I was really hoping this week’s post would be uplifting.
I was hoping I could report that things were so much better and I’m back to myself-
But I am not.
We’re at three weeks now since this thing began.
I keep reading articles on bipolar and depression to look for clues on the timeline of this thing; to see if I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
I found one yesterday that said in order to even be considered a clinical or major depression:
“Clinical depression is marked by a depressed mood most of the day, sometimes particularly in the morning, and a loss of interest in normal activities and relationships — symptoms that are present every day for at least 2 weeks.”
And that made me shudder, because if the bare minimum for depression is two weeks, and I’m Only at three weeks, how much longer must I endure this?
I say Only three weeks, because when You are your own worst enemy, and depression poisons your every thought- Three weeks is an eternity.
The comfort I have been using to soothe myself regarding timelines is that I reached my therapeutic Lithium levels on February 9th. One article I read said it takes 1 to 3 weeks for the Lithium to start taking effect.
If that’s the case, then by March 2nd, I can start to see the light.
It has been 11 years since my last major depressive episode, and there are things I remember now about depression that I didn’t remember from before.
I know in trying to describe my past depression to Ryan, I said things like ‘I felt like a zombie.’
But now that I’m in this state again, the thing that fascinates me most is the way depression affects your Entire cognitive state.
As in- I feel markedly stupider, and cannot complete the same tasks I normally would.
Normally, I’m aces at my job.
But if you put the paperwork I normally fill out in front of me right now, I likely couldn’t even read it.
It’s like the words go swimming in my head. They bob all around. They zigzag. They’re not in a straight line like normal.
Those who know me very well know that my nickname in elementary school was ‘the walking dictionary’.
I don’t think I’ve made a spelling mistake since third grade.
This week- I was trying to text a friend, and I spelled two very easy nouns wrong. That may not sound like a big deal, but to an English major with an honours degree, it’s shocking to not be able to spell words that you know you’ve never had a problem with.
Ryan has taken over 99% of domestic duties since this started, because I can’t remember how to do Very Normal Things.
I tried to make myself a peanut butter and jam sandwich the other day, which is the most I’ve ‘cooked’ since this thing started.
I got out one piece of bread, the jam, and the peanut butter.
Slathered the bread with jam and peanut butter and then put everything away.
Stared at the bread on the counter like ‘why did I not get two pieces of bread?’ And then was too lazy to open the same cupboard again for another piece of bread.
The other day, I was giving Sadie a bath. When we have old shampoo or conditioner bottles to recycle, I put them in the bath and she plays with them, makes bubbles with them, and helps rinse them out.
The other day, I threw an old bottle of cocoa-butter skin lotion in there for her instead.
It was slimy. It doesn’t make bubbles. There was chunks of it floating in the bath everywhere.
My brain had thought it would have been a good idea.
It’s like my brain has shut down almost everything.
I keep looking for breadcrumbs- reminders of who I Used to be.
I try and remember what I liked to do. What I liked to eat. What I liked to talk about. What music made me smile.
And it all comes up blank.
It makes me nervous what I will talk about to people once I come out of hiding from this.
When all you’ve done is be depressed and try to survive for the past three weeks, you don’t offer up much contribution to the general conversation.
I went through my camera roll the other night to try and remind myself what I like.
I noticed there are a Lot of photos of myself and my children, so I must like parenting.
The biggest thing I noticed about my camera roll was that when I am Not sick- I have a Giant smile.
My eyes are so bright and my smile takes up so much of my face.
So maybe I don’t really have a lot of hobbies- maybe what I’m especially good at is Joy?
I want to get back to that smiling person So Damn Bad.
I keep Googling articles like ‘how to fight depression’ ‘things that help beat depression’ etc.
One of the articles made me laugh out loud yesterday. Maybe I should say scoff, cuz I don’t do much laughing these days.
It said the regular things like: eat well, exercise, sleep 8 hours, etc.
Those are things I am trying to do. And then it pointed out how depression could be incredibly isolating, and it recommended fighting against it by doing things such as ‘joining a club.’
My Lord- if it was as easy at that, there wouldn’t Be depression.
I am hiding on my couch day to day, watching back to back episodes of Love is Blind and randomly bursting into tears or having panic attacks about the latest intrusive thought I had.
I’m not even answering my best friend’s phone calls because I don’t know what to say.
Ha. ‘Join a club’. Lemme just leave this couch and pack up my chess set…
I keep Googling things and looking at the timeline of events and wondering when I can get out of this.
But I think at the end of the day, I need to acknowledge that I don’t have the kind of depression where you might be able to leave the house and join a club.
I have bipolar disorder. I have manic depression.
It is a chemical imbalance in my brain.
The levels of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine in my brain have been disrupted, and they need to come back into balance in order for me to feel better.
I’m really, Really hoping that next Thursday’s report is the one where I get to say I’m on the up and up.
But for today- I’m just posting to say that I’m here.
I’m here. And I hate what’s happening and I wish it would go away. But I’m here, and I’m fighting, and I’m being supported.
Ryan is doing a wonderful job. And I live for the moments in my day where my girls look at me and burst into smiles.
They don’t see me as ‘broken’ or as any different- they just see their Mom.