As much as I would like to beat depression into a pulp sometimes it beats me. That’s when I know it’s bad, when I can’t seem to pull myself up at all. There is no such thing as “talk your way out of it” because it is overbearing and powerful. I still try to use all those coping mechanisms, like positive self-talk. It keeps the depression demon from getting worse and that’s saying something really important—do what you can from allowing it to get worse. Control the things you can control—this is what I tell myself.
Depression is a cruel stealing disease. It takes away from every aspect of life including social and financial realms not so silently dismantling a person’s life. I know first hand how the days feel when everything I do requires extra effort especially simple tasks. Things are heavy and the view is about as clear as a thick fog blocking the horizon.
On the worst days I sleep well into the afternoon. I open my eyes and wait for a sign—some kind of feeling that tells me if I will have good energy for the day. I contemplate whether I can keep struggling through all the emotional pain caused by this nasty chemical imbalance that has no cure. Then I tell myself to be kind and focus on all the positive things. I try to put this depression into perspective telling myself, “it’s not my fault I have this illness.”
I struggle with the whole idea of being lazy because when depression takes hold I have no energy for household chores. On my good days I savor the moments when the unbearable fog has lifted. I try to get things done and feel very productive when I have completed tasks. And at the end of the day I reinforce the fact that I’m not lazy at all and that some days are going to be better than others. The key is holding on in between the good days and the bad ones.
I read an article yesterday that said winter time was the worst season for bipolar depression. Clearly the lack of sunshine has something to do with it, if anything no sun makes the condition worse. There are plenty of suggestions to help relieve symptoms but the biggest thing that’s helped me has been what I tell myself when I don’t feel well. I learned I must use extra discipline and not allow negative self-talk to dominate my brain. In fact the more negative I am the worse my symptoms get. It seems like I have no fight if I keep focusing on how bad I feel and believe me sometimes I do want to give up.
But today, for whatever reason, I feel better. I just shake my head in complete disbelief. I didn’t take any new medication. I simply got up and got ready for my part-time job. I came home feeling better. I wish I new the secret to staying well all the time, but that’s a fantasy when you live with bipolar disorder. You just never know when the mental illness Gods wave their magic wand and “BAM!” you feel good. The only thing I know to say is “savor the moment!” It is worth the struggle.