It’s probably not news to anyone that I’ve crash-landed in the Land of Depression. This post is coming to you live from my couch, in all my unwashed, pyjama-ed glory. Sexy times.
It’s not really shocking that I’m here. A perfect storm of my friend dying suddenly, being blindsided by the rise of Trump and the unmasking of all hatred of the world, and a realisation of how much confidence has been knocked out of me by a bully in my previous job – it’s no wonder that I’ve been tipped over the edge.
Whenever I land back here, it feels like I’m back at square one again. It feels like no matter what I do, I’m just living my life frantically trying to clutch at the joys in life before I go down with the ship again, careening from one nervous breakdown to another.
When I get unwell, a lot of my pain is because I feel like I’m letting everyone down. I worry that I’m letting my work and my colleagues down. I despair over all the clients that won’t get help because I’m not there to fundraise and advocate for them.
I hate crying over the phone to my family. I hate feeling like I’m not an equal partner to Manfriend. I hate how I go silent for months on end with my friends, how I’m not there for them. I hate hauling ass to counsellors and having to tell my story all over again, and banshee crying until my head hurts.
Often, my psychologists look at me with a bit of despair because I can quote the literature to them. I know the theory.
I know the CBT, I know the ACT, I know the DBT – hell, I can even whip out relational or the Freudian theory if I need to. If therapy was a video game, I would long since have clocked it, AND unlocked all the secret levels.
I know that I need to get enough sleep, that I need to eat well, that I need to have “work life balance”, that I need to not get too stressed, that I need to meditate, that I need to stay in touch with friends and put my relationship with Manfriend first.
But you know what? It’s tiring.
It’s tiring having to live like that. It’s tiring living with an evil twin telling me how terrible I am all the time. I try to stay on top of things, to keep an equilibrium. But I’m exhausted. I’m so fucking tired. I’m so tired of fighting to stay well.
Because it feels like no matter what I do, that black shadow is just waiting – looming over me – when I’m vulnerable, that’s when it gets its claws in.
I hate having to try out new cocktails of drugs, and the weird new side effects they can bring. I hate the grogginess, the insomnia, the tingly hands, the weight gain, the weight loss, the anxiety, and just generally feeling off kilter.
Pity party: Population – me.
I read a study the other day that said that bipolar is second only to cancer in terms of disability. And that rings so true to me. In a way, it validates how I’m feeling right now, and makes me feel a bit less useless because I know I’m not in this shitty boat by myself.
I remember a couple of years ago, when I was telling my therapist that no matter what I do, I just crash and burn all over again. I’m a failure. And she stopped me in my tracks and said no, that wasn’t the story she heard at all.
To her, my life story isn’t one of failure – it’s a resilience story.
It’s a story of someone who keeps fighting no matter what the odds – who might get unwell every now and then, but who does whatever she can to get well.
So wish me luck. I’m getting my fighting gloves on.