Monday, September 12, 2011

Darker Days

It's been a little while since I've posted something new. I have been going back and forth in my mind whether or not to post an entry reflecting the "darker" side of me. I came to the conclusion that I wanted to go ahead and publish an entry, even though it is not the type of posting that I have been doing thus far.

As many of my close friends and family know, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder back in 1998. Over the past 13 years, it has been a struggle to find the right combination of medications to keep me "stable". Most of  the time, I have found that many different combinations of mood stabilizers, anti-depressants, and anti-psychotic medications would work for about a year or so and then stop working for me and my symptoms return. That has been one of the most frustrating things about my experiences with treatment. I have been fortunate to have spent the last two and a half years on the same medications without needing any adjustments, and have been the most stable that I've probably ever been since being diagnosed. I've had a couple of short lived manic episodes during that time, but didn't suffer too many negative consequences, definitely nothing compared to what I have had to deal with in the past.

However, I am now in the midst of a period of pretty significant depression that has been gaining momentum for about six weeks now. I was hoping that perhaps it was due to my having to deal with many serious health issues over the past year. I was hoping that now that I have been able to get out of the house and walk again after my ankle fusion surgery back in June, I would feel better again. But my mood is not lifting. Once again I am facing day after day not wanting to get out of bed, not wanting to eat, not wanting to be around people, crying often, and other symptoms too numerous to mention. I do not like feeling this way and I am frustrated that I will have to continue to deal with managing my bipolar disorder throughout the rest of my life. I saw my psychiatrist this morning and she decided to do a little "tweaking" of my medications to see if this can be resolved. I hope that it does lift soon. Depression is not only mentally and emotionally draining, it is physically draining as well. There are times when it feels like it takes 72 hours to move from Monday to Tuesday and time just drags on and on.

The good thing is that I have learned to identify changes in my moods which lead me to manic or depressive episodes. I have learned from experience that I can ride through the darkest of days and make it through to the other side. Going to a bipolar support group and having a few close friends who also have this disorder has been a tremendous help to me. I have finally realized that there is always hope as long as I continue to do the next right thing, see my psychiatrist, my therapist, and strictly follow my medication regimen. Today, I am grateful that my depression is not leaving me feeling hopeless and helpless or even suicidal. That is progress. It was not too many years ago where I wouldn't have been able to say this or believed that things would improve. I try to remember that it is always darkest before the dawn. And I have learned that it is OK to share when I'm struggling. No one's life is always good or always bad. If I only share when I'm doing well, I am not being true to myself and I am cutting off friends and family who are there to support me. So, I will continue to hang on, trudging through the "muck" and allowing others to help me through. I no longer feel that this is something that I have to face alone.

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