Depression: Return of the Psychiatric Shuffle

190901zab77uqg3I’m totally writing this for the cathartic experience, but I offer no apologies if it’s all a bit morbid and depressing. Guess what? Depression is depressing.

I spend a lot of my time when I’m depressed trying not to feel sorry for myself and trying to be grateful for the good things I have in my life.

All the personal development courses I’ve been on, and the books I’ve read, talk about positive thinking in improving our lives and wellbeing. Challenging times and events in our lives are viewed as times of growth, which I do agree with, even though I’m kicking and screaming through each one!!

But sometimes it doesn’t work.

I think there are times in life when you can’t look at things through rose-tinted spectacles. Sometimes you need to see things for what they really are and to accept the downright shittiness of them.

Like now- I’m back to a depressive episode. I can only walk exceptionally slowly and probably not further than about 100m due to psychomotor retardation. And, do you know what? I’m not gonna suck up my pissed-off feelings behind a forced smile anymore.

Without really feeling those shitty feelings, without really experiencing them deeply, there is no authenticity in the experience. There is no real grounding in the depression.

I do feel sorry for myself. I was taught not to. I was taught to always be grateful. But I really want to feel sorry for myself. I don’t want to compare my experience to anyone else’s anymore. I know there are Syrian refugees going through enormous hardship out there, but trying to suppress my authentic feelings about my depression isn’t going to help them, or me, one little bit.

I think half my issues are wrapped up in the fact that I don’t let myself really feel my feelings. I was taught from a ridiculously young age not to feel, unless it was gratitude or empathy or some kind of joy that others could benefit from.

But right now I feel angry. I feel angry that I have to go through this experience yet again. Why? I’m getting nowhere fast in life. I don’t think I particularly deserve to wake up in the night with violent visions and impulses to self-harm. I don’t think I particularly deserve to feel so damn scared all the time. All the time. Of life in general. I’m so exhausted from going through this whole process.

The last couple of months have been really good. My walking speed has been back to normal. In fact I’ve felt fitter and walked with so much more energy!! To feel well was such a blessing! Now I’m back to the psychiatric-shuffle.

The Psychiatric-Shuffle (my term, not psychiatry’s)

This basically involves walking, but 20 times more slowly than everyone else. Commonly seen in psychiatric inpatients. A symptom of depression referred to as psychomotor retardation– thanks psychiatry for another fabulously empowering term.

It might sound very simple, but actually it feels like your brain and your body are working exceptionally hard to put your left foot forward then your right foot forward. Your legs are protesting every step.

It’s also highly embarrassing. Yes, people do notice. Today a child kept staring at me as she walked past holding her mum’s hand. She kept looking back at me. Bloody hell, do I really look that awful? It’s so embarrassing. And exhausting.

Back to the post……

ID-10091517So many great things have happened in the last couple of months- I’ve enjoyed them so much. Then a couple of weeks ago my good energy switched to bad energy and the surging prickliness and agitation coursed through me in an all too familiar way. When out in the street or on the bus I’d feel intensely annoyed with people I wasn’t even interacting with, my voice in my head became louder. I wanted to shout at people. Then it switched to anxiety about a week later, my heart was pounding, I thought I was going to have a heart attack. Then last Thursday the exhaustion kicked in.

Before the ‘bad energy’ I hadn’t really considered that I was a bit hypomanic, but looking back, I had been getting more obsessed with ‘collecting’ things (this has happened a few times in the past) and had spent quite a bit of money I couldn’t really afford. I was feeling much more in touch with my spiritual life. I probably only had about a week where I was sleeping much less and still feeling really great.

Bipolar is exhausting.

Not just the symptoms of exhaustion.

I mean the endless cycle of it all.

I still feel like it’s my fault.

I’m so tired of it.

I’m so bored of it.

What is the point?!!!!

But all the years have given me the experience to get through it, to really know that it gets better. In my early depressions I felt that I was literally going to die, that I would never ever feel joy, love, peace, or anything positive ever again. But even though I’m depressed now, I know from experience that I will get better.

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Depression: Return of the Psychiatric Shuffle

  1. Whirring Purring

    Thank you for sharing! I have been learning about bipolar disorder recently, experienced it for 15 years, but new to the terminology and community. Very empowering to hear you disclose your feelings — making them real. Feel tired of having to rein myself in all the time to be ‘normal’. Feel I might snap soon? But if I don’t I will definitely behave more erratically and hurt myself and my family. Feel I have to put a cap on things all the time. Trying to practice being aware now. Stopping irritation early and talking myself out of saying/thinking negative things. It helps, but like you said, it’s tiring to have to be in the driver’s seat all the time. I want to let go, but I’m afraid that will just undo all the work I have done to present as ‘normal’. Anyways, thank you so much for sharing your feelings and your story. They are very uplifting (even the dark ones). It’s difficult to maintain and keep relationships, reading your blog feels like a connection I can maintain. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. rachelmiller1511 Post author

      Your comments mean so much to me- thank you! I think we’re on the same page- the sheer exhaustion of ‘putting a cap on it’ as you say! Thanks again- it’s great to feel that a bit of blog writing can help someone even a small amount. 🙂

      Reply
  2. Sandy Sue

    I’m late reading and responding as I seem to be incomplete sync with you, Rachel.

    I think it’s as important to be real as it is to keep looking for the AhHa moments as we swing. To deny any of it denies our truth. I’m relieved to be in a place this moment where ALL of me is ok. The symptoms are just that, not failed worthiness. I can’t hold this place, but I try to come back to it as much as I can.
    Sending much love from afar.

    Reply
    1. rachelmiller1511 Post author

      Thank you Sandy Sue- I love what you’ve said here:

      “I can’t hold this place, but I try to come back to it as much as I can”

      I think that’s so true for me as well.

      Much love to you too.

      Reply

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