Now we move onto what I like to call ‘the darkness’ (dun dun dun!) or opposite end of a manic phase, the part of bi polar where you slip into a deep, dark place with very little light and no way out. Although I write this post with much caution, as I cannot speak for all the people who are experience the depressive states of bi polar I can give a little account of what it is like to be in one, speaking for myself at least.
The mania can only last so long, until eventually your body and mind just give out. The lack of sleep or lack of eating you have been doing suddenly catch up to you and you feel yourself exhausted and that shining golden goddess you saw in the mirror a few days back is now suddenly pale, drawn out and ghost-like.
What happened? It’s a whirlwind of emotions as it finally dawns on you that you have been experiencing a high and have possibly, done some really REALLY stupid stuff. Trying to ignore the overwhelming guilt or feelings of disgust at yourself is just as hard as trying to ignore the darkness that has begun creeping up your spine, very slowly digging its claws into your back and whispering things in your ear.
“They hate you.”
“You’d be better off dead.”
“What is the point of this all anyway?”
Now I know that sounds a tad crazy, but bear with me here. The depressive side of bi polar is just like that, it creeps up on you and once it has its nails sunk into your already fragile flesh it tumbles it’s pain and hurt down on you like a ton of bricks. And there is just no stopping it.
For anyone who has experienced depression (lived with it or as a bystander) they know just how destructive it can be. Curtains remain closed, the person sees no value in bathing and getting dressed in the morning, they may not eat or just eat too much. They don’t want to talk, they don’t want to listen. No sex, no hugs for loved ones, no happy movies or songs. Anything that was once pleasurable now has no value and the common answer to each question has become “I’m fine.” “No.” or “I don’t feel like it.”
And that’s just it. You don’t feel like it. You don’t feel like anything. The darkness has taken control and you just do not see the point in anything really.
Why bother getting dressed today? It’s not like you have anywhere to be and you look so awful no one would want to see you anyway. Everything that used to be worthwhile now means nothing.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
For a bi polar person living with the ups and downs is something that has to be constantly monitored and constantly medicated. Once you realize you’ve been on a high and are crashing (or someone has pointed it out to you) you have to adjust your medication because it’s obviously not working quite right and then you have to see your doctor, work out what is going on bla bla bla…
It sounds awful and stupid doesn’t it? And to a depressed person, it is. I cannot begin to really describe the darkness but I know what it’s like, and I know that once you figure out you are in it, the only way to help yourself is to try climb out. Although it is near impossible to do at once, and you may need the help of loved ones, it is the mere act of trying to climb out of the depression that matters. Trying to eat right. Trying to keep track of your moods. Trying to talk about the things you are feeling. It all adds up in the end.
The simple fact of trying eventually becomes doing and once you are strong enough you can stand back and take a look at it, say ‘I am depressed’, and seek help and comfort in those that matter. And although now I can rant and rave about finding people that matter (because I have had my fair share of experiences with fake friends who are really not there when you need them) I will rather advise that one turns to family, because they in most cases are with you most of the time and are able to explain to you or your doctor what has been going on as often you do not know how you appear to others in your depressive states. Although not every person may have a good family life, turn to someone whom you know you can trust. Who will not just be your rock but also a guiding force onto the right path. Whether it is whichever God you serve or any friend you trust, find solace in something that you know you can find solace in. (AND THAT IS NOT DRUGS OR ALCOHOL) And although this is unfortunately, a difficult process in itself (as you will come across back stabbers and false promise friends many times) it is still a process worth taking, so you can find out who your safe people are.
Who the people are that matter, that truly matter, that can help you fight off the darkness.
There is no easy answer to depression and everyone experiences it differently, but all I can say for now is try. Try to Try. Even if it is one thing at a time, like having a shower and getting dressed for the day. That is one step you have taken on the path to getting better.
And at this time in your life, in a depressive state, baby steps and trying to try is the best way forward.
And here, a song by Van Morrison, summing up the depression thing pretty well 🙂
I highlighted some lyrics I thought were really great.
Keep well everyone xxx
Underlying depression, have to crawl into my room
Underlying depression don’t want to know about the moon in June
Outside there’s a cavalcade of clowns but they`re bringing me down
With underlying depression
Underlying depression and it’s starting in my backyard
Underlying depression, and these times ain’t even so hard
Lord I was born with the blues and my blue suede shoes
And underlying depression
Underlying depression and there’s just nowhere to turn
Underlying depression and things just seem to turn in on one
Sometimes I’m stuck in the corner just like little jack horner
With underlying depression
Underlying depression and I just can’t get it right
Underlying depression I’ve got to fight it with all of my might
Right now I don’t want to be alone
Get my baby on the telephone
Have to make some concessions when everything is working right
Have to count my blessings, helps me make it through the night
I’ve got love in my life as well as trouble and strife
And underlying depression
Underlying depression, underlying depression, underlying depression
Ain’t nothing but the blues
Underlying depression ain’t nothing but the blues
Underlying depression, ain’t nothing but the blues