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Monthly Archives: July 2012

What it’s like

I meant to write this blog a few days ago, but you know how life is, you suddenly realize 3 days have gone by in the blink of an eye and you are exhausted and have no clean socks left. The freezing cold weather here in “sunny South Africa” hasn’t helped either. That and I’ve been studying so much I’m sure theories and case studies and facts are pouring out my ears.

I was going to blog about ways to help deal with depression , like I said, some ‘simple day to day activities that can help the sadness’ – then when I re read that it sounded very self help book like and it annoyed me. I hate pretentious self help books – “ways to beat your depression in 5 easy steps”. No. As if it was that easy.

This blog is more than just about depression, I want to cover bi polar and epilepsy too, but that will all come later.

Right now, I want to focus on what it’s like. What it feels like to go through the motions of depression and bi polar. I will be giving two accounts from two different people, one who suffers from depression and the other bi-polar. The third account will be from the perspective of someone who has watched their loved one go through a depression. Here they are, completely unedited and raw and to the point:

Depression – I’ve suffered from depression since I was little but was only diagnosed at the age of 16. I’ve pretty much been struggling with it as I never really accepted it and always thought I was a mess up because I had depression. I have been on many different anti depressants but have finally settled on my cymbyalta, which makes the most difference for me. The last 6 years have been the most rough patch for me, growing up, finishing school and trying to find meaning in life, but I have finally learnt to accept that just because I have a chemical imbalance it doesn’t mean I can’t do what I want to do, and be who I want to be, and that with help I can get through depression and actually live a great life. I have learned not to bundle everything up inside and to reach out to those who really want to help. I hope this story can help someone out there.

 

Bi-polar – When first diagnosed I was insulted for two reasons … firstly how dare they say my brain is broken, and secondly if it has to be broken why can’t it be because of something cooler than Bipolar 2 disorder. I tried to argue that it was not me at all, having been around people with Bipolar a lot in my life I felt like I knew what it was … long periods of depression and then the opposite of periods of manic or as I say excited periods for a while, I told them that if ever I am depressed its maybe for a day and then I am over it as though it never mattered.

Then they (well she, but I will say they to imply the institution) introduced me to what you call ultradian cycles in Bipolar two, pretty much rapid changes in mood, so to explain, in a day I can wake up super early, clean EVERYTHING and find ways to keep myself busy (often not good ways), I feel my body shake with energy and end up running everywhere and having random outburst just to release some of that energy, I feel like there is so much of it that I could crack my boyfriends ribs if i hugged him hard enough like I want to. This being my ‘manic’ phase can last for a few hours instead of the norm of days or weeks at a time and after a few hours I can turn to wanting to peel the skin off my body because I am so disgusted with life and myself.

Some other symptoms (if you want to call them that) are major aggression, irrational, extreme thinking (he hasn’t spoken to me in a few hours, I wonder who he is sleeping with…) everything is extreme and I mean everything! Easily distracted or trying to be everywhere, like your energy oozes from your body and fills the place around you. I read that often people with Bipolar can’t finish things they start because their brain is in a rush in a way, after I read this I looked at my bookshelf finding 18 books that have book marks in them half way through… *hand over eyes* something that never occurred to me before.

I know things aren’t good up there when I’m sick all the time even when I can’t think why. I forget what my point was but I suppose to share my experience thus far with others is the point

 

Outsider perspective to depression – The following is an editorial on my experience with depression and the disastrous effects it has on a relationship.

Right after school, I fell in love with a girl that was not only beautiful, but was intellectual, funny and optimistic about life. We dated for two years and a lot changed during that time. My dad has always been suffering from depression, but I guess I was so used to it that I didn’t know what to expect when something like that overcomes someone for the first time.

Strange things started happening between us. Arguments, full on screaming matches etc. It was never like this and it was definitely a shock to the system. Things started to happen to her as well. Missing work was often the case, she became a hypochondriac, and she didn’t seem to care about the bare basics of life. Things like keeping your room tidy became unimportant. Basic hygiene was also thrown out of the window.

I can’t describe how watching someone you love change like that throws your balance off. I was scared for her and started to doubt myself as a boyfriend. I was very strong on giving her advice, and keeping her out of harms way. I watched her make decisions that I advised against that changed her whole life. She was kicked out of the place where she was staying with a roommate and she overdosed on medication.

I broke up with her shortly after major incidents happened because I just couldn’t face being in a relationship that was never going to go anywhere. It crushed me to the point where I didn’t want to meet another girl again. It hurt me more to find out that she was engaged to another man three weeks later. Depression is a killer, and if it weren’t for it, im very sure we’d be getting married ourselves. I think about it every single day of my life. But hey, that’s just my story..

 

As you can see by the above accounts everybody re acts and goes through the motions in completely different ways. It is hard to understand bi polar or depression… you need to live it. Either as a sufferer or an observer.

Depression is a dark passenger (ok, ok, I watch a lot of Dexter) it is there. No escaping it. Bi polar is a game, and very often there is no winning. Swinging from sadness to happiness sometimes on a daily basis (as one of the stories show) is as exhausting as swinging through moods over months at a time. It all leaves you with battered self esteem, torn up emotions and a mind that just circles and circles and just doesn’t stop. That’s how I can explain it so far. It just never stops. Like an endless roulette wheel, where will the ball end next? The black – darkness, or the red – exhausting mania?

Well, that’s a little depressing, yeah. Haha. Explaining depression and bi polar is depressing. Haha.

Anyway, just wanted to do this “what it’s like” blog for anybody who is interested in hearing different perspectives , as mine can be exhausting and one sided.

Please, if you would like to share and have me post it up here or just get your experiences out there, leave a comment or you can email me directly at zozespot@gmail.com.

That’s the point of my blog. I want it to be more than just my meaningless ramblings. I’m not alone in this. Neither are you.

 

I thought a nice touch would be to post the lyrics of a song called ‘what its like’ by Everlast.

Sorry this post is so long!

 

We’ve all seen the man at the liquor store beggin’ for your change
The hair on his face is dirty, dreadlocked and full of mange
He ask the man for what he could spare with shame in his eyes
Get a job you fuckin’ slob’s all he replied

God forbid you ever had to walk a mile in his shoes
‘Cause then you really might know what it’s like to sing the blues
Then you really might know what it’s like

Mary got pregnant from a kid named Tom who said he was in love
He said don’t worry about a thing baby doll I’m the man you’ve been dreamin’ of
But three months later he said he won’t date her or return her call
And she sweared god damn if I find that man I’m cuttin’ off his balls
And then she heads for the clinic and she gets some static walkin’ through the doors
They call her a killer, and they call her a sinner, and they call her a whore
God forbid you ever had to walk a mile in her shoes
‘Cause then you really might know what it’s like to have to choose
Then you really might know what it’s like

I’ve seen a rich man beg
I’ve seen a good man sin
I’ve seen a tough man cry
I’ve seen a loser win
And a sad man grin
I heard an honest man lie
I’ve seen the good side of bad
And the down side of up
And everything between
I licked the silver spoon
Drank from the golden cup
Smoked the finest green
I stroked the fattest dimes at least a couple of times
Before I broke their heart
You know where it ends
Yo, it usually depends on where you start

I knew this kid named Max
He used to get fat stacks out on the corner with drugs
He liked to hang out late at night
Liked to get shit faced
And keep pace with thugs
Until late one night there was a big gun fight
Max lost his head
He pulled out his chrome .45
Talked some shit
And wound up dead
Now his wife and his kids are caught in the midst of all of his pain
You know it crumbles that way
At least that’s what they say when you play the game

God forbid you ever had to wake up to hear the news
‘Cause then you really might know what it’s like to have to lose
Then you really might know what it’s like

 

Take care for everyone

 

xxx

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Posted by on July 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Aside

First off, I would just like to say I’m not a brain doctor or psychologist (though I am studying to be one) the following is just my observations and own research that I have done.

This post is going to be about the biological causes of depression. When looked at it scientifically, depression is caused by an imbalance of specific chemicals in the brain. If you have been diagnosed by a doctor, it is likely that this has been explained to you (if not, get a new doctor!) because it is the fundamental reason clinical depression occurs. I’m not going to get too scientific here because I’m not yet licensed to do so but this is from my own research:

According to the book Psychology – the science of Mind and Behaviour clinical depression is described as “an intense state that leaves one unable to function effectively.” You may lose your sex drive, self esteem, and motivation to even get out of bed. Cognitively, you may experience difficulty concentrating, making decisions and experience intense feelings of loneliness, pessimism and self blame. When it comes to your bodily functions, you may gain or lose weight quickly, experience insomnia and become unresponsive to the things that used to make you happy.

Depression can be genetic but it is also caused by an imbalance of chemicals. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter which carries impulses through a synapse (which is sort of like a ‘bridge’ between the neurons). It can be described as a happy hormone (along with dopamine) and when there is too little of this, the body loses its ability to feel pleasure in certain aspects.

I love this : (** I got it off google – if the image belongs to you, tell me so I can give credit)

Image

This is where different medications come in, that alter the chemicals in the brain allowing for the synapses to increase levels of serotonin. I myself am on Zoloft (and limictin and rivirtril and zyprexa – quite the combo!) which works on these chemicals.

An interesting sketch (** refer to above disclaimer)

Image

Although depression does have its physiological components it also can be triggered by childbirth (postpartum depression) and certain life events such as a death, physical illness or even a big move. (Death and moving house are said to be 2 of the most stressful things than can happen to a person.)

It’s not that easy to just look at depression like it some sort of simple disorder when the pain you are in (whether it’s a constant pang in your chest or complete numbness) is so real and so consuming. For me, boiling it down to simple science has helped me understand the illness, although this does not help one overcome it.

It takes more than just medication and therapy to overcome depression. In large part it is a choice. Although we can’t simply ‘decide’ to be happy (it’s a little difficult when it feels your whole life is clouded by a dark shadow), you have the choice to try.

My next post will be about different therapies and ways we are able to overcome our constant sadness by simple day to day activities.

Have a wonderful day everyone

xxxx

Depression – Part 1

 
2 Comments

Posted by on July 12, 2012 in Brain Chemicals, Depression

 

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Hello all!

Right. I have decided to start this blog for people who suffer from epilepsy/bi-polar/depression and any other brain related illness. I am 20 years old and a psychology student at the university of Johannesburg.

As any one out there may know, a huge stigma comes with having any form of mental illness and this blog is for people everywhere (and also young girls such as myself) to go through a journey with me, and I with you as we figure out on a daily basis how to make the best out of our lives.

I suffer, no, I live with petit mal epilepsy where I faint or just ‘blank out’, along with that I have bi polar which leans more towards the depressive side. I was diagnosed when I was about 17 and have had many a hospital trip and different doctors as I have tried to find the right balance with medication and general therapy. I also have a stunning little baby girl and that in itself is a journey altogether.

Being a psychology student I do understand a little bit of what goes on in the human brain. I’m half way through my degree and plan to go all the way to get a PhD. I have started this blog as a way to get a brief and important message across – you are not alone.(I know, I know – cheesey!) Whether you are living with or living with a family member or loved one who lives with it, bi polar, depression or epilepsy is a journey with many twists and turns and ofcourse, ups and downs.

For young woman such as myself, we are often doubted or accused of being ‘dramatic’ (in Freud’s day, we would be labelled “hysterical”). That is not the case. What we feel is real, true and can be completely consuming.

I want to use this blog to get information across and for people to feel free to comment and share their stories. Knowledge is power and with that (and understanding there are also others out there) we are better able to overcome the obstacles we may face on a daily basis.

That and I like to talk/write 🙂

If you have stumbled across this blog and would like to comment, please feel free to share your stories or comments.

Thanks, have a great day.

xxxx

 

 
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Posted by on July 10, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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