31 days of bipolar|day 2: … but all my memories…

…only take away from me any hope I’ll be happy in the end.

Today’s lyrics come from Haven, by an awesome band called Enter the Haggis. They’re a Celtic-ish/whatever-the-hell-they-feel-like-playing band from Canada-ish that I’ve been following for longer that I haven’t, so check them out! (I say “-ish”, because they have a US citizen and also some recent Philly in their ranks.)

This song fits into today’s prompt, and it’s one of my favorites in their repretoire.

What is your baseline mood/state? How does that impact your life?

My baseline mood is depressed, and it’s a shitty place to be. I often wish that I could “will” myself out of it, but it’s not that simple. And it’s not like the kinda “everyone gets sad sometimes” kind of deal. My depression is something that lasts for months with little-to-no relief.

I’ve been going through the worst episode of my life lately. Until I was assaulted in early November of last year (I’ll write on this some other time), I had been in a pretty abusive relationship for a bit. This threw me into some pretty bad depression that I’m only now starting to work through with medication and consistent therapy.

Depressive episodes feel like shit, to put it lightly.

I feel like my entire world has collapsed around me. I stop remembering to do silly things like take showers, brush my teeth, or eat… In fact, I’m down a considerable amount of weight from pretty much not eating and sleeping 12-18 hours a day with no desire to get up. When I have remembered to eat, it’s been junk like McDonald’s because I’ve had no willpower to go to the grocery store. Depression cripples me and leaves me unable to take care of myself like a normal, functioning 29 year old man. I also forget how to form coherent sentences in English most of the time, as English is not my first language.

And that’s only describing what people see on the outside

My head is a war zone during depressive episodes. I’m unable to focus, and I have memory issues. I don’t get suicidal, usually, but I do get the urge to just want to disappear for a while to get out of my skull. I end up having these horrible, gruesome thoughts that I can’t control. I don’t like it at all. I use to long for the highs of mania, until I started getting help for it.

You see, mania is dangerous for me. Usually, I black out for 1-2 weeks. It’s like I’m drunk without the alcohol or fun, and I have to rely on friends to tell me about the crazy shit I did and don’t ever remember doing. My bank account shows it every time. Manic episodes are not good for me. When I drove, I was reckless. I drank heavily and in excess to try to come down from it. I drank extremely alcoholically thanks to my bipolar, which is why I’m currently abstinent. I won’t sleep and feel like I really don’t need to. My head races so fast and colors are so vivid and EVERYTHING IS BEAUTIFUL!! I’ll think I’m superman, and I’ll do 2000 piece puzzles in one night. I’ll start a million and five crafting projects and over-commit myself musically.

It’s something I’ve learned to almost fear. I’ll write more on mania at some other point.

Mania always crashes back to my “normal” — depression. Suddenly, all those great ideas and all those commitments really weren’t so great, after all. In fact, it’s amazing I wasn’t killed thinking I’m indestructible.

While it may not be for everyone, I’ve gone the route of therapy, psychiatry, and medication. Nothing really worked prior to this round, and I’ve decided to commit to it. With my illness, there’s not a “one size fits all” regimen, it’s treating the symptoms and hoping the medications jive with each individual’s personal brain chemical imbalances. It’s trial and error. Like I wrote in my last post, it’s the game of Med Roulette. And this round, with a new psychiatrist, I seem to be winning. Depression is starting to lift a little. I’m worried about mania… but getting me to sleep consistently does great things.

 

One of the later prompts has to do with medication.. but I’m sure my cocktail will change by then.

Currently, my regimen is as follows:

Morning

  1. Wellbutrin XL, 150mg.
  2. Lamictal, 75mg.

Night

  1. Seroquel, 400mg.
  2. Mirtazapine, 45mg.
  3. Lamictal, 75mg.
  4. Prazosin, 2mg. (this one’s for PTSD/nightmares.)

PRN (as needed)

  1. Ativan, 2mg. (anxiety)
  2. Vistaril, 50mg. (anxiety)

I *think* I’m remembering everything… I also give myself a weekly injection of testosterone on Saturdays as part of my transition. My mood shifts noticeably by Friday, usually.

 

So yea… my baseline state makes life hell usually. Bipolar depression is no joke, and it usually just consumes me completely. It’s a constant struggle to stay present and be a functioning adult like I’m expected. I guess that’s the part people forget and that I hope to advocate for — my brain is ill… just like any other organ in our human bodies, brains can get sick. My illness is not contagious… you can’t catch bipolar from me breathing on you… but at the end of the day, my brain is ill and needs a little help to get through.

 

I guess it truly is all in my head.

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