“At heart, I have always been a coper, I've mostly been able to walk around with my wounds safely hidden, and I've always stored up my deep depressive episodes for the weeks off when there was time to have an abbreviated version of a complete breakdown. But in the end, I'd be able to get up and on with it, could always do what little must be done to scratch by.” ― Elizabeth Wurtzel, Prozac Nation
About a month ago, I broke down.
I saw it coming. I did. Somehow I still thought I had it all together. Since about July, I have been smiling my way through my worst bout of bipolar depression in about ten years. I recognized it early enough to consult with my doctor and he prescribed a small-dose antidepressant on top of my usual bipolar medications. This has worked in the past. We both hoped it would work again, but I was not that lucky... and I continued to deny that I was sinking.
The thing about being bipolar is that sometimes medications just stop working and it's time to try something new.
I didn't see (or didn't want to see) it soon enough – and neither did the other people in my life. That's the difference between bipolar mania and bipolar depression. One slaps your family, coworkers, and friends in the face. They simply can't ignore it. The other is more akin to getting stuck in quicksand and the struggle to survive drags you down deeper into the darkness. Unless you cry out, no one can hear you.
I didn't cry out.
I couldn't cry out.
And then I was broken.
The other thing about being bipolar is that it is treatable. Being broken means admitting to everyone that you are broken so that you can get help and not stay broken. I'm not Humpty Dumpty. I can be put back together again.
Bipolar depression is never, for me, quite as destructive as bipolar mania, but there are still repercussions.
It's the biggest struggle I have with my disease. I'm a firm believer in taking full responsibility for my actions. Sometimes my actions are not my own. Well... they are, but they aren't the actions of someone mentally stable. I don't even remember all of my "your medication is no longer working" actions, but I still have to live with them and I have to make amends.
I have to forgive myself.
So, here I am – healing... and I have a lot to heal.
Please, if you struggle with depression or bipolar disorder – get help:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Depression & Bipolar Support Alliance