Plane Reflections

A tale of two cities almost. Here I am, flying away from one, filled with pain, suffering, and uncertainty. To another, that has its fair share of pain. But things there were certain, things made sense.

Things are different between the two cities. Both how they look, their feel, and my lives in them. My friends are different in the two cities, my families are different. But at this point, I don’t know what to expect. I feel more free at home, things are familiar in that city, comfortable too. In this new city, I feel trapped, the towering mountains almost feel like they are closing in, my escape has become my captor. I am uncomfortable, constantly on edge, feeling like i’ll snap at any second.

But is it just me? Is it just my moods? Do I just need to weather the storm? Will the clouds part and the sun begin to show its face if I give it a chance?

I’ve discovered recently that I have been questioning everything in my life. It used to feel like everything was certain, where I was and where I was heading. But now I second guess everything, my life, my goals, my moods, and most of my decisions.

Coming to terms with this illness has been one of the hardest things I’ve done. Who am I, and what is my illness, what do I want to do with my life? How much longer will I make it? When will I crash again? These are all things I ponder, and that I really don’t have the answers to.

I feel like im still picking up the pieces after my most recent episode. Living in denial isn’t going to cut it. So how do I accept it?

Bipolar is a very tricky thing. It’s centered around uncertainty, something I hate. Meds are a guessing game, you never know when another episode is going to hit. There isn’t even much certainty about the illness itself. Its not physical, its in your head. You don’t know for certain. They say seeing is believing, if you see something its there, its visible and tangible. So if you can’t see it, is it even there? Obviously its there but for some reason its so hard to believe. Sometimes I look in the mirror or at a picture of myself and thing, wow, bipolar, I don’t look bipolar, but it doesn’t look like anything. Its all in my head and it could be anyone, which is so hard to grasp. Its not a broken leg or anything, its not tangible, but that doesn’t mean its not there. Which is something I need to keep reminding myself.

Who am I? That’s a question who’s answer will always be changing. But for now, it goes something like this. I am a caring person, I love my friends so deeply, I am a loveless romantic, I am a photographer and an adventurer. Things won’t always be easy with this mental illness, its hard to accept that this will be an issue for the rest of my life, but I’ll figure it out as I go.

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What going off my meds taught me

Long story short? It was a bad idea.

I quit the meds because I was angry that they weren’t working, nothing was working, so obviously I just had to snap out of it, right?

The first few weeks were fine. I actually felt a little bit better too. A bit less depressed, things were looking good. I didn’t feel insanely great or anything but the depression wasn’t quite as suffocating. And with that, I was filled with hope that the diagnosis was wrong, that it was just a phase and I could get out of it on my own.

The crash was sudden, it coincided with going back to college (something that I wasn’t really looking forward to). Things went from being okay to a full panic in, as my old roommate would say, a hot second. At first I just thought that it was the initial “I’m back at school and I don’t want to be here” panic, and that I would get over it. But the weeks went by and it persisted, and it got worse. Soon my depression was as suffocating as ever, I was exhausted, unmotivated, and terrified of my own mind. My anxiety also increased dramatically, everything terrified me. Little things would cause me to curl up in a ball in my closet and scream silently into a pillow. I fell back on my old coping habits of self harming, and did so more than I ever had. The future scared me, hell the next day scared me.

I’m no stranger to suicidal thoughts, but I had never experienced anything like this, or if I did I had forced it out of my memory. It was terrifying, the persistent stream of thoughts, 24/7. I tried to stop them but I couldn’t, and at a point I just gave up. I let them wash over me and fester in my mind. In the past, when I was suicidal, I would always tell myself that I wouldn’t do it because I had family to live for. But this time, these thoughts drowned all of that out. I started thinking about how I was going to do it, who I was going to write suicide notes to. I knew there were people who would be devastated if I killed myself. I knew my mother wouldn’t be able to live with herself. But I couldn’t do it anymore, any of it, I had to make the suffering end, and there was only one way out. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t see reason, I couldn’t do anything, and I wanted it to be over.

I don’t know who it was that convinced me, probably my therapist and a couple of my friends, but they convinced me to see a counselor here to see a doctor to get back on meds. Everything seemed so hopeless, there was no way meds could pull me out of this, it was all me and I either needed to tough it out and get better or just do the world a favor and kill myself.

My old doc put me back on Lithium when I was home from break. It actually took me a few days to start taking them again. I couldn’t imagine it helping and I didn’t want to go back on meds, because that meant that I was weak and couldn’t deal with my shit on my own. But reluctantly I started taking them. I think my viewpoint was along the lines of “well it can’t get much worse.”

After a couple weeks back on the Lithium I met with a doctor at my university for a psych eval. I was secretly hoping that he would say that I wasn’t mentally ill and it would just get better and I wouldn’t have to worry about it again, or that it wasn’t bipolar but plain ol depression. But, at the end of the session he agreed with the bipolar diagnosis and added Seroquel to the mix.

When I left the appointment I just felt truly numb and sad. I don’t want to have bipolar, I don’t want to deal with this for the rest of my life, I don’t want to have to take meds for the rest of my life just to feel normal. One part of me said that it’s true and I just need to accept that i’m bipolar and get better, but the other part of me kept saying that I just have to suck it up, my hypomania isn’t even that bad anyway, I just need to snap out of it. The latter has been the destructive inner monologue that I’ve had on repeat for years. Acceptance is a very treacherous road that I hope to reach the end of soon.

But now about a month after I got back on the meds, things are getting better. About 3 weeks after I started the Lithium my suicidal thoughts pretty much disappeared and my anxiety has also lessened. Things are by no means perfect yet, i’m still depressed and anxious, but it is a hell of a lot more manageable than it was a month or so ago. I’m picking up the pieces too, I had to drop a couple of classes which could have implications when I transfer, I’m doing terribly in my Calculus 2 class and I have to bring up my grade a lot, which is very stressful. I’m trying to spend more time with the people who I isolated myself from when I wasn’t doing well. But I’m trying to not beat myself up when i can’t do things because of my depression, which is a difficult task. I am also trying my best to work towards accepting my bipolar diagnosis, so we’ll see where that takes me.

However, all of this answered one of my questions that I had this summer, it turns out the lithium was doing something when I quit it. Whats sad is even now I doubt whether it is actually the lithium thats helping or if I’m just lifting out of this on my own.

Things went south.

I’m sure it could have been worse, but its definitely been the worst depressive episode i’ve experienced. I have zero focus (it’s taken me days to write this crappy post). My memory is complete shot. I am the most depressed I have ever been in my life and the most suicidal i’ve ever been. I always figured that I wouldn’t act on any of my suicidal thoughts but man was I close this time. I was/am definitely at the point where I don’t care about my life at all. Eh I could go on and on but my focus is very slim.

Seeing a counselor and a doctor here and am getting back on my meds. The new doctor agreed with my 1st doctors bipolar diagnosis so I guess I kind of have to take it seriously now, or at least try to accept it and stop convincing myself that its a fluke. 😦 This is going to be difficult.

I just need to find something that works.

Microscopic Dot

The world is small from up here
The mountains, merely bumps in the landscapes
The rivers, slithering through canyons and plains
The lakes, simply puddles of the most valuable resource

I should feel large up here, on top of the world?
But I simply feel even smaller
Looking out at the vast curvature of the globe
A microscopic dot to the world below.

On edge

To be completely honest, its been a pretty shitty few weeks, there have been some highlights but overall some of the worst weeks I’ve had in years. I can’t think of much to say but I thought I would share this realization.

I spent the last few days around a lot cliffs. Each time I would stand on the edge, as close as I could, wondering if I could do it. Jump. But I realized that I wasn’t quite ready to jump off a cliff, that I do have things to live for. And as difficult as it may seem some days for me to realize, i’m not quite ready to go.

So I guess thats good? I just have to keep trudging along, one day at a time.

cliff nowm-07280

8/4/15

4am
off we go
chatting with security
practically running to the gate

smiles and excitement
as we gain altitude
knowing the beach
is just hours away

I wonder if you knew
that as soon as we took off
your goal
was to never come back

7/24/15

You got out
20 days later
Longer than expected

It didn’t help much with the thoughts
but now this is more serious
and you can get the help you need

I know you weren’t doing well in that hell hole
but it was almost better for me
when you were there

Less stress and worrying about you ever minute
terrified that you would kill yourself
and I wouldn’t be able to stop you.

We talked
and I knew you weren’t much better
but I held out hope that being out would help

But I realized
that you being out
meant more stress for me

I knew you were still suicidal
but I didn’t know what else to do
and I wanted to help you so desperately.

(forgot to post this on the day, oops)