For 5 days now, I’ve spent 85% of the day in bed, getting up when only I absolutely had to. Tuesday’s therapy session was rough, but I managed to come away from it and sit down to write for a long while about the positive and negative things that came out of that session. Overall, it was productive.
To back up a bit I’ve been suffering heavily the last few weeks (some would argue months). It’s hard to find a medication that works to stabilize my mood because the only (and I mean ONLY) ones that work give me chronic kidney stones. And not small ones that I can pass- ones that lead to surgery and stents and hospitalizations. So for a couple years now, we’ve been on this roller coaster of trying new meds for a few weeks, then having to switch because it doesn’t work, makes things worse or makes me hateful and it’s been a nightmare.
As far as the last few weeks, the question of whether I should be hospitalized has come up more than once. The police have been on my door step for a wellness check as concerned friends and family couldn’t find me after a suicide threat (that I honestly don’t at this point even remember making). I’ve been unstable, suicidal and undergoing one of the most invasive depression treatments possible. I have electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) every single Thursday. They put me to sleep, induce a seizure, give me drugs and try with all their might to correct the chemical imbalances within my brain so that I can live a normal life. Three years ago we started with the mildest form and now we have advanced to the most rigorous treatment they have- shocking both sides of my brain for at least 30 seconds each to try and stimulate chemical reactions in the brain the lessen depressive episodes. It works, but unfortunately the effects are very short lived which is why I need it every week.
That brings us to this week. Yesterday after my therapy session, I sent my therapist this email of the hope I felt I had discovered. How I felt about what he had said to me and the discussion we had had.
Then today I popped up out of bed ready to conquer the day. The laundry got done, dishes were done, the grocery store conquered, phone calls made that have been piling up, bills paid, errands run, went to the school for a meeting. I haven’t done that much in the last 3 weeks combined- let alone a single afternoon.
And then as the day ends, I realize this is a manic phase. I’ve gone from depressed, apathetic, unable to function to manic. And then I start to see the patterns. How I’ll gather some form of hope in therapy or from church or a friend after sinking to an all time low and then pop up to some level of excitement and zest for life thinking I can conquer the world. That is really very scary because I don’t know when the next crash will come. I try with all my might to take advantage of the mania, to enjoy it, to do what I know needs to be done but it’s so hard because I know the inevitable crash is coming and my heart breaks.
It doesn’t break for me, though. My family never knows what they’ll get, my therapist and treatment team have to adjust to the ups and down and rapid cycling. It’s scary, too, because I’m at times afraid of myself- afraid of the manic phases because I don’t know what the plummet will bring. Will it be mild depression or a week in the ICU from an overdose hoping to escape life.
Living with the constant unknown of ones own mood and personal wellbeing is hard. It’s exhausting. It’s frightening. And it feels burdensome.
I’m left stuck in my own head, fighting a battle that is exhausting and feeling hopeless as there is no cure and no medication that stabilizes me. Please know that bipolar disorder is not a choice, it is not something I would wish on my worst enemy and it ruins lives. I pray it doesn’t ruin mine or the lives of those I’m closest to. I’m doing the very best that I can.