Emerging from the fog of depression is not the most enjoyable experience. You awaken to the weeks or months where you let everything slide, everything slip, everything move forward without you. You awaken and realize you don’t know who you are anymore or if you can even find that person again. And then the fog finally dissipates completely and you are relieved, awestruck that yes indeed you are in fact still here and still you.
It shouldn’t surprise me that the only way I was able to clear this fog was to start up medication again. I am a textbook bipolar case. I have debilitating symptoms that make life miserable. I start up medication to improve the symptoms. The symptoms magically get better and so I convince myself I don’t need the medication anymore. I then stop said medication, and over the course of time I find myself struggling with the same debilitating symptoms. You would think after three cycles of this process over the past decade I would realize that medication is the only thing keeping me stable over the long run. Sure I do have enough coping mechanisms to help me. After all I have managed the past three years without a major relapse but I have been clinging to the day to day by the skin of my teeth. And clinging is never a fun way to live. It is not really living and those close to me can see it and see how the depression swallows me. Changes me for the worst. Leaves me as a hollow shell.
So I turned back to medication and guess what – I am slowly finding myself again. Slowly finding that I am motivated to do things outside of scrolling through the phone or flipping through Netflix shows. Finding myself smiling at the blooming trees and enjoying other people’s company. This time my therapist is telling me to write about my experiences more so when the time comes (and it will) where I feel like I don’t need the medication anymore, I can look back and see that actually we have already been down this road (several times) and there is no need to repeat it.
When the fog lifts I seem to have this desire deep down to educate and eradicate stigma associated with mental health. Likely because I find I finally have the energy to think about such things. However, I still don’t know how that looks to me but writing is the best start. I enjoy writing and feel drawn to use it towards the benefit of others. I am not the greatest editor or creative writer as I am a researcher and scientific writer by trade but it brings me enjoyment. Most of the time I don’t blog or write either due to the depressive episodes or because the perfectionist in me is screaming that no one will bother to read unless it is pulitzer prize worthy writing. This is something I need to get over, so as part of my therapy homework to write more I am going to use this platform to do just that. Regardless of content or perfectionism. The shift needs to start with writing for myself and then just maybe I can broaden and write more directed for others. Maybe I can actually turn that accountability post from January into action. It amazes me how depression steals your time. Three months just went by and it was all a blur.
Stay tuned. I plan on writing about my experiences with medication and my current ramp up. No two people are the same when it comes to neurochemistry but being silent about our experiences helps no one. Even if this post only reminds someone to take their meds for the day I will be happy. Cheers to a sunny start!