Crawl

I’m having a depressive episode.

I sleep 14 hours a night and still feel so lethargic that I spend the day feeling like I’m moments away from giving up and just crawling.

I should’ve seen it coming. I slept almost nonstop all weekend but wrote it off as just being tired. But that was a missed warning sign, because nobody needs as much sleep as I was getting. Monday was a rough day at work and I felt very bottled-up and upset about some stuff that happened, but fortunately I had therapy and that helped a bit so I still didn’t think anything was really amiss.

Tuesday, though, the depression monster got me by the throat.

I woke up for work and within an hour started wishing I was dead. Not actively suicidal, but so sad and in so much pain that I wished I could flip a switch and just be gone rather than live a day in that misery.

My depression, much of the time, is like having everyone who’s ever been terrible to me, ever abused me, ever repeatedly cut me down, trapped in my head with me. And they’re always insidiously whispering awful things, like how I’m fat and stupid and ugly and I’ll be alone forever and don’t deserve any of the good things in my life and I’m going to rot in hell for my bad choices and I’m not talented or competent so eventually everyone at work will realize what I fraud I am and I’ll get fired. Those things, on a loop. All. Day. Long. And because I’m all fucked up, I believe every word of it.

I probably spent, all told, two hours of Tuesday crying silently in the bathroom at work. Just little bits at a time so my face didn’t get too messy. I’d allow myself a couple of quiet sobs and then make myself shut up in case anyone in there could hear me. I got in the elevator and it was empty so I hysterically sobbed my way down nineteen floors and then composed myself before the doors opened.

I didn’t eat that day because I didn’t feel like I deserved to.

Sitting at my desk, I took out my powder compact and the dead eyes in the mirror scared me. Just blank, glassy, expressionless, dead eyes. The depression monster, looking out.

I saw my very concerned therapist again on Tuesday night, and I was able to get in to see my psychiatrist on Wednesday morning. He didn’t seem alarmed, but then again, he never does. (Rather taciturn, that one.) We’re going to try upping one of my mood stabilizers a little bit and see if I even out. No drastic measures yet, like putting me on lithium. Lithium side effects can be nightmarish so that’s an absolute last resort.

Today was better. It’s probably at least partially the placebo effect because of the increased meds, but I didn’t cry at all, I had a little energy, I ate, and I only spent a small portion of the day absolutely loathing myself. I call that improvement. Part of it, too, is that in the midst of feeling so awful, being taken care of feels so good – going to my therapist an extra time and letting her soothe me, seeing my psychiatrist and letting him help me, getting loving and concerned texts from friends and letting them support me…it’s all a direct contradiction to the voices telling me I’m alone and unworthy and all that shit. And it shows how far I’ve come as far as seeking and accepting help from my support network. Turns out that letting people show concern and care for me really helps. Duh, Minerva. Duh.

This is the worst episode I’ve had in a long, long time. It scares the hell out of me. But like I said, I’m letting people help me and hopefully this med tweak will lift me out of it and also keep me from having episodes this severe anymore.

That’s all. Just documenting, more for myself than for you, my sweet readers. I’m probably depressing the fuck out of you lately and for that I am sorry. Thanks for reading, and for the times you comment or reach out to me privately. I’d still do this even if nobody read it, but I do find it comforting and satisfying to know that people do read and even sometimes take something away from it. Y’all are awesome. Thank you.

Tick…tick…tick…

[TW: suicidal thoughts, hospitalization]

I had a rough couple of days last week.

I realized that December 30th, 2015, was the first time I took myself to the ER because I was suicidal. Four years to the day. I remembered it because I was thinking about New Year’s Eve and the worst one I ever spent – drugged out of my mind, alone, trying to sleep in a strange bed in a strange place. I remember the incredibly flat pillow and the yucky feeling of the vinyl mattress under the sheet. I remember lying there in the dark and being so scared, so sad, and so in shock that this was where I needed to be – alone and drugged up in a locked hospital ward so I wouldn’t kill myself.

I went to the ER in the mid-afternoon of December 30th. I took an Uber there. As I was getting out, the driver said, “Happy New Year!” and I choked down the hysterical sobs that tried to burst from my throat

When you walk into an ER and say, “I’m suicidal,” they spring into action the same way they do when someone comes in with chest pain. They immediately take you into a room and take away every single thing you have – your bag, your clothes, your shoes, everything. You can keep your underwear but not your bra (because of the underwire). They let me keep my phone until they decided I was going to be fully admitted.

And then I waited.

For approximately sixteen hours.

Don’t go to the ER for a psych issue in the afternoon or evening. By the time the ER concludes that you do need to be admitted, the behavioral health units all over town are basically closed to new admittings, and you have to wait until morning for them to find a bed somewhere for you. So I waited the entire goddamn night and the following morning was finally got loaded into an ambulance to be taken to another hospital. This involved being separated from my friend who’d been keeping me company for all those hours, and I was terrified. I remember taking out my forgotten earrings, giving them to her, and finally having to surrender my phone. By then it was New Year’s Eve, 2015.

More details are depressing and irrelevant and I’ve written about many of them already. I don’t know what it was about the anniversary this year, but I just kept ruminating about that experience – not the psych hospital experience overall, but the ER experience and that first night on the ward, and I was a mess. I kept welling up with tears and getting shaky and just so, so sad. Fortunately I had therapy that night and we talked about my sadness and where it was coming from. I decided that I’m sad for myself. For that four-years-ago Minerva who was so lost and afraid and didn’t have the correct diagnosis yet and so wasn’t being treated properly. I’m sad that sometimes I scare the living hell out of the people who love me.

I’m sad that I’m sick.

To me, there’s a difference between that and wallowing around asking “Why me?” over and over again. There’s a difference between self-pity and just feeling sad about your circumstances. I’m just so, so sad that I’m sick and need all this help and probably will for the rest of my life. Bipolar disorder can improve through treatment, but it doesn’t go away. And I’m sad about how it’s not this neatly-enclosed bubble where it impacts me and only me. Mental illness is a stone thrown in a pond that sends out ripples. It’s not just me that it hurts. And I think I feel saddest about that. In John Green’s wonderful book The Fault in Our Stars, the main character is a teenager with terminal cancer and she describes herself as a bomb, a grenade that will one day go off and hurt everyone around her. I know what she means, but I also think that the bomb can go off many times, with varying degrees of devastation. My three hospitalizations were certainly bombs going off. I ruined my parents’ long-awaited Hawaiian vacation with my first time in, Mother’s Day the second, and Father’s Day the third. That third time, when I actually attempted suicide, was the biggest bomb of all. That bomb was a big one and it was shaking and smoking and beeping scarily and had it gone off, nothing would’ve ever been the same again for anyone who loved me.

I’m just so sad that the bombs are there to begin with.

To everyone who cares about me: I know that I don’t need to apologize for being sick and that you would never ask me to. But I’m sorry that I scare you sometimes, that you worry about me, and that you find yourself having to ask me, “How are you doing?” in a way that’s probably a bit different from the way you ask other people. I’m endlessly grateful that you ask, but I’m sad that sometimes I’m not able to say, “Hey, I feel great!” I mean, sometimes I do feel great and it’s the truth, but sometimes it’s not, and I don’t like to lie to you. And I’m sad that you have to figure out what to say when I’m not great. (For what it’s worth, “I’m here for you,” is plenty.)

The bombs haven’t been beeping for quite some time. Honest truth. I’ve been taking care of myself, taking my meds religiously even though I hate them sometimes, seeing my therapist once a week and really digging in to things with her.

And I do have tons things to not be sad about. I have people who care for me deeply and are endlessly supportive, even when I’m sure it’s hard to be. (I had a close friend say to me recently, “Sometimes you talk to me about some of these things and I don’t know what to say because I haven’t been through them, but just know that I’m always, always listening.” Pure gold.) I have access to the healthcare I need exactly when I need it. I have a life of love and humor and inspiration – seriously, I am so lucky to have people in my life who lift me up, inspire me, and make me cackle-laugh, which is how you know you’ve ambushed me with something funny I wasn’t expecting. So in spite of feeling so, so sad sometimes, I know how fortunate I am as well. That combats the sadness and makes me feel like I’m throwing that fucking bomb into a bottomless crevasse. And it is not welcome back.

Sunrise

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[TW: suicide]

I looked at the calendar today and noticed that this Sunday is Father’s Day (oops). Then I realized, out of nowhere, that this weekend marks an anniversary for me.

A year ago this weekend, I tried to take my own life.

I think about the time that’s passed and can hardly believe I’m the same person I was a year ago. Maybe I’m not. After I got out of the hospital, I started intensive outpatient therapy. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it changed my life and is the best thing I’ve ever done for myself, mental health or otherwise. I met some amazing people at different places in their own journeys, and I learned how to handle various types and levels of emotions with a new set of skills – the most important being what to do when I’m freaking the fuck out and sobbing uncontrollably and presenting a danger to myself. (Most interesting trick I learned? When your distress is at an 8 or 9 out of 10, hold an ice pack on the back of your neck. It works.) I always saw myself as good at being in touch with my emotions and understanding why I felt a certain way and what to do about it. After three stints in a psychiatric hospital, it became apparent that I didn’t have the coping skills I thought I had. So I kept seeing my regular therapist, my psychiatrist, and going to outpatient therapy, and I got through it. I learned a lot, I got myself stabilized, and I was released back into the wild with a new set of skills and, most of all, a good feeling that I’ll probably never need to be sent to a hospital again. Since then, that good feeling has mellowed out into more of an “I will work as hard as I can on myself so I will hopefully never go to the hospital again,” type of thing. Life comes with no guarantees.

tenor

I’m writing this while in the throes of a pretty nasty depressive episode, which I guess is ironic. Last week, when Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain died by suicide, I did not take it well. I was very, very sad and felt very, very triggered. I held it together, but earlier this week my brain just gave up and I spiraled down. But I’m safe. I’m dealing with it in the healthiest ways I can manage while feeling exhausted and sad and shitty about everything. I cried myself to sleep the other night because when I’m depressed, all day long I want to isolate and wish everyone in the world would just fuck off, but at night, all I want in the whole world is to have someone in my bed with me. No need to talk to me, no need to lay a finger on me…just be in my bed. It’s awful. But I have hero-friends who have been coaxing me out of the house, which means I’m washing my hair and wearing normal clothes and even putting on makeup sometimes. That helps a lot. Depression makes you only feel like doing things that keep you depressed, so dragging myself out into society is a big middle finger to my depression monster. Sometimes self care is solitude and rest. Sometimes it’s sitting in a bar while laughing so hard I have to wipe my tears with a tiny square napkin. Because it is possible to laugh my ass off while depressed. It takes a little more than usual, but in the right circumstances, it can happen. And I’m very lucky to have people in my life who go out of their way to help me create those circumstances.

So here I am, one year post-attempt. It sucks that I’m marking this moment while in the middle of my worst depressive episode since it happened, but you know what? While last time I spun out of control and almost put a period at the end of my sentence, this time I’m pausing, semicolon-style. Outpatient therapy taught me how to do that. I know, even in this darkness, that life is good and I’m going to see the sun again soon.

Out of the Darkness, Again

Today was my third time doing the AFSP’s Out of the Darkness walk in Chicago. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention works to end suicide and mental illness stigma and has yearly walks all around the country to raise money. In Chicago there’s an opening program and then a 3.5-mile walk along the lakefront. The first two times I did the walk, I went alone. This year I got a team together and from now on I don’t want to do it any other way. I realized that going by myself was a lonely experience that made me feel alone in being sick and struggling. Today felt a lot different, walking with a bunch of friends and having people to talk to. I cried a lot during the opening program because I always do, but the whole day was a reminder that I have people to support me. Being sick has been very isolating for me, but I’m starting to understand that it doesn’t need to be. Some people don’t know what to say and are uncomfortable, and that’s okay, but I do have a core group of people who get me to at least some degree and are there to listen, and I’m so grateful for them. I was also proud of me today…doing things like this makes me feel like I’m showing up for myself and acknowledging what a year of struggle this has been, with two hospitalizations in six months and a bipolar II diagnosis. Jesus, it’s been a rough one. And I’ve started to learn that instead of always keeping a stiff upper lip and just dragging myself along, it’s important to acknowledge what a shitshow it’s been and how much it’s sucked, because there’s no shame in that and I also get to be proud of my own resilience – I can be as open about that as I am when I’m hurting. This year has kicked my ass, but I’m still here and I promise I’ll fight like hell to stay for a good long time. I don’t want anyone who loves me doing that walk  in my memory.

Fight, etc.

Been quiet around these parts lately. I guess I haven’t had anything interesting to talk about, except I escaped the job I hated and got into one that I hate just as much and is just as bad for my brain as the first one. So, yay for that. I’m trying hard to keep my head up and sometimes take things hour by hour if that’s what I need to do. It’s exhausting. Yesterday I found myself in that passive “not going to actually do anything about it but I really wish I wasn’t around anymore” mindset. That probably sounds horrifying to people who aren’t sick but for me it’s as normal as something like that can be. I have a hard day or start stressing too much about something and there’s that little monster ready to introduce that thought into my head. He’s an asshole. I’d take this over the actual suicidal state that’s landed me in the hospital, but obviously it still sucks. Who wants to walk around feeling like that? I don’t know what the answer is. Talking about it scares people. Talking about it to my shrink makes him want to throw more medication at the problem and I already take so much and truly don’t think that’ll help. And yet I’m not cool with the idea that I just have to live with thoughts about not wanting to live. That’s some bullshit.

Anyway. That’s all I got. Feeling kind of crappy but hanging in there. This has been a really, really hard year and I’m tired, but just on principal I’m not surrendering to this goddamn disease. Fight, fight, fight, etc.

Ten Minutes

The fun continues. I’m on day 5 of the full dose of Lamictal that’s supposed to fix the way I’ve been feeling for weeks, but apparently that takes time because I’m anxious as fuck and irritable beyond belief and so completely unable to handle stress that I had to come home from the office early because I couldn’t even work. I felt like I was going to lose my shit at any moment and I’m really trying to avoid that happening at the office. When I was standing out in the cold waiting for my Uber, freezing half to death and crying a little bit, I had vague thoughts of taking myself to the hospital so I could just rest and be somebody else’s problem for a little while, but then realized that wouldn’t help. I learned a few things in my time there, but ultimately that place didn’t really help me. It kept me safe from myself for a few days and that was it. Nothing was lastingly better in any significant way after I came home. But how and when the fuck am I going to get better? I’m so tired and frustrated and pissed off because every time I go to my doctor he’s like “SOON” and I’m like “THAT’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH” and he just smiles and tells me to be patient because he doesn’t have to walk around in this body every day feeling at least three-quarters of the way out of his mind. Instead of feeling so depressed that I have thoughts of wanting to die, I feel so overwhelmingly anxious and stressed and panicky and angry and can’t see how it’ll get better and THAT makes me wish I could make it be over by flipping a switch. It’s like a different flavor of the same problem. Same dance, different song. And of course missing work doesn’t help the anxiety because I already feel like I’m not doing well there and am being treated accordingly, so then I’m so anxious I can’t work and go home and then feel more anxious because that certainly isn’t helping matters. I’m still a goldfish in a bag that some bratty little kid is shaking. In all the time I’ve been sick I’ve never felt so little control of my own body and behavior and it’s so scary and makes me feel so alone in it and certain people in my life don’t help matters by treating me like because I’m bipolar, none of my thoughts and feelings are have legitimacy or value: I’m not pissed because someone’s being shitty, I’m pissed because I’m a bit “crazy” right now. Actually no, I am still capable of having normal reactions and recognizing when something is bullshit. I’m medicated, not lobotomized. FFS. Bottom line is, when I’m upset or in a rage, don’t tell me to just go take a nap. I’m not a toddler having a tantrum.

It’s so hard to describe if you’re not in it, and it makes me feel so alone because how can you comfort someone if you don’t understand what’s the matter and I don’t even know what to ask for. So I sit at home and take my benzos with wine and try to chill the fuck out and it works for like ten minutes at a time. That’s all I’ve got at the moment – ten minutes at a time. I guess I can do that for a while until things get better. They have to get better.

Wintry mix

I think this is what they call a mixed episode. Supposedly bipolar II’s don’t get them much, but I’m restless and hostile and irritable and can’t sit still and I’m also depressed as fuck. I’m fine and laughing and in less than 5 minutes I’m having an emotional breakdown. I start a sentence and am sobbing by the end of it without any warning that I’m about to get upset. I fly into a rage over the stupidest shit – I bumped my head on an open cabinet in my kitchen and was instantly so pissed that I lost it and opened and slammed it until my hand hurt. I didn’t feel this out of control four months ago when I was planning how to die. I can’t do anything except play Xbox and watch My Little Pony because my attention span is so short and I start to panic if I try to focus on anything real like reading a book. (Hard to freak out when you’re watching pastel ponies fly around talking about friendship.) I haven’t finished a book in almost a year, and I used to read 2-3 per month. I have things to be happy and excited about, things to be motivated for, and I feel good about them for most of the day and then suddenly I hate my life and have no hope and want to die. I haven’t had a suicidal thought in months but now here they are again. If there’s a hell for me, this is it – manic and depressed at the same time. I see my doctor on Thursday and thank god for that. For a couple of days after cutting the Abilify it seemed like things were settling down, but they’re not. I don’t think there are a lot of other options besides the path I’m on and that’s the scary part. Maybe this is all just a long, slow adjustment phase, but what if it’s not? This is just as bad as the blackest-black depression I was in before my diagnosis changed. I feel like a goldfish in a plastic bag and some shitty little kid is shaking it. I’m furious and sad and scared and I feel absolutely nothing like myself, and all I have ever wanted out of this entire godawful situation is to feel like myself again. It’s such a basic, reasonable thing to want I’m so fucking tired and so fucking mad because I don’t get to have it.

He’s baaaaack

Tonight I fell asleep hypomanic and woke up depressed. It can happen that fast. This week was tough; we’re getting me slowly ramped up on the Lamictal so I’m not feeling any effects from it yet, and my doctor raised my Abilify to see if that would help bring down the mania. It sort of did…I’ve had lots of energy and but also haven’t seen sleeping right, which makes me think I’ve still been a little manic. Then late last week I turned into a goddamn lunatic. I was furious and hostile and painfully irritable to the point where I had to keep going to the bathroom to rage-cry. I called my psychiatrist demanding that we move up my appointment and he calmed me down and said it was all Abilify side effects and I should just go back to the lower dose. So I did, and felt better right away. The land of antipsychotic medication is unfamiliar to me and I’ve been having a hard time getting my bearings. But even though I felt less manic and hostile and irritable, I started hearing the most unwelcome voice in the world, the one I know so well. “This is what your life is going to be forever. You can take the damn pills and try to improve, but it will never be quite right, and you’ve got this thing forever. You’re never going to feel quite right ever again.”

Hello, DM.

He stayed in the background, though. I was up at 5 or 5:30 a.m. this weekend and washed, folded, and put away seven loads of laundry. Then today I found myself able to nap a little bit, which hasn’t happened in weeks, and then I let myself doze off on the couch for just a little bit and woke up four hours later, and within five minutes of waking up, I was crying uncontrollably and for no real reason.

Ding-dong. Little pig, little pig, let me come in.

I don’t want him here. Hypomania is weird and unfamiliar but at least I’m never really sad. I know the depression part all too well and he’s basically going to have to drag me away kicking and screaming. So off I go to bed, because sleep is the #1 most important thing. And tomorrow starts the mental warfare of fending off the depression monster.

Bipolarcoaster

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Well, it’s been an interesting week. The last seven days or so are the first time that I’ve been hypomanic and actually aware that that’s what was happening. I’ve come to realize that prior to being diagnosed, I had these so-called unexplainable bouts of  terrible insomnia a few times a year. Nope. Hypomania. I just dismissed or didn’t notice the other stuff that went along with the insomnia.

I slept a maximum of four hours a night over the last week but still had tons of energy. It was like I couldn’t talk fast enough, think fast enough, move fast enough to keep up with everything I wanted to say and do. I got an insane amount of organizational projects done at home. I wanted to spend every dime I have to my name because hot damn shopping feels good. I wanted to screw anyone willing and able because…well, I don’t think I need to explain that one. For me, to be manic is to have no anxiety, no sadness, no pain, no fear.

It’s goddamn amazing.

I didn’t realize how afraid I’ve been, and for how long, until I got this break from it. Over the last six to nine months or so, I was looking at my depression as something that was most likely going to kill me. I knew I couldn’t hold on forever in the pain I was in; one day, maybe not for years, but someday, it was going to hurt just a little too much and I was going to be just a little too tired to carry it anymore. I had expressed the fear that that might happen, but I never told anyone that the fear had turned into certainty. Not even my therapist. And that is a godawful thing to walk around with. And then I got my diagnosis and suddenly it made so much sense that my depression was so severe and my treatment wasn’t working, which was a huge relief, but holy shit, this hypomania. This hypomania almost made me forget I was ever sad. I haven’t been able to even fathom the idea of dreading a new day, much less wanting to die. No anxiety, no fear. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say this hypomania is a gift. How weird that mental illness, at least this one, can feel good sometimes, right? How bizarre.

I think I’m coming down now. Last night I actually felt tired and fell asleep at a decent hour and didn’t wake up for the day at 3:30 in the morning like I have been. Today I feel like I’m talking/thinking/moving at a more normal speed for me, and the elevated mood is sliding down into irritability. What I have to do now is keep my fingers crossed that I don’t keep sliding and end up in a depressive episode, because OH MY GOD I have spent enough time in that place, fuck you every much. I saw my psychiatrist today and he said it could go either way. I might level out and just be normal until my next episode, or I might get depressed. Everyone is different. Bipolar II is annoying as hell because it can look so different for each person and doesn’t have the predictability of bipolar I. I’m still on a super tiny dose of Lamictal but I’m on enough Abilify now for it to be doing its thing, so my doctor said I may just level out or if I do get depressed, it’ll be over quickly.

I can’t even tell you what that feels like, to know that I’m on medication that is going to help – not hopefully, but actually. At last. The fearlessness of the hypomania is not sustainable, but finally having the right diagnosis and getting the right treatment is taking away my fear in a more real and enduring way. And it feels so good to not be scared.

 

 

Transition

I’m two weeks post-bipolar II diagnosis and starting Abilify, and I’m one week into the process of weaning off my two antidepressants. The tapering process was actually going much better than I expected until the last couple of days, when I got strapped into an emotional Tilt-a-Whirl that I can’t seem to escape. To be clear, 80% of the time I feel great. I feel clear-headed, alert, energetic, quick-witted, and all-around more like myself than I have in years. Abilify has been nothing short of a miracle for me – in a matter of days it quite literally flipped the switch on my depression and it’s gone. But, as I suspected, weaning my brain off the antidepressants it’s been on for two years is not without its consequences, even though the drugs haven’t been doing what they should because I was misdiagnosed. I’ve been shaky the last few days – mostly in a good mood, but it’s fragile. I’m fine and then I see a photo on Facebook of a casual acquaintance’s new baby, and I’m in tears because his cheeks are so perfect. Or out of absolutely nowhere, I think of the fact that my mom has a severely disordered view about food and eating and how that’s affected me negatively my whole life, and I’m crying on the train. Or I watch an episode of Girls and one tearful, trying-to-keep-it-together expression on Lena Dunham’s face causes a total breakdown. But these meltdowns last a matter of minutes, if not seconds, and then they’re over and I’m fine. It’s exhausting to not know minute-to-minute what’s going to set me off. But I know it’s temporary and after this part is over, I can look forward to being much more even-keeled and stable.

I will, unfortunately, be depressed again at some point, because my new medications will lessen my bipolar symptoms but they can’t eliminate them. But if they work the way they should, I won’t ever be as bad as I was even a few weeks ago. I won’t be so depressed that I can barely move or talk, and I won’t think about dying a dozen times a day. I won’t think about something that upsets me and immediately spiral into “This thing upsets me and oh my god I hurt so much all the time and it’s never, ever going to be over and the only way to make it stop is to die.” I’ve been living with that every single day for five months. I have been trapped in a body that’s been torturing itself for two years. (And here I go, crying again.) Since my hospital stay, I’ve found myself actively resenting the fact that I have family and friends who would be completely shattered if I killed myself, because that was the only thing that kept me from doing it, and I wanted to do it so badly so I wouldn’t hurt anymore. I’d look at pictures of my little niece and nephew and know in my heart that I couldn’t allow myself to become their Aunt Minerva who’s so hard to talk about in front of them because of What She Did. I couldn’t allow myself to leave and not see the amazing people I know they’ll grow up to be. I couldn’t allow my final act on this earth to be breaking the hearts of everyone who cares about me. And I had moments when I hated all of you for that. That is what this nightmare madness was doing to me. And the Abilify shut it off. I like myself and my life again and I want to see whatever adventure is next. And when my next depressive episode happens, it won’t be nearly as bad. Having that “I wish I was dead” feeling is a living hell to experience just once, much less multiple times a day, day in and day out. I will never be able to explain the agony of it. And while I could easily be really angry that I was suffering like that for so long without an accurate diagnosis and treatment (even my therapist says I have a right to be thoroughly pissed off), I’m not. I’m so immensely relieved to be feeling better and to know that I’ll continue to feel good more often than not from here on out. I think about that sometimes and cry from pure relief and joy.

It sucks that I’m bipolar. But that’s just a word in my medical record. The reality here is that we’ve finally figured out what’s the matter and now we can treat it properly. And if I didn’t believe in miracles before, this tempts me quite a bit.