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: Bipolar Disorder
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.
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.
This is a partial portrait of what depression looks like: it’s just 8:00 p.m. and I’m in bed, avoiding my family because, frankly, I’m extremely depressed right now. Maybe it’s just part of my bipolar cycle, maybe it’s the stress of our financial troubles, maybe my blood sugar is out of whack again, maybe it’s my older daughter’s regular screamfests, maybe it’s fear that nothing is ever going to get better, maybe I hate my job, maybe I need different meds, maybe I’m still a little freaked out about my little one choking last night. Maybe I’m just feeling sorry for myself. I’m too tired to fight it and there’s no one to talk to here, so I’m in bed.
I want to rip my tongue out so I will never speak again, I want to stop these feelings, this trembling, the anger, the fear and please please don’t tell me I just need to pray and count my blessings because life is beautiful and only I can make myself happy. Just stop reading this right now if you think how I’m feeling is something I can just control without processing it and this is how I do that processing and maybe I should not do it publicly but I do and that is, yes, I realize, MY problem not yours, because you are so freaking in control of every feeling and reaction and oh yeah your life is prefect anyway! I’m sorry I’m not more like you!
I’m shaking, my heart is racing and as the anger and irrational hate I’m experiencing subside, the tears come and the children are being so loud, with my older child screaming at her little sister and I want to disappear. I don’t know who I am right now. Every thought crossing my mind is violent and toxic. I need a break or maybe something to break or maybe should not be living the life I’m living at all. And now I can’t stop crying. And in my tears are prayers too but I know many are still just going to judge me, maybe I’m evil, eh, because I’m not perfect, because there is something broken in me. There will never be a place on this earth where I fit in.