I’ve been in the midst of a depressive episode for months now. It’s been a harrowing journey that doesn’t seem like it will be ending anytime soon. It has interrupted my life in serious, somewhat indescribable ways. It has affected my work, my relationships, my activities and my personal life. There is no part of my life depression has not touched. I’ve been seeing my psychiatrist and my therapist and additionally have been attempting self-management. I believe that my depressive episode is nearing an end because I do feel better than I did a month ago. However, recovery has been slow and unsteady. For several reasons, my recovery still feels like depression.
I still have symptoms
I’m still fatigued. I still have depressed mood when I feel empty and sad for no reason other than I have this disorder that makes it so. I still have a diminished interest in relationships and activities that used to keep me going. My eating habits have changed. I’m having serious sleep problems that have gone from sleeping too much to having insomnia. All of this makes it hard to deal with life, even though I’m getting better.
I still can’t do much.
The fatigue and loss of interest mean I’m not getting a lot done, and by not getting a lot done I mean I’m still doing practically nothing with my time. I’m bingeing series so much that I’m running out of shows to watch. A lot of the time I do what absolutely has to get done in that moment and then I’m too exhausted to do anything else. This is fine because I don’t have any interest in doing anything anyway.
My medication is still changing.
Because of the depressive episode, my psychiatrist had me change from one antipsychotic to another. The transition has been hard. There have been side effects that I’ve had to deal with as well as remembering I have to eat with my medication. This is difficult because one of the side effects is nausea. The side effects are thankfully waning, but the adjustment is still happening. It could start over again if she decides to increase my dosage, which she may since I’m still experiencing symptoms.
I’m still isolating myself.
I have noticed an improvement in my isolation, but it’s still hard for me to put myself out there. I went for over a month without posting anything personal on social media, which is typical of depressive episodes. I’m not making plans with friends and I’d rather stay at home than do just about anything. Recently I have been better. I started posting on social media and I’m getting together with a group of friends on a fairly regular basis. Again I find going out tiring, so I have to have recovery time that goes back to my not doing anything.
I still need support.
People with bipolar disorder always need support. We need people to encourage us to seek treatment. We need people to understand what we’re going through as much as possible. We need people to be patient with us and again understand that we’re not doing any of this on purpose. When I’m going through a period of depression I need more support. I need people to reach out to me but understand that I may not have the energy to engage as much as they’d like. Since I’m in recovery, I need to be gently pushed and encouraged to do more, but I need the person to keep in mind that I might not be able to that day. I need people to know that just because I’m in recovery, that doesn’t mean I’m well.
Recovery from depression can take a long time. It’s usually dependent on how long the episode lasted. Recovering from months of depression can itself take months. It’s not all a straight line, either. One day can be a good day and the next terrible. It’s a slow process, but at least it’s finally happening.
Image credit: Bianca Moraes