Picture this: You wake up, but you don’t want to be awake…every breath is hard… it hurts to breathe. You are upset with your life, but for what reason… there isn’t a reason?! You hate yourself, and you truly believe no one loves you. Then you wonder why you are even alive. Your thoughts race and it overwhelms you.
That invisible demon you struggle with is taking control of you. You can’t stand up, you just want to hide from the world. “Shut the world off…”, you end up sleeping the whole day and not leave the house for a couple of days. Sometimes this feeling lasts for weeks or maybe a month. You are completely miserable and emotional.
But then with a snap of your fingers, you’re ok. But more than ok, you feel fantastic! You do things without thinking…sometimes overspend or maybe do things out of the norm… maybe setting unrealistic goals. You want to be normal and happy so bad!
My experience with Bipolar Disorder
You see I was diagnosed with bipolar (manic depression) when I was a little girl. In fact, this type of depression is hereditary. But becoming a mom has kind of helped me. Before kids, when I go into my depression spiral I would shut the world off. But now that I have kids, I can’t just stay in my bed all day, I have to take care of them. Although getting up while having depression is still a struggle I deal with, the fact that I have kids that depend on me is my goal and reason to get out of bed.
Yes, I may not be enthusiastic about going out or might find things for the kids to do inside to avoid the public…. but I got up. One day I will tell my kids about what I deal with, but in the meantime, I hope they understand that mommy is trying her best. I know it’s confusing for them to see mommy not wanting to go outside and they wonder why other moms are more active than me. And that deeply saddens me to think about. But I do try… my best. That’s all I can give sometimes. If I could take my mental illness away, I would in a heartbeat. But it’s something that I have that won’t ever go away.
I do take medication for my imbalance. It helps stabilizes my mood swings, but it doesn’t make things go away. I struggle though because once I feel ok with myself, I stop taking my pills. Sometimes I go months without them because I feel like I can manage. I tell myself to exercise more and be healthier to manage. And this does help…but then I go into a downward spiral again…. and I need my medications or else I can’t function as a normal human being.
Normalizing talking about mental illness
Growing up people thought that having a mental illness and battling with depression was taboo. It was not talked about and you were cast out as being weird and abnormal. I would hear from people “Why can’t you tell yourself to be happy, there has to be something that is bothering you for you to not feel good “…
My answer to that is … NO! There IS such a thing of feeling hopeless, without any cause. The last thing a person with mental illness needs to hear from someone (that has no idea what someone with bipolar is going through) is to just “snap out of it “… if it were that easy I wouldn’t be here writing about it. If I had that power to tell that invisible force, that debilitating depression to stop so I could have my life without needing medication, 100% yes I would!
But that’s not the case, unfortunately. If you have a spouse, friend, or maybe a family member with bipolar, please know that there is no such thing as over-showering them with “I love you” and giving them the reassurance they need. It’s not fun to be in a dark place where you are convinced the world is better off without you.
If you are suffering from bipolar or think that you may have it, do not hesitate to talk to your doctor. Get the therapy and medication you need. It is ok! It’s ok to ask for help. The best advice I can give is to not be ashamed of what is happening and to ask for and get the help you deserve! There are more people than you know that are fighting this battle every day!
*If you are struggling or not feeling like your typical self, please reach out to your doctor. Take care of yourself by sharing your feelings with those around you or by getting professional help. If you need immediate help, please call 911.