Testimonials On Living With Manic Depression

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To recover from a mental illness or addiction is to follow in the steps of those who went before us. There should be very few surprises to living with a mental illness… we share the general symptoms, the general behaviours are similar.

And so are our recoveries.

We can all learn from each other… there shouldn’t be any surprises to living with a mental illness.

Some Lessons Learned So Far…

‘I Can’t Handle Life Anymore’; Feb. 15, 2008
“Life is hard. Life is full of pain. Heartache. Terror. Off the top of my head I can think of 5 things that terrify me in life that have nearly caused me to off myself in the past. My self loathing would be the biggest. I hated myself for a very long time. I can’t forgive myself for the events in my past, even those I had no control over. I couldn’t handle what I had become. Only a tenuous loyalty to those who loved me kept me here.”

‘I Owe It All To Something Beige’; Aug. 15, 2008
“I know I should have something deeper to say about nearly dying… for willingly trying to end my own life, destroy myself. That’s the problem. I don’t have anything deep. I didn’t emerge into the cloudy day thinking I’d start over, I’d be a better person. Frankly, the only thing on my mind was how fucking stupid I was, and how close I had been to seriously harming myself. I could have died. An hour later, two hours, maybe if I had fallen asleep instead of stared at a picture of my daughters, I would be dead, my ashes perhaps now floating into your eyes. All I could do was curse at myself and remind myself that I was a fool, and nearly a dead one.”

‘Hypomania’; June 8, 2008
“But my experience of life today has been mostly suicidal. Not the big, loud, exciting kind of suicidal, but the quiet this is all pointless and I want to die kind, with maybe a shade of hey, you have a rope here right now so why wait?. Not so much of that last bit as to make me feel that it’s a realistic possibility in the near future, but enough to make me wonder if cutting would make me feel better.”

‘Oratate v. Carbonate: Lithium Isn’t Created Equally’; May 16, 2008
“Many drugs need to be in the form of a salt to be stable. Lithium, the kind that actual doctors prescribe, is usually in the form of lithium carbonate. The lithium molecule is combined with a molecule of carbonic acid, to form lithium carbonate. It would be unwise to take pure lithium as adding lithium to water results in what chemists like to call a “brisk exothermic reaction”. To put it another way, you’d end up with no tongue.”

‘An Answer To The Non-Believer’; July 17, 2007
“A common belief is that an increase (manic) or decrease (depressed) in neurotransmitters is the main cause of bipolar episodes. But the situation is not nearly that simplistic. The cells themselves do not function properly under the influence of neurotransmitters. It is important to grasp this distinction when considering the effectiveness of medication.”

‘If I Wasn’t Bipolar…’; Feb. 11, 2007
“I have been ill for as long as I remember, as long as I was a real person. And I can’t compare myself to how I was unmedicated and untreated. Because I was your classically insane person. Swinging from suicidal to a gibbering, delusional wreck in 0-5. Or 0-150, depending.
But that’s it. It’s just an illness that needs to be medicated, like any other illness. So we have to deal, really.”

‘Mood Changes Are Normal’; Mar. 3, 2007
“I was very hyper, running riot and enjoying myself. Then, and very suddenly, I felt absolutely suicidal. Something tore through me and split me wide open. I could barely register anything, I was so caught off guard by the deep sorrow and depression that had infected me. All the lights were wrapped in grey and every thing felt threatening.”

‘Ten Bipolar Myths, Part One’; Nov. 14, 2008
“There are many myths about people with manic depression. Lots of times when we’re first diagnosed, or even down the road sometimes, we have these mythical ideas about what bipolar disorder is and can do. By accepting these myths, we buy into the stigma that often surrounds mental illness. By recognizing and challenging them, we can have better lives.”

‘Some folks just don’t get it’; Nov. 9, 2008
“Imagine me sitting across the living room from my mother. I’m explaining that because of my bipolar cycling and related things, to take care of myself well, I have to change my work dramatically. Yes, I can do art. No, I can’t do it when I have to run the business end by myself. She was almost desperate to tell me that I was mistaken, that bipolar disorder doesn’t affect my ability to handle things on a day to day basis.”

‘Eating Disorder Bullshit-O-Meter’; April 13, 2009
“The most amusing thing about ED’s [Eating Disorders] is how they give you the ability to be able to think one thing, feel it, believe it, but at the exactly the same time be utterly convinced of the polar opposite. The more I slip, the more I find myself calling my own lies, and the Bullshit-O-Meter comes out in force.”

‘kicking at the darkness until it bleeds daylight’; Nov. 8, 2006
“Depression is a thin coating, it’s a thin sheet of reflective ice concealing an ocean. It corrupts our ability to Reason, and without that ability we can’t defend ourselves against the thoughts inside our heads, so we find excuses we can live with. People with our disease are excellent at rationalizing unreasonable behaviour to fit situations we can’t understand.”

‘The Only Thing I Gave Up…’; Jan. 31, 2008
“When you think about the disease, when you think you are what the disease tells you who You are, You’re not what it says you are at all. Christ, the disease is really just a tiny piece of something in your brain… little microscopic drips of chemicals that are just a little bit out of place or about four out of a trillion neurons sparking once instead of twice.”

...thanks.

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7 Responses to Testimonials On Living With Manic Depression

  1. Pingback: Some New Things About My Blog « …salted lithium.

  2. epitomegirl says:

    Something I’ve always struggled with, as someone with bipolar disorder, is wondering whether my actions hare been really ME or are just expressions of my disorder. It’s almost impossible to separate the two.

    So many of my accomplishments (getting 3 degrees, starting my own design firm, winning design competitions) were fueled by the insatiable, electric energy of hypomania.

    Sometimes they were impulsive decisions to get 11 tattoos over a span of 2 years (and no, I don’t regret a single one of them) or to break up with a boyfriend.

    And sometimes they were more well thought-out, like amazing my friends with how productive I am and how I constantly have a tremendous amount of energy I channel into huge tasks and projects, over and over again.

    So if hypomania has pushed me to become a highly successful, driven person, and I get rewarded for it, is hypomania bad? Is it me who is so driven, or is it my hypomania?

    I refuse to believe that it’s only because of bipolar disorder that I get so much done. I have to give myself some credit.

  3. Gabriel... says:

    You have to give yourself all the credit. Hypomania rarely, if ever, works in our favour. It’s not a focused energy, when we’re manic we’re speaking in tongues, not giving poetry recitals. Manic depression, in all of its nasty forms, works against us, not for us. Manic depression never brings clarity. What’s driven you, and continues to drive you, is the same energy which drives everyone else, however, you, I and the other people with bipolar have to push through the disease.

    People assume the manic’s bring insight and revelation because they feel so important… the agitation feels like it must carry something important. But it’s ultimately as empty as the depressions.

    Your actions and inactions are your own, but when the disease is allowed to go on untreated your actions are based on faulty data. Untreated we’re not operating with the information necessary to make healthy choices.

    There are a lot of great blogs in my sidebar which could help you understand the disease, I know there are some which helped me. But some of the best posts I’ve found so far are on this page… so help yourself.

    Good luck with your own blog, mine has brought me a lot of understanding and some friendships as well…

  4. epitomegirl says:

    Thanks Gabriel – I know with my mania, nothing ever comes out of it that’s productive or good. But with my hypomania, that’s a whole different story.

    When in a hypomanic state, in the beginning throes of it, before the irritability sets in, I’ve painted works of art that have won competitions and sold in art galleries. With wild, brilliant colors and vivid images swimming in front of my eyes, I’ve designed posters that have gained me so much attention that I was interviewed on NPR’s “All Things Considered” and with others, chosen to be displayed in international political design events at museums around the world.

    I know I deserve all the credit for channeling that energy, but would I really have those brilliant, beautiful colors in my mind, swirling around, had I not been in a hypomanic (not manic) state? I don’t have them when I’m not in that state.

    Unfortunately, I know too much about my illness. I’ve been medicated for 10 years, and I lost my bipolar father to suicide, so I’ve grown up with it. My mother is a therapist, so although I’m always reading more and more about it, I think I have a pretty good understanding of the illness.

    I know my actions aren’t due to the illness, and I guess I should have rephrased that.

    Is my inspiration, my energy, due to the illness?

    This is a question Kay Jamison asks over and over again in her book “Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament” which she wrote after finishing “An Unquiet Mind.”

    I guess, in a sense, it’s a question that plagues many manic depressives.

    Thanks for your feedback. :) Would you like to trade links?

  5. Pingback: Clinical Depression in the Context of Human Evolution | An Unquiet Mind

  6. janusjana says:

    I just found this, and it is helping me in a dark moment. Thanks to all of these bloggers.

  7. Pingback: Some hope from bipolar bloggers « Bipolar: Inquiries into How the Cookie Crumbles

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