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The windmills of your mind


Luna-
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I just need to come in and sit and cry for a bit. I have two hours before my daughters come home and I've been holding it in.

This downwards mood swing is threatening to become an episode. Or maybe it already is one. It's been coming for two months but I've managed to stave it off. My pdoc adjusted my meds twice already and again today, so perhaps it will help. Maybe.

But even if it does help, the light at the end of the tunnel is always an oncoming train. I'm so tired of life. They reported on TV that some famous guy had died of a brain tumour and I was jealous. I'm not a suicide risk, but - this sounds terrible - a fatal accident or illness is sounding attractive. I know I'm being very negative, but I don't feel like I have any more strength left to counter the thoughts, keep up the management, self-care, keep doing what has to be done. Yesterday afternoon I just climbed into bed, which is a very unhelpful thing to do.

Anyway, I'm just sitting here and having a cry. I know life isn't fair, but I just feel hard done by today. This illness is cruel.

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Does anyone else get to that point where you just don't care anymore? I mean in the sense of not caring any more about the daily self-care you need and just abandoning the effort? I get this way on both sides of the spectrum, more on the manic side, but now I've got there on the other side.

I developed a headache this morning, typical depressive thing. I've taken 6 painkillers today and yes, they contain codeine. The headache is somewhat doused. I feel vague. Self-medicating. I don't have an addiction problem (sounds like denial, but isn't) but this isn't the cleverest thing to do, I know. My brain is already pickled with crazymeds. But I just don't care. In about 3 hours, I can pack it in, take sleeping tablets and pass out. I feel reckless and rebellious and want to take a triple dose and sleep for days, but I won't. Tomorrow I will pick up and carry the load again but right now it feels like it will never end. I'm a weeping mess. I do the things to take care of my BP, not wonderfully, but I make an effort. But I still feel like %$^ so why do I bother? I just want to feel better for now and to hell with the consequences, I don't want to care any more.

I don't expect support for my self-sabotage. I find it hard to ask for help when there are so many worse off, but -

would anyone mind dropping me a word ...?

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Luna,

I'm actually where you are right now, and have been for some time now, never vocalized it though. I just came back from a brain MIR. The section that I just completed was blurry and they wanted to do it over again, along with the second and third half. I said NO and laughed. While they were running around talking and arranging to call the doctor, I laughed to myself again. Shamefully, I said it must be God's will. They wanted me to arrange to come back, and again I said NO. I had told the doc that I wasn't going to have surgery of any type, even if he saw, what he said the didn't want to see, but just making sure.

I'm tired to and ready to go. But I have to stay here, until my time and do whatever it is that I am here to do. I have told the Lord that I just don't want any pain.

This depression monster is bad, evil and what ever horriable word that I know. It doesn't allow any joy or even peace in living. I do try to find some joy and peace, but I rarely find it. It is sparse and far in between, but sometimes. I can't get out and travel around (other than to the doctors and grocery shoping because they have the carts and wheel chairs for me to get around).

All I can say to you is that a reasonable acceptance of the way things are for the present. Do do what you can to maintain because a reasonable relief period does come. I spent my time waiting for it. That is my hope -- that joy and peace will one day come.

So dear, maintain. I just came off of a crying binge. And when I read your thoughts, I cried again. Just try to maintain.

You are so no alone in your peril.

you are in my prayers.

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Hi Luna, You are no alone indeed, I have been where you are many times, too many times... But I can tell you that today I knew what it was like to feel normal again, something I have not felt for a very long time. A few months ago I was exactly where you were, it's been a slow road back but today I felt happy - so yes, there is life after depression.

I truly believe that it's because I'm off medication for the first time in 5 years (2 weeks now), but I'm not sure that's going to last ;) - I'll let you know in a month. I suffer from depression, but now that I'm off medication I'm really wondering if it was not part of why I was feeling so bad, although I know I did need it at some point. You may be feeling that lousy because you are moving between medications, it may be a strong contributing element to your present mood.

Hang in there! Be very gentle with yourself and don't feel bad for staying in bed if that is all you can manage for now - depression is a very debilitating disease at time. Sometimes just getting through the day is all we can manage, but a little at a time the depression will lessen if you take care of yourself first....

Edited by Symora
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Thank you so much, guys. The headache has become one of those "Shoot me, please" headaches. Vicious. It began at 2am and I haven't slept since. I am high on codeine and feel vague and numb. I've considered going to the doc for a pain shot, it's so bad.

Symora, the med changes have been in response to the depression, not the other way around. I know I have not given it enough time, but ohhh, those waits for a med change to work are horrible. I just have to distract myself and tough it out. But you know how, when you get depressed, it's all that's ever been and all that ever will be, and I end up needing reminders that it does get better. I so appreciate the encouragement and being heard.

I don't want to go before my appointed time, but - I hope it comes soon. I'm over this.

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Hi Luna,

I'm writing today mainly to tell you that I had a wonderful day today, and it will happen for you to. I had thought about you all last evening and wishing you well.

also, I used to have migrain headaches. Please have your doctor check into those. Usually they end in your 50s. Yes, I had those kind for a long time. Now, the ones I get are stress related and don't last long.

I'm not being perky or anything, just wishing hope for you.

love ya, and hang in there,

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Hey Luna,

I hope you're feeling a little better today. I deal with severe migraines, so I understand the "shoot me, please" kind of pain. As others have said, this too shall pass. I know it's hard to see but it will. I'm not quite where you are yet (I'm starting to sink into the abyss of depression myself) but I've been there MANY times. The not wanting to do anything. I would go without showering, cleaning house, doing laundry .. anything. So I know that it can get bad. If you can, try to get out of the house at least once a day. Sunshine is good for the soul, & proven to help depression. If you can't, that's okay too. Maybe call a friend, or blog, or something. Just don't isolate if at all possible ... that just makes it worse.

I hope you feeling even a tiny bit better today. Take up & update often :)

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Sigh. I'm okay.

Two hellish days of headaches did nothing to improve my mood (except, perhaps distract me from how depressed I was.) So when you're next feeling truly awful, try banging your head against the wall and it might distract you. Plus there's the fact that it will feel SO GOOD when you stop!

Anyway, today has been mercifully headache-free. And with that, painkiller free, yay. The codeine euphoria side-effect is great, but I'm happy to forego it if I can be headache-free.

I'm reluctantly picking up all the things I have to do to manage the BP again. I went to buy groceries today and didn't skulk around with my head down so I didn't have to talk to anyone (small town, can't go anywhere without seeing people you know). I actually chatted to some folks - so I must be better. A bit. Still feel blunt, but I guess you don't always get everything.

I want to thank you guys for being so nice and so caring. I felt it. I don't even know you, but your heartfelt words reached me. Thank you.

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  • 4 weeks later...

It's come around again. So, again, I hope no-one minds if I come in here and cry a little. I’m okay, I’m not in any great despair but I feel very discouraged and disillusioned. So what else is new?

I get through my days by saying to myself that if I bath and dress, I can reward myself with the cup of good filter coffee. If I can cross off one thing on my to-do list, I can have a half-hour of conscience-free art later in the afternoon. If I summon the effort to get through a morning’s list of tasks at work; if I keep 'going through the motions' as if I were not depressed and ‘Just Do It’, I can have a reward. This is how I limp my way through day after day. I do this purely because I know I must, not from any will or desire. If this can be called ‘functioning’, then I function.

But it’s not living, pushing myself through inertia every day. I’m beginning to wonder if my middle name isn’t Sisyphus; it feels that way. I keep things running for my girls, I keep back as much as I can of my depression so I don’t burden them with it. My love for them is my protective factor, what keeps me alive. Apart from this – well, if my time was up tonight, that would be okay with me.

During depressions I lose the connection with my will to meaning. I hang on to it intellectually, because I know that my emotional connection to my meaning is coloured by my mood and that my depressed mood’s perception is faulty and not an accurate reflection of how things really are. But without the emotion, it's theoretical and without soul.

Is this the human condition? Is the purpose of depression to understand, through feeling acutely, the width and breadth of the human condition? We are bombarded with the idea that happiness is the ultimate goal of life. I hope this is not the case.

There’s some solace in a little crying. In stroking my cats. In looking at my girls, in going to bed, in chocolate. But nothing banishes the sadness, the best I can do is distract myself and try to be philosophical about it.

Sometimes that’s not enough.

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But Luna, on the bright side: it is living, for today. You're not dead and you're not suicidal. That means that there will be a tomorrow, and with tomorrow comes a hope that this dragging yourself through won't always be what you feel. There is another side, and you will reach it, just as long as you keep trying.

Those are the things that keep me going, anyway.

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Thanks, malign. I seem to need reminding when I’m in this state, when my memory goes all selective and thinks darkness is all there is, all there ever was and all there ever will be. Lightness of being becomes a distant memory, even though it wasn’t that long ago.

It’s a case of making your way through the tunnel, then into the open at the end, then into the next tunnel. Then you plough head-on into the oncoming train with a spectacular crash-and-burn. Then you pick yourself up, salvage what you can and limp out of the tunnel, rebuild the engine and do the same thing all over again. Hopefully crashing into fewer oncoming trains as your Inner Programmer fixes the bugs in your system, one by one, improving your oncoming-train-detection ability. (Yes, I once worked as a computer programmer.)

So I try to look into the depression, try to find what lesson is in it that I haven’t yet grasped. What am I still not confronting? Since I got the bipolar diagnosis I now know that sometimes it just comes and there isn’t a reason, it just is what it is. Still I want to believe that although there may not be any inherent meaning, I can still find something to learn from it. Provided it’s not too deep, I get inspiration for my art from it. When it’s REALLY deep, I get nothing except the motivation to keep on track once I’m out, so I can stay the hell out of there! Perhaps I should look for a trigger. Perhaps it’s an automatic thought I didn’t catch in time?

I’m trying to be philosophical and convince myself that it’s OK to be here and that it is the time and the season for this purpose. What? Who am I kidding? Pass those mind-numbing substances! Oh, but I don’t have the energy to deal with the fallout from that either. Why is there always a price to pay, where is my free lunch? Why do I keep banging my head, wishing life was fair?

Don’t mind me, I’m just chatting with myself. After all, I am my own best imaginary friend!

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I know. I've been there. We all need reminding of stuff when depression starts whispering its lies.

Perhaps, it's not always the looking into the depression that has the lesson we need, but looking at how we recover. The lesson could be anywhere, don't let the depression make you focus on it alone.

Ah yes, the free lunch myth. One of my favorites. :-)

We all need to be our own best friends. But one of the things I'm reminding you of is, you're not your only friend.

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malign, you are such a dear. Thank you. :( I got tears in my eyes at the kindness...

I agree the lesson may be in how we manage to get out of depression. But sometimes there is something to be learnt about how or why we ended up in the Pit again. I work it from both ends. :(

My own favourite myth is the "quick fix". It's out there, somewhere! Surely?

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Ooo, we should do a "Hit or Myth?" collection!

I guess it's my turn. How about: "It can never get better!" The emphasis is important (and a high-pitched voice helps) in realizing that's a childish part of us, talking.

If you've been a programmer, you know that debugging is not a linear, continuously-uphill process. You definitely take some steps back, along the way. And it takes a certain amount of, dare I call it "faith"? :-)

You're not so bad yourself, Luna, with the minus and all.

I suspect eventually, we all learn what those signals along the tracks mean.

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Okayyyy - another myth I love is 'easy money'! I have the evergreen hope that one day I'll win the ultimate easy money, the lottery (yeah I even buy tickets.) I deselect the 'snowball's chance in hell' feature and it's all good!

If you've been a programmer, you know that debugging is not a linear, continuously-uphill process. You definitely take some steps back, along the way. And it takes a certain amount of, dare I call it "faith"? :-)

... and scrap all the code it took you two days to write when you spot a smarter, faster way to do it. 'Faith' is so right!

"Round - Like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel,

Never ending or beginning, on an ever spinning reel... "

You're not so bad yourself, Luna, with the minus and all.

Awww - there you, go being a dear again. :) And here comes another tear. We have got to stop meeting like this.

I indulge that inner tantrumming child - as a parent. When she says, 'it can never get better! (or her favourite: 'It's Not Fair!) I say,"I know, I know, it damn well isn't fair - but that's just the way it is. And please don't let anyone hear you say that, because it's embarrassing for me!"

You know what all those signals along the track mean? (You want a 'quick fix'? :)) I think I've figured it out! They all mean the same thing: "You Are Here". We think the next signal indicates a 'there' that we're about to reach but then we get 'there' and that 'there' becomes 'here' and galldarnit the track goes ON! - until we spy the next signal - ooo 'there' it is! Finally. At last. Except... it goes on... But I thought we were there! You mean I have to keep going?

"Like a tunnel that you follow, to a tunnel of its own,

Down the hollow to a cavern, where the sun has never shone..."

You do realise that this exchange is helping me with tackling my depression, don't you? :)

Edited by Luna-
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Well, it's not always easy to tell, but I do hope it's helping ...

I tend not to remember long stretches of poetry, but two snatches come to mind:

First, from one Bilbo Baggins: "The road goes ever on and on ..."

And second, anonymous, but often quoted by Terry Pratchett, who is not a poet, really, but should be: "Wherever you go, there you are."

There can be a contentment in that last one, a reduction in the need to look forward for the next signal.

Um, my myth of the day is related to the "Mythical Man-Month", but far more personally relevant; the myth that my current project will ever end ...

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