Some days are tougher than others. Rapid cycle bipolar disorder doesn't help.
|On Saturday, I was manic. By noon on Sunday, I was depressed. That's just how the spin cycle works.
At my lowest, I feel only the weight of guilt and despair, only the fears that I will never be normal, or fully functional. So many people don't have to try that hard to do simple things like washing the dishes or paying their bills. They live their lives with no serious troubles, they don't have to use every ounce of willpower just to survive. They get to live.
I'd be lying if I said I wasn't jealous of them sometimes. They get to live, while I have to try my hardest just to survive. They get to do all of the things I probably won't get to do-- get married, have children, travel, have great jobs, own homes, have good friends and strong communities. How could I not be at least a little bit envious of their good fortune, which so many people take for granted?
When the days cloud up, the deepest pit of my despair stems from the fear that I will never get to have those things, will never earn them. I convince myself that I don't deserve even a smudge of happiness on the surface of this glass box trapping me from joining the world. It's hard not to believe in this, hard not to feel like there must be some truth to the guilt and despair and self-loathing.
Every book I have read or therapist I have spoken to has told me that this is just my depression talking. Sometimes, though, it feels like the running monologue has gone on for so long that I can't tell which is which-- my depression, or my self.
There aren't any easy answers. There are no simple solutions, there is no instant gratification. The right combination of medications might work wonders for helping you out of that pit, but it's all trial-and-error.
I have to take an outdated antidepressant (Celexa/Citalopram, which has been improved into the popular Lexapro) because I don't have health insurance. I had to pay $369 for my mood stabilizer starter kit, because there's no generic version of it. In other words, I don't know if I have the right combination of medications. All I know is that I'm a far worse mess without anything.
Let me be clear in saying that although I have had many issues with taking medication, I would never, ever advise someone to stop taking their medications if they have the same illness I do. There is genuinely something wrong with our brain chemistry; in fact, medical science has linked bipolar disorder to the same part of the brain that causes epilepsy. I would no more tell someone with bipolar to stop taking medicine than I would tell a diabetic to stop using insulin.
That doesn't mean I don't resent it. I don't like the idea that if I ever did get married, I would need much more care than an average woman in order to have a safe pregnancy, because some of my medications can seriously jeopardize the health of a fetus. I don't like that these pills mean I can't have so much as a beer without risking an emergency room visit and a stomach pump. I don't even like how the pills feel going down my throat.
It's the cost of living, though, and it's a high price to pay. But when it comes down to it, I have a life-threatening illness. Left untreated, it will destroy me as surely as a cancer. In the choice between surviving and dying, I know which one I choose. It isn't necessarily a happy choice, though.