I have always been on the depressive side of manic depressive and even during the times when I rapid cycle so many times a day that I lose count there was always the certainty that when the cycling stopped that I would stop in depression and not mania.
Depression, while a disgusting and debilitating experience, has always been familiar to me. I never recognise the onset of it but once I do I know how to handle it. I have a check list of things to do until I see my GP. I see my GP at least once every three weeks so I never have long to wait. People often envy my frequent visits to the GP but try being so ill that they’re seeing you often to keep you alive – it’s nothing to envy.
For the past two years or so I have been hypomanic. Hypomania is mania without psychosis. I have never had a full blown pyschotic episode but I have had episodes that are so close that I’ve felt the cold breath of psychosis on the back of my neck.
I hate being manic. The management of my illness is centred around being in control. I can’t control depression but I can manage it if I’m prepared to lose sleep and look like a mess.
Over the past week or so I’ve seen my sleeping pattern change. It is a paradox that when I am manic I sleep soundly and when I’m depressed I get insomnia in a big way.
I have felt lethargic over the past few days. There have been bursts of energy and enjoyment but today I just want to curl up into a ball and live in the airing cupboard for a few years. I sent a message to my best friend last night saying that I couldn’t find any positive things about the day, that I wanted to get monstrously drunk (I’ve been in recovery for 26 years) and that the safest thing I could do was to go to bed.
This morning I sent him a message saying that it had dawned upon me that I was actually was depressed. It had taken me two days to get to that point but I got there in the end.
Depression is a violent drag away from all that is enjoyable and worth living for but the feeling is much better than the relentless optimism (and the lack of empathy that came along with it) for the past two years.
If I spend the next few days, or weeks, or months crying and feeling like nothing counts anymore I’ll be happy in a weird kind of way but anything is better that the relentless mania and all the chaos and indignity that comes with it.