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SAD + Bipolar + Wikipedia

Forgive me, but this is a terribly serious post. The first step is admitting you have a problem. My next step is letting others know.

I have Cyclothymia (a form of Bipolar disorder) with Seasonal Affective Disorder (appropriately abbreviated to SAD). For me, this means, whiplash mood swings from hypomania ("below manic" euphoric or irritable) to mild or severe depressions, plus mild depression if the sun hasn't come out in too many days, and thoughts of suicide during winter (and sometimes other times).

The wonderful people in my life are NOT to blame for this, and unfortunately, they do not affect my depression. If they did, this would be an easy fix. Though it is severely affected by my period- it only makes it worse. PMT sometimes becomes PMDD, and if my PMT symptoms make me especially weepy, the onslaught depression is hard to shake off afterwards.

It's hard to accurately write about this, since I'm not immersed in darkness, because the sun is shining and I've just been exercising, so my mood is pretty light right now (unrelated, I'd like to point out that due to my endometriosis and ovarian cysts, exercise does not help with my period, as people with normal uteri would try to make me believe). When I'm depressed, that is the perfect time to write about my depression, but the double-edged sword is that it is the perfect time to not want to pick up a pen or get on the computer.

People who have never experienced this (or who have never dealt with someone close who has/is experiencing this) do not understand what it is like. This isn't grief over a loss, or crying over say, getting scolded at work, or being upset over getting a bad grade at school or whatever. This is a chemical imbalance that sends us on a downward spiral without any clear reasons. Sometimes it's fast. Sometimes it creeps up on us. We cannot answer "Why?", which for me, seems to be the only question I get. Attempting to answer why just shuts us up more, frustrates us, throws us even deeper into the forest. All you can do is be there, and cause a distraction. Talk about good things. Try not to talk about the bad, but you don't have to totally refrain or walk on eggshells if you need someone to talk to. Just know that sometimes, it might hurt us to be reminded that we are unable to validate our own sadness.

There are aids to ease the pain. I have taken pills, but it is a difficult trick to make it work for me, rather than keep me in a cloud, and coming off them is torture. There are herbal remedies, therapies, and even Sun lamps. I am willing to try when the time comes, but it's hard to get me to do anything then.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 9th, 2012 04:32 am (UTC)
I'm suffering with depression too,...and I hate when people say "What are you depressed about?" or give me cute answers like "Oh just exercise" or "count your blessings!" or "think of so many people who have it worse". None of these things help when every day of your life you feel as if someone has died. The only time - I mean the ONLY TIME - in my life I felt even halfway normal was after taking depression meds for a day, but in exchange for my mental health they made me physically ill. And it doesn't help that women are pretty much predisposed to depression, as we have lower levels of serotonin than men, added to our periods and our hormones genuinely being giant fuck ups 90% of our lives. Men are so fortunate they don't have to deal with this bullshit. The ones that do,...normally end up commuting suicide. Women are more likely to have depression, but men are more prone to just ending it all. I can't tell you how many times a week I think about death and dying, and confronting God to ask him/her/it why he/she/it made it so humans (especially women) have to suffer so much.
The afterlife must be something really special for this world to suck so much.
Nov. 9th, 2012 04:34 pm (UTC)
The "have it worse" lines is the worst! I particularly hate "at least you weren't raped!" I got it all the time when I was a kid. Yeah, it could have been worse, but guess fucking what, mom... IT'S NOT A CONTEST.
I used to think about confronting god and asking WTF? But then I found it easier to just deny the existence of god, because things are easier to handle when you don't have the added thoughts of "what god would ever let this happen?"

Edited at 2012-11-09 04:35 pm (UTC)
Nov. 9th, 2012 07:40 am (UTC)
I studied a lot of Psych in college - may eventually get my PhD - and I know this is, as you say, an imbalance. It can't be "cheered up" by friends, or "erased" with other happy things. But as you mention, it can be managed... distracted from.

Wishing you the best dealing with it, I hope you can get it to a point where it doesn't detract from your life. ♥
Nov. 9th, 2012 04:39 pm (UTC)
Thanks :)
I'll probably try the sun lamp thing, since I've noticed it gets worse on gloomy days (yesterday was lovely, and I felt great, and today is blah, and I was told by my co-worker that I look wistful, even though I don't feel particularly sad or happy...). I feel like if I get even the tiniest shred of sun every day, I'll be okay, but that may just be wishful thinking, which is setting me up for a fall, but it may not be a far fall...
Nov. 9th, 2012 08:19 pm (UTC)
I bet that will help.

I know that many people (even without Cyclothymia or depression, etc.) feel less happy and motivated without sunshine.

I actually had an issue in one of my apartments... I complained to a friend that, I didn't know why but I was feeling more sad and hopeless at that time. Things were going good, I was doing fine in school and I'd just fallen in love with my future husband actually, but I just felt blah all the time. One day she asked, "Do you get much sunshine at the new house?" and I was like ".... no.... I don't." My place before had windows all over the living room that pointed sort of east, so I had very bright mornings and days there. My new house only had windows on the south side, and our neighbors' house on that side blocked what sun we would have gotten. Plus the windows were all very small...

I made point to get more sun, take more walks, and honestly that blah feeling pretty much went away after awhile, I stopped noticing it at all. So I kind of think that really does have an effect! I mean, I'd read about it and stuff, but after kind of experiencing it I feel like it's definitely not just a myth.

Nov. 9th, 2012 08:43 pm (UTC)
That's great! :D
That happened at my previous apartment - We only had one patio window, completely shaded from the upstairs patio, and the ones on either side, and another window, which looked out to the patio, which pointed south. That was the worst.
Nov. 9th, 2012 04:40 pm (UTC)
Also, that's great about maybe getting a PhD! I had a hard time with the one Psych class I took.

Edited at 2012-11-09 04:40 pm (UTC)
Nov. 9th, 2012 10:09 am (UTC)
Uh ... *hugs*
(If you were somewhere with a proper health care I would urge you to try other pill combos, because while I know that finding the right one is a painful process, I also know from people very, very close to me how much difference they can make. Alas ... So *hugs hugs hugs*)
Nov. 9th, 2012 04:41 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'm hoping the US will eventually get a good health care system soon.
Nov. 10th, 2012 05:03 pm (UTC)
Sympathy and empathy from me to you. As part of my own mental health drive, I recently promised myself I'd get 10 minutes of sunshine and 30 minutes of exercise a day. Which has been a rousing success! Apart from the small matter of having to get out of bed to do those things. And not showering even though I love to be clean. And not sleeping. And then doing nothing but sleeping. Like, whatever, Brains - Am I RIGHT?!
Nov. 10th, 2012 06:26 pm (UTC)
Ugh... For real! I've GOT to shower!! And I'm getting a sun lamp today. The weather has no business being cloudy on an otherwise nice day, unless it's storming. I love storms. But winter is bullshit here. Clouds non-stop for no reason >:(
Nov. 14th, 2012 01:36 am (UTC)
I read an article 'Beauty Tips for the Depressed' written (mostly tongue in cheek, obviously) by a depression sufferer and the line, 'For some reason, hot water is anathema to the depression sufferer' really resonated with me because it's SO TRUE. I'm always like - "But Brain! We LOVE smelling clean and looking nice! And we have a bath tub so Body doesn't even have to stand up!" and Brain is like, "Nuh." no matter how much I want to bathe.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )