Tuesday, January 2, 2007

so who's afraid of the big bad wolf?

I am, definitely. My personal wolf is Bipolar 2 depression, and for the last two years it's been biting hard.

When you say Bipolar, most people think of what used to be called manic-depressive illness. BP2 is the boring relative. In the 'up' periods, known as hypomania, we get to be basically normal - for some with a bit of irritability. For me it's just a good mood, with a bit of energy. What I blow on the credit card is generally less, because I follow through on whatever I buy. I tackle things like redoing house plants, but after I've gone out and bought new plants, pots, soil etc, I actually get down and do the job. Whereas when I'm down, the wretched plants are quite likely to die without ever making it into the house, never mind into their designated pots.

Worst things for me are :
- suicidality...24x7
- guilt over everything that has gone wrong in the entire universe
- apathy - I sleep whenever possible, and when I'm not asleep I don't do much either
- exhaustion
- anhedonia
- anti-social...I get cornered into agreeing to see people, and end up lying to get out of the arrangements
- did I mention guilt yet?
- alcohol abuse as escapism
- cutting

And the most frustrating is that I have nothing to be depressed about. I have a loving and supportive family, good friends, great work, the best psychiatrist and psychologist in town, access to good medical care and drugs etc. And none of that is enough to keep away the wolf.

I was depressed and hell to live with as a teenager, and if I think back, I can see the BP pattern emerging then, although I kind of got through it somehow. A few good years, and then a period of six months which was about the closest I have gotten to manic. At the time I just looked at it as living at my full capability - challenging job, lots of excercise, lost huge amount of weight, got involved with a man that I worshipped. Got uninvolved. And the whole house of cards came down.

Since then I've never really got it together again. There have been a few relationships, but only with men that were not at all long term prospects. There've been a couple of jobs, but nothing that I've ever done more than minimum expectations. That hurts a bit, cos I used to be so hot, so brilliant at what I did.
There's been some travelling, and two periods of dropping out of IT for more 'amenable' jobs. And I've pretty much failed at those too.

There's been a lot of psych hospital stays, lots of drugs, lots of ECT. Lots of psychotherapy. Lots of trying alternative meds and methods. Lots of times where something has worked for a few months, and I've gotten my life together for a while.

And lots of times where I go to sleep OK, and when I wake up the whole lot has gone to shit again. In 2005 I had about 6 weeks where a new drug, new doc worked nicely.
In 2006 I had 4 good days in May. This year I don't think I'll get to May, unless something really kicks in. Just too much, too long this time.

I wake up every day and wonder if this is going to be the good one. Or the last one.

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