Song of the Day: Disco by Dizzee Rascal (sooo not my usual taste, but it’s such a happy song!)
Well, it’s been a good couple of months since I last posted. Thanks for all the visits I’ve been getting whilst temporarily indisposed, I really appreciate all the interest. Thank you.
So I’ll briefly update you: major depressive episode! ‘Nuff said really! I was off work until late December.
It’s so strange how the symptoms can vary each time I experience an episode. Most frequently in the past I’ve had a prevalence of self destructive thoughts- particularly that my existence in the world is a total mistake and I’m not meant to be here, I’m a total waste of space, etc, etc- you know the drill! I’m glad I don’t take it so seriously anymore, because it’s so easy to be fooled by that ego voice- it seems so real! Yeah, it does still take a hold, but I know not to trust the thoughts of self-destruction and I guess I’m much less likely to act on them than when I was first diagnosed at 18. Actually that’s a total lie- they still seem very real and very scary- it is just that I’ve learned not to act on it and them and that they do go away.
This time the thoughts were veering much more towards paranoia- mainly firmly believing that all my friends and colleagues were really totally against me and all hated me and laughed behind my back as soon as I left the room. My anxiety levels were fairly high, but not as much as in the past, although I did have a few panic attacks.
However my main symptoms this time have been physical, namely psychomotor retardation and digestive issues- a new one for me! The retardation came on quickly just as I finished my last few days of work before a week off. I’d had mild depressive symptoms for a few weeks, which was why I booked the week off, to give myself a bit of recovery time. But as my week off progressed I was virtually unable to walk, except with a kind of shuffle. I really thought I was physically dying! Horrible.
The positive side to the physical symptoms is that at least people can actually SEE you’re ill. I really hate that mental illness, such as mild-moderate depression, can’t really be identified except by the people close to you. I think I’m especially good at putting on a happy face. I always believe that people think I’m making up the whole thing. Visible physical symptoms at least prove I’m not! I would also say that the retardation is easier to cope with than the intense anxiety, agitation, irritation and anger that you can experience either as part of dysphoric mania or agitated depression (are these two the same thing, or is it a mixed episode?)- particularly with self-destuctive thoughts too. I think these times are the worst- too much energy focused in a particularly negative and possibly lethal direction.
Anyway, the depressive episode messed up a day at Center Parcs for my birthday, and I cancelled a trip to London too- I knew I’d be a panicky mess on the tube! I’m OK with London when I’m well, I wouldn’t say I enjoy all the people/the tube, etc, but I love all the theatres, concerts etc- there’s just so many great performances and events going on- I’ll risk a bit of anxiety for them! But I didn’t want to risk panic attacks this time, which I felt were fairly inevitable! I seem to become mildly agorophobic when depressed, I don’t like being away from home/Norwich etc.
Anyway, since New Year I’ve been well on the mend and my confidence with work soon returned, despite all the anxiety of going back. My friend also managed to blag a free day at Center Parcs for us which made up for my birthday, and we had a really lovely Christmas with family. I feel grateful to be better, glad of a bit of sun despite the cold, extremely happy to be singing my heart out with a choir again and soooo lucky that I don’t have to work full-time! To all those Bipolar full-timers out there- I salute you!