I have just entered a depressive phase only a couple of weeks after stabilizing following a manic phase. I have rapid cycling bipolar disorder. This means I experience at least four episodes a year. They can mix and match between mania and depression but are more likely to be depression. Since I had been coming off of months-long mania, a depressive episode could be expected. Going through depression after mania is a common occurrence. What I did not expect to experience this time was an over encompassing sense of boredom. I guess it turns out that depression can be boring.
For me, depression is usually not boring. I get caught up in other symptoms of depression that can include:
- Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day,
- Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day.
- Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain (e.g., a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month), or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day.
- Insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day.
- Psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every day (observable by others; not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down).
- Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day.
- Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt (which may be delusional) nearly every day (not merely self-reproach or guilt about being sick).
- Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day
- Recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying), recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide.
Typically I will ruminate on the depressed mood, feelings of worthlessness and fatigue along with dealing with other symptoms as well. This time, however, I’m definitely bored.
It may be part of the loss of interest (anhedonia). When you experience loss of interest, you lose a significant amount of motivation to do anything. It’s not just that you’re not interested in hobbies or socializing anymore. You lose interest in showering or eating or talking, the in-betweens of life.
Since I’m experiencing a considerable amount of anhedonia I don’t want to do anything at all, and because of fatigue I don’t have the energy to do it anyway. I lay here and watch television in between naps. This is normal for me when I’m in a depressive state. What was not normal this time was the fact that I found it incredibly boring. I wanted to want to do other things.
I suppose this comes from being manic just weeks ago. Even though I had a lot of negative energy it was still energy. I went out. I crossed off to-do’s. I was active. Now I’m doing none of those things, or if I am I’m forcing myself to with what little energy I have. I think I’m bored because I miss having that energy that comes with mania. I miss wanting to want to do something just because I could.
I’m hoping the boredom and the depression clear off soon. It hasn’t been too many days, so I’m not worried yet. I also know that, if it comes to it, I can talk to my psychiatrist about what I’m experiencing and she may decide to make adjustments to my medication. For now, I’m just going to try to ride it out without getting too focused on being depressed.
Image credit: Sarah Le Clerc