I must admit, I’m feeling sorry for myself today. I’m seeing things that are “wrong” in life, and not a whole lot of what’s going well. Depression has me in its constrictive grasp, and while I know this to be true, I can’t help but feel like “why me?”. And I dislike this very much.
To be honest I have an amazing life. Things are far better now than they have ever been for me. What frustrates me is I continue to get off balance for seemingly no reason. Some psychosis here, a fair amount of mood disregulation there…I know, I know, it’s a cycle. That’s how my illness works. I’ve gotten familiar with my madness over the years, yet at the same time I feel surprised when I enter a rough patch. I wonder why I continue to be surprised. Things were going so well just a day or so ago…is like the anthem of my life.
I’ve been battling intrusive thoughts a lot lately. Since my last episode of psychosis, not too long ago, the symptoms still haven’t completely faded. I don’t exactly expect them to, yet I pretty much refuse to increase my Abilify more (but I most likely will end up increasing it just a bit). I can deal with this, I tell myself. I am dealing with it, too, but at times it seems just barely. The intrusions come and are difficult to ignore. Once again I don’t feel like tending my garden. What’s the point? My brain asks. My flowers are doing very well, but I feel my ability to care about my garden just slipping. What’s the point in doing chores? Dishes piling up, certain chores remaining not finished because I just feel like I can’t handle doing them today – or tomorrow, or the day after that. My appetite is up, due to depression, which means I’m snacking almost constantly. Which is of course causing me to gain weight again. My artwork is neglected for days at a time. I can’t remember the last time I even knit anything. Art used has always been my happy place, but now I simply don’t care.
The reasons I have refused to increase my Abilify so far seems fairly simple to me, but doesn’t really make sense to those around me. I don’t want to feel more exhausted, and I definitely don’t want to feel more out of it (which makes derealization far worse). I’m not certain Abilify causes those things, but these symptoms or side effects seem to have increased after raising that medication. On the other hand, I understand that mental illness wears me out, as it does for many others. Coming out (sort of) of a psychotic episode, into a brief period of sort of normalcy, into hypomania, and back down to depression with major intrusive thoughts – is exhausting in itself.
Since Abilify was originally marketed toward those with severe depression, perhaps it’s time for a small bump up. I’ll just need to be ok with that. It doesn’t make me a failure if I need an increase for a little while. Perhaps I’ll feel much better. That’s my hope.
Eventually, I’m sure I’ll come out of depression – like I usually do. I also ponder how long it might last, as if I have any control over that. My therapist says there are things I should try and do each day to help me stay healthy and productive; things that keep me feeling a sense of a normal routine, and a mental sense of wellness. Mostly these things include: basic hygiene, physical activity, art in some form, and journaling. I’ve tried keeping up with doing my tasks, but I’ll admit I’m having a rough time doing my usual things. It happens, I suppose, and that’s what depression does.
I’m trying to be grateful for the things I have in life. I’m trying to keep up a normal routine and get my standard chores done around the house. I’m trying to do my art. I’m trying. Sometimes I succeed, which is great. For now, I’m struggling through the days. And that’s ok. I remind myself that it’s fine to struggle, even though it doesn’t feel good. Having a hard time doesn’t make me bad, useless, stupid, lazy, or worthless…even though it absolutely feels like it does.
Intrusive thoughts are telling me not to garden, not to care, don’t do art, don’t do chores, or much of anything else. Don’t open your Etsy shop, your stuff isn’t good enough and won’t sell. Be disappointed in yourself, you suck, feel ashamed for who you are. Lay on the couch, in the darkness, like yesterday, alone.
But today, I’m going to try again. In my mind, the best I can do is try. The perfectionist in me is suffering, but I need to remind that part of me that I am trying. It’s the best I can do.
My message to anyone who needs to hear it today is that it’s ok to go through hard times, it’s ok to struggle, it’s ok to have down days. I hope if you are struggling today that you find hope and solace in at least one little thing. Hang on to that hope, that one good feeling, and cherish it.
Stay insane, friends