Depression comes in many forms. Here is a sample of depression that I endure from time to time.
Here is a scene taken from Empire:
“Hey, hey everybody just hold on for a minute. What is this bipolar disorder? Cause you know that whack stuff with psychiatrist and music therapy and whatever this is. That’s white people’s problems see. Cause my baby strong. He is a lion. He can beat anything.”
“No. This isn’t a white person thing, Cookie.”
Most of us have heard the saying “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” Rarely do we hear “Don’t sweat the big stuff”; it sounds like an oxymoron. I locked myself out of my apartment today. I was either going to call the building manager, or deal with it when I got home from work. Knowing that, I knew I would spend the day on and off thinking about the fact I didn’t have access to my place. Now is that big stuff, or small stuff?
“Hey Dr. I think my appointment is on Thursday the 15th….at 2:30? If i’m wrong call me back, otherwise I’ll be there at that date and time.”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve left that message. I have a memory. I don’t forget my dentist appointment in three months. I don’t forget where I parked. I don’t forget long or short-term things, yet, I always manage to forget my appointment. And I’m straight up with my Doctor:
“I do not want to be here. Nothing personal, just don’t want to be here.”
It’s a lot of pressure to squeeze your mind into one session. Figure out what drugs work, or not. Figure out how you feel about yourself, your place, your job, your relationships, your family, your life. It’s a lot. Maybe that’s part of it. The feeling that I have to make sure I give up all the information I can to better my mental health; to better help my Doctor determine what’s best for me. It’s a lot of pressure.
But I do. And I feel better afterwards when I walk down the stairs out of the building. It’s a weird sensation.
You walk in terrible, and walk out better. But the next time I go through it all over again. I forget the time and day, I dread the drive there, I hate the sitting down and now spill it all out in a finite amount of time and hope that you say the right thing. Cause you can say anything. Maybe that’s the bizarre challenge.
It’s hard to go to your psychiatrist.
Well, we are coming to the end of my depression series. It took a lot of strength to climb my way out of the cave. I can see the sun on the horizon, and thankfully, I finally feel better. It’s not completely over, or perfect, but I can reflect on the past few weeks to educate myself on what helped, and what didn’t. Everyone’s depression is unique, everyone’s coping skills are personal. Looking back here is what I learned from my depression:
Therapy: After years of fighting it, or being in denial about the need for professional help, I finally started working with a therapist and thus far, it has been an extraordinary experience. It has been eye opening in a way I never thought I would experience. I can’t believe it took me this long to take a step toward help. I always thought that I knew my issues, I just didn’t want to deal with them, but now I have a safe place and person I can trust and help walk me through understanding myself, and my behaviors. Therapy is going to be in my life period, and I am truly grateful for that.
Not Working Out: I stopped beating myself up for not working out as regularly as I used to, and initially I feared getting out of shape, or gaining weight, but the guilt that weighed on my shoulders only made my depression worse. I learned that it is okay to allow the body and mind to rest. I agree that working out is important to helping the mind handle depression but, if you can’t make yourself get to the gym, that is okay. Feeling bad about yourself for taking a break only exacerbates depression so don’t let your lack of your normal pattern of exercise get the best of you. Give yourself a rest and a break during hard times.
I don’t know why they say, “Go to your doctor.” I’ve been in a hole the past week and need a doctors note to justify my absence at work which really isn’t happening and shows the stupidity of the modern age to expect someone with a mental illness to make it a doctor for a note.
Meditation is hard. It takes discipline, time, and regularity. It takes a lot. I have always struggled with meditating. Even with my mood stabilizer, I’ve always had rushed thoughts that have made it hard for me to sit down, be still and chill. When I read about meditation and all the forms it entails I thought ok, I’ll pray as a form of meditation, cause although my mind won’t be blank, if I focus on Hail Mary’s, at least I’ll get a break from my normal storm of thoughts.
So where does this meditation take place? The sauna.
It has almost been over a week on my new antidepressant and it’s getting easier to open the pill box and take it. Not perfect, but I’m trying. I skipped a couple days which I know is bad but I waffled on taking the whole thing to begin with so I needed to take baby steps. However, this week I was more diligent about keeping a daily routine of taking them and did my best to fight the feel I get when I have to open the box. The stupidest thing I did was look up all the side effects. I prefer not to know.
Well, I started taking a new medication for depression. So far, so good, until bam, lunch with no hot sauce. I was at lunch with a new coworker and was trying to put hot sauce on my sandwich and my hands started shaking. Everyone at work knows I’m bipolar which causes me to be paranoid to begin with. Now I have new medication with new side effects. I quickly put my sandwich down and hoped that my coworker hadn’t noticed but, quite frankly, what would anyone say to me in that situation. I stared at the hot sauce and frowned.
Recently an article published at Co.Exist.com, a site that focuses on groundbreaking innovation, published an article entitled “An App To Diagnose Bipolar Mood Swings By How People Talk On The Phone.” It discusses a system that detects early signs of a bipolar patient slipping into a manic episode. After reading the article, I thought about how my voice on the phone during a manic episode, or during a depressive episode, would decipher whether or not I would reach out to my loved ones, or not. For me, when I was in a manic state I was more inclined to pick up the phone and ramble on and on about the on goings of my life.