You know, it really sucks at times to have a mental illness. I'm going to start off right now by saying that if you are sensitive to hearing other people's stories/issues, have a negative connotation of mental illness or are afraid of it you probably shouldn't read on. I'll try to keep the language at least PG, but I'm in a bit of a mood right now so no guarantees. And off I go...
If you follow me on Facebook, you know I've been sick for most of the last month. That was mostly a physical sickness...fever, cough, gastrointestinal issues, etc., but in the last two weeks my physical illness has been joined by an acute exacerbation of my bipolar disorder. After the initial week or two of what was a simple but horrible cold I could tell that my moods were starting to shift towards the depressive state. It's not that I was anywhere near a manic state prior, but I was at least somewhat stable/even as far as mood goes for about a month and a half prior. I did have a short 1-2 week depressive episode in March (or thereabouts) but that seemed to stabilize with standard medications and a short removal from almost all aspect of real and virtual life...except for running.
As the third week of my illness began I could tell that my thinking was moving to a much more negative place. What are "normal" fleeting thoughts of death for me...something that just happens without any trigger it seems...increasingly became more pronounced ideation of "how" I would die by my own hand. Now, don't get me wrong, I wasn't suicidal at all...I just had/have some serious suicidal thinking going on there is a difference. I can't say that I didn't have a plan because I always have a plan. Anyone who has attempted suicide always has one or more reserved plans tucked away in some dark corner of their mind IMHO. I mean really, I've attempted suicide at least 6-8 times in the first 5-7 years of my illness (I was diagnosed in 1997 and no attempts since about 2005) there's no way that I've expunged all those attempts from my brain. I had the train schedule memorized for when we lived in base housing...I could walk a quarter of a mile down the road at 5am in the morning and get hit by a train going by in the darkness by 5:20am. I could tell you how many Tylenol PMs I have taken and still survived without any injury to my liver. I don't accept any narcotic prescriptions anymore unless absolutely necessary because I've overdosed on Darvocet and Tylenol #3 before. I can't tell you how many times in my recent travels that I've driven by a ravine and thought to myself, "Well, if I drive over the side of that I should roll enough times that I'll be dead in the crash." Or how many times in the last 2-3 weeks that I've been driving alone and raised my right hand making that fake gun with the finger and thumb and then holding it under my chin and pretending to shoot myself (we don't own guns anymore...got rid of them when I got pregnant in 1995). Now, tell me that's normal.
Why am I talking about this? Because someone has to. This is the reality. For me life right now sucks the big one. I can't dig fast enough to get away from the darkness. I've fought this illness knowingly for the past 16+ years. I know I had symptoms of at least depression since I was about 16 years old if not earlier. When I become this way, I withdraw from life. I don't leave the house unless there's a reason to and I'm lucky to take a shower or even just brush my teeth for days on end. Most of the time I hardly get out of bed! The longest I've been in self-imposed solitude was close to three weeks. Running has forced me to at least occasionally venture out without necessarily having to interact with anyone. Hell, if it hadn't been due to having to travel to run or go to doctor's appointments in these last weeks I probably wouldn't have gotten out of the house at all. I have close to 1,600 emails that I haven't looked at, messages on Facebook that I can't bear to open but at least I am interacting just a little bit on there now.
I'm sure people are hating on me right now due to my disappearance, but I know what I can handle and what I can't. Any additional pressure on me is sure to send me back into a spiral downward since I'm not stable yet. Right now it's a matter of me trying to regain my sanity (without having to be admitted voluntarily/involuntarily) or to do something in a less positive way. Hell, I've never thought of cutting before (not good with pain) but even that idea has crossed my mind several times.
The period between February and June/July tend to be my worst times, when I can expect these major mood swings to take place and just like it has for the past I-don't-know-how-many years it's struck with a vengeance. In 2009-2011 I spent all but 4 months (the fall 2010 semester) in a severe depression...crying daily, this-close to suicide, feeling the worthlessness of it all. At least I'm not there...yet...it could happen. So, as I wait for this to pass I continue to run...just to physically run away from my situation for around 3 hours, trying to run away from my depression. Truthfully, at this point, I think that if I were to stop running my life would be in real jeopardy. Geez, I never thought I'd think that way about running...I'll be back in due time, once this all starts to settle. Hopefully sooner than later (or never). It's bedtime now...for tomorrow I run.
Note: I've turned off comments for this post. If you're thinking well wishes for me, thanks. If you want to b!tch me out, bite me! (Told you I'm in a mood.) This was just a post more to think out loud and let people who might be wondering where/how I am.