This piece may not be all that elegant or pretty, I am hoping it makes sense, but I give no promises.
The last month has been hard. And explaining why is complicated and frustrating. But I recently put a few thoughts together.
When the bipolar decides to get mean, I can’t think straight, I can only fixate on a thought. I struggle to escape it because no matter what I want to think, there is that other thought, the depressive or euphoric thought that must be thought. I literally exhaust myself trying to stop the thinking.
This exhaustion carries over and expounds as I continue to care for my family and home. I give it all I have, but I’m not really there. I’m too busy trying to stop thinking what demands to be thought.
Both the depressive and euphoric thoughts of bipolar make my mind very loud. When I am depressed, it often starts with fixating on a thought. I can have a thought come into my mind of what I did wrong, how I did something stupid, or how someone treated me 20 years ago–and it comes in and sets up housekeeping. This is actually typical of the start of a depressive cycle. It is always a sign that my medication needs to be changed, adjusted or supplemented. The noise in my mind doesn’t stop there; it is constantly throwing thoughts at me of how much I hurt, how hard the battle is, how I can’t stand the pressure inside, how this time the doctor won’t be able to help, how I’ve reached the end of the line for help and hope. I think this over and over. And I want to escape, but there is no escape, and the fear and anguish sets in. As that continues, the thoughts become incoherent. I know there is something there. I know it’s not good. I know it is out of control, but I don’t know what it is so I don’t know how to shut it down, how to get rid of it or how to control it. I’m at the mercy of the thoughts.
In all of this, it is very hard to be present. It is very hard to talk to others. It is very hard to care about others. As much as I want to have THOSE thoughts, I can’t hear them for the thoughts I am forced by the depression to have.
Honestly, 3+ years after my initial onset of mental health issues, this is the first time I have been able to encapsulate that the depression is loud and overpowering and what it is really like inside, why it is so disruptive and destructive.
Unfortunately the noise doesn’t end there. Hypomania is also loud. My mind comes up with the list of things I MUST accomplish right now and keeps saying them over and over and over. So I start one project, only to have my mind literally SCREAM at me that I have to go over there and do that. And that it must all be done immediately and I cannot sleep until it is all accomplished.
My mind tells me, oh, do that craft, it will only take a minute, now this one, go over there, faster, oh, you should do this with the girls, oh look at that school activity, oh we need a play date, I should make this from scratch, oh we need this, we need that, oh here’s another project for the girls.
My mind keeps going faster and faster and I try desperately to keep up because then I will be in control, then people will see how well I am handling it all and that there should be no doubts of my abilities to be home with my kids. But when I slow down, when I look around, I find a project in almost every room in the house that I have started and not completed because my mind was talking to much and too often.
Thankfully there is hope. It takes a combination of things to get back on the right track. Time, unfortunately is one, sleep is a big help and sometimes some medication adjustments. Sooner or later, the brain settles down, and like yesterday and today, I get to be in my life, with my family and friends, not seeing or hearing them through the noise.
Survive til you Thrive!