Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Getting Through It

The depression has eased up a little with time. I still feel it prominently, even as I write these words. It takes the form of a persistent ache in the center of my forehead. Along with physical pain, there is a more intense psychological impact that is prolonged and constant. Chronic illnesses will not leave you alone. For now, I've put my life on hold once again until the worst is over. If I had the energy or the means, I'm sure I would be either furious or in tears. Instead, I am impassive, hollow, a detached observer of my own condition.

I can only focus on myself. Pain takes over and prevents me from seeing very far beyond it. Some people with bipolar disorder hallucinate when in an acute state. Fortunately, that has never been a symptom for me. To draw a distinction. I have a mood disorder, meaning I vacillate between joy and sorrow, contentment and distress. People with schizophrenia, by contrast, have thought disorders. They struggle with intrusive thoughts that they must constantly seek to negate and invalidate.

High doses of antidepressants are activating and stimulating. They hype you up. One of the most common side effects is insomnia. As is true for many who have bipolar, I no longer have the ability to attain natural sleep on my own. Instead, I have to rely on strong medications to sedate me enough to get in a full night's rest. Last night, I had to take an increased dosage of a medication that at one tenth the strength would put the average person to sleep for hours within minutes.

The lesson to be learned here is that I will need to take an antidepressant to supplement my other psych meds for a long time. The mistake I made was that I was seeking to prune down the vast number of prescription drugs I already take. When I got to twelve, I knew something had to change. Three months maximum is the length of time I can go without an antidepressant; I found this out the hard way.

I've seen my mother struggle with similar ailments and felt powerless to come to her aid. Her suffering was mainly in silence, behind the closed door of her bedroom. She was ashamed to be seen by her children in that state and didn't want to cause us psychological scars. One always had to get the news from my father. I, however, have made a conscious decision that I would live my life openly as a person with mental illness.

When this lifts, my life will resume. I will feel reborn and rejuvenated. For the moment, I am too much in the middle of it to have a clear perspective. One is never sure why these things occur, though asking questions is understandable. In seeking to have some answer, I sometimes wonder if God is punishing me for past misdeeds. This is unlikely. I believe in a loving God, but I wonder why any higher power would allow illness like this to exist for anyone, not just myself.

I've mostly stopped looking for answers. Now I just have to get through it.

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