originally posted on psychcentral.com
The last three to four weeks for me have been extremely hard. I found myself in the grips of a deep depression. I am fortunate enough to no longer suffer from the deep devastating suicidal depression that once came with my bipolardepression, I am blessed in that way. However, nonetheless it is still a devastatingly life-halting depression that really makes life difficult to tolerate for a few weeks and difficult to carry on with my daily activities.
My normal, everyday personality is more along the lines of a bubbly, happy person, and I tend to have a larger than life, over-the-top personality. These last few weeks though I couldn’t find a way to enjoy even going out with my friends let alone smiling when we were out. It got to the point while we were out where they would ask many times over, “Tosha are you having a good time?” I would assure them I was, and honestly, I was trying to have a good time, however it was difficult to enjoy myself because the depression was so thick.
Think of depression as a black thick tar, that is what it feels like you are trying to live your life going through. Each day you are struggling to survive by crawling along barely making it, because this thick black tar is holding you back as you are trying to move forward. Every time you move it almost feels as if it is drying up around you and it is getting harder to move all the time. People who have never experienced a true bipolar depression think that it is just feeling sad when we say we have depression but it is so much more than just feeling sad. It is a complete total fatigue of energy because it takes completely every ounce of what we have to just get out of bed some days. Which is why many days we just won’t even do that.
I have anemia from having weight loss surgery, when my iron is low is when I will feel the most depressed. I figured this time my iron was low, but I had a doctor appointment this past Friday, and when I went in and saw the doctor my levels were perfect, better than perfect. This time my depression was all mood related and nothing is physically wrong with me. Which meant that I needed to make sure I was following my care plan to a T to make sure I was not letting any outside triggers influence my mood at all. The very next day I began.
As I started to dissect my care plan to figure out what I was doing wrong. I thought what had I changed recently that could be making me depressed and triggering a depression? It all started 4 weeks ago when I started to cook full size meals for my family most nights, meaning that I would eat at 5 or 5:30 at night instead of 6:30 or 7 when I would take my meds for bed. When I did that I wouldn’t get to bed on time, and I would end up staying up way past my bedtime then and be up half the night. Being up half the night ended up triggering my depression. I was doomed. My depression creeped in quickly and it held on for dear life.
By this past Monday I didn’t want to get out of bed. I went to see my favorite band this past weekend and I was there and trying to enjoy myself and I smiled and I danced, but I wasn’t truly enjoying myself. That was when I knew I had to do something and fast. This week I made some changes to my care plan that got me back on track. I am eating correctly again. Getting my meds on time. I got back to the gym, too. I had been slacking there as well, but if I take my meds on time and go to bed at the right time I have energy the next day.
It doesn’t always have to be a huge trigger that messes up your care plan. It can be a subtle change that can throw you off. However, a simple change can make the difference in not having depression or having depression when you have bipolar disorder. Stability is a constant balancing act, but that is the ultimate goal. Stability! I know it is hard to find, but in mental health recovery the goal is to have more days stable, then depressed or manic. Everyone’s recovery looks different, but recovery in every form is wonderful.