.
Eight years is a long time to be crippled by depression. It permeates one's life. I was existing not living. I was not able to work during this time. We struggled to pay the bills. It was hard living paycheck to paycheck. We lost our house and our car. Life became a struggle. I was often suicidal but I didn't go to the hospital because we couldn't afford it. I made a commitment not to kill myself or go to the hospital after my manic episode in 2004. I kept trying to find comfort but there was none. I couldn't find pleasure or joy in life. I couldn't pray and find comfort. The only thing that helped was writing. I wrote and started this blog.
My depression is always with me. I think in certain patterns that reflect my depressive state. "What's the poin?" I ask myself alot. We are struggling to stay in our apartment while we wait for unemployment. My husband has been out of work for six months. We are running out of our savings. The defeated attitude rears it's ugly heard. " You will end up homeless, in the hospital and dead" I hear my depressive voice tellling me. "Why bother?" the voice asks me. You will fail. " You can't write, you are not good enough" , " Nobody cares" "It's your fate to end uip homeless" These thoughts are constantly in my mind.
Sleep is an issue that I have struggled with. I don't sleep very much .My mind is not able to find rest from the worries of the day. I deal with alot of anxiety. Thoughts go around and around in my head and I can't silence them with sleep. I sleep 4 hours a day , if I am lucky. As a depressed person I used sleep as an escape. I used to sleep all day and night just to get through the day. I miss the comfort I got from sleep. I need to find other ways to deal with stress and I usually find that in writing.
I think like I am depressed when I am not. I have thoughts run through my mind that hinder my ability to enjoy the day. When I am depressed I am not a person who looks happy. I am not a cheerful person. I look sad or anxious most of the time. I don't feel like acting happy to ease someone else's mind. Being depressed isn't popular. People avoid you. You aren't happy so people tend to ignore you. Sometimes I act happy just so I can be liked. People don't like depressed people. The negative thoughts that I used to think as a depressed person stay with me like burnt toast. It's hard to think positively especially now.
When I get up in the morning I am tempted to go back to bed and just lie there until I feel guilty for lying in bed all day. I am trying to overcome my depressed thinking. I try to do things during the day that give me comfort like writing and reading a book. I feel like I see a train coming and I am trying desperately to get off the tracks. It's hard but I think of the other hard times I have gone though and I think maybe I can get through this hard time.
Depression has robbed me of eight years of my life. I feel like I need to allow the scales to fall from my eyes and see that life isn't always predictable but one can overcome it. I feel that writing isn't just a hobby anymore ; it's my salvation. I feel like I can live my life. I have given myself permission to live my life and to enjoy it. I don't want to just exist anymore I want to participate in life and encourage my friends and family.
Time is viewed by a depressed person as an enemy. It's to be endured and not spent. I want to change my view of time. To spend my day not just endure it. To be productive in writing and a job. I used to
feel that I was running out of time. That I was going to die young like my sister. I don't know if that is true. I may not die like my sister. I don't have to sit around waiting to die. I can live each day and try to survive. Not just survive but live and overcome my weaknesses. I want to be present in my life not laying in bed all day waiting to die. I don't want to be hit by that train I want to get on it.