I’ve been in a mixed state for the past couple of weeks (that’s hypomania combined with depression – not sleeping, high anxiety, awful irritability) and I’m exhausted but I’m also going to be okay. It’s in the knowledge that this feeling passes that has shown me God’s love this week.
Category Archives: Mental Illness
Selfish because energy is lacking? Because tears too readily fall? Back off with your loose lips flapping, If you’ve heard one you’ve heard ’em all. It’s easy to judge from outside the disease, Point fingers and offer advice, Maybe, just maybe, stop your ignorance please, Your judgment comes at a price. The price you pay you’ll come to see Is stigma perpetuated, friendship wilted, Don’t tell me what is wrong with me, I won’t be bullied, I won’t be guilted. Depression is not selfish. Take heed. Depression is disease NOT choice, It’s not uneducated opinions I need. If you’re my friend, then hear my voice! No one would wish to feel this way! So kindly keep your wisdom to yourself, Be mindful of the words you say. Do your research; I’m too tired to explain to someone else.
I can speak only to what I know of the subjects of poverty and mental illness. I’m sure studies have been done regarding the link between the two, but this isn’t about those studies. Nor do I mean to imply that people who are middle class or wealthy cannot have mental illnesses. It happens, I know, across all demographics. However, I do question the link between chronic, persistent mental illness and not having enough money to meet basic human needs. I, at least, have a job and insurance so that I can see a doctor and afford my medications, and somehow, with the help of food pantries, help from family and payday loans (a very poor solution, that one, but sometimes necessary when you run out of gas money or toilet paper before payday). My anxiety level has been so high almost constantly for the past few years. If you’ve never struggled to provide for your family, you may not understand. If you’ve never had a panic attack, you may not understand. Right now, even with the medication for anxiety and for depression (because, though I have bipolar disorder, I’m depressed much more often than I am manic), I’m not myself and not really sure who that self is anymore. I wanted better for my children than this. I grew up poor. You’d think I’d be used to it, right? Even as a child, I worried about money, rarely asked for anything because I didn’t want my parents to feel bad that they couldn’t afford something that wasn’t a necessity. I cry myself to sleep. I am trying so hard to be a good person, a good wife and mother and a good provider. I am trying so hard to trust that God’s providence covers us too, but at this moment, having to choose gas for the car so I can go to and from work over buying groceries, I feel like a failure. On top of the anxiety and depression, there is the poverty. Poverty is full of fear for me. It is also full of shame because as much stigma surrounds it as surrounds mental illnesses. I am just a person. I like to laugh, I love my family and if I could just be happy, I would. I often wonder, if I wasn’t always feeling like I’m walking on a thin, almost invisible line between having enough and not having enough, would I still have panic attacks? Would I still cry myself to sleep and be so easily irritated that I feel as though I’d be better off alone? I can’t answer those questions. I can only repeat that I am just a person, like anyone else.
Some people seem to want me to be ashamed of myself for having bipolar disorder, thinking I should hide it from the world. Some think if I have a problem I should always keep it to myself. Some think they are better than I am because I don’t have money. Some think because I’m not perfect, I’m not a Christian. Some think, well whatever they think, and I’m trying not to care but I feel like there is no one on this earth who understands. I feel so alone. I feel betrayed. I feel hurt… oh but shhhh, there I go again, being open. Why do I bother? Maybe all of those someones are right and I’m worthless because I’m poor and mentally ill and not perfect. I’m just too exhausted to care anymore! I don’t want all this hurt, all this worry. I need a break.
I failed in many ways as a human today. It’s no excuse, but the antidepressant I take had become ineffective, so my doctor increased my dose; one side effect happens to be anxiety, with which I already live and for which I’m taking two medications. In my case, anxiety translates into two things primarily: paranoia or extreme irritability. Today irritability was the main course. I reacted, or rather overreacted, very poorly to everything today. Okay, not everything. As long as I forced myself to focus on my reaction, I was okay. Unfortunately, I didn’t focus very well today. In others’ patience with my awfulness and in the knowledge that tomorrow is a new day and I can choose to be more mindful and in control of my reactions, I feel the reassurance of God’s love.
For anyone who has ever questioned why I’m open about my struggles… this sums it up. If someone out there can see my struggles and relate, and see that even in the struggle, you can have hope and try to be positive – or even if knowing about my issues helps just one person not feel so alone, then I will continue to be open and honest about living with bipolar disorder, anxiety, etc. I am not alone. My thoughts and feelings just ARE, neither good nor bad. My life is far from perfect but it’s mine and I will never judge another because he or she doesn’t hide behind a mask of “everything is wonderful” or because he or she isn’t successful in the eyes of this society.