Depression – forecast cloudy, cool and drizzly?

Weather report from the dreary Northeast: cloudy, cool and gray with intermittent drizzles – a lot like the weather inside my head the past few days. Outside, they’re predicting a positive change, and tomorrow’s forecast promises a perfect spring day, sunny with temps in the seventies. I wish my mental state would brighten too, but I’m not at all sure.

I’ve written here before about my bipolar diagnosis, but from the perspective of someone who has it well under control with medication. Over the past several years, my disposition has been amazingly, predictably sunny.  Now that depression is rolling in like low cloud cover and fogging my brain, my impulse is to hide, to retreat into silence. Who wants to read a blog that’s basically a downer? Maybe you’ll read it and never return. If I can’t say something nice and cheery, better not to say anything at all, right?

Wrong. I’ve always been big on self-disclosure in this blog, and it would feel hypocritical to change now, so I’ve decided to go public with these feelings of depression. My novel  Mood Swing: The Bipolar Murders is all about transcending the stigma of mental illness, and sharing feelings is one way to go about it. The book’s protagonist Erika Norgren reveals her bipolar diagnosis on the 11 o’clock news, and when the book was published, I came out of the closet as well, to my enormous relief. I’m hoping that sharing my feelings here will have an equally therapeutic effect.

I’m a firm believer in the biochemical nature of manic depression, as some still prefer to call bipolar disorder, and I know medications work. A couple of months ago, my shrink tweaked my meds, changing one of them to something less apt to promote weight gain, but in retrospect, maybe that was a mistake. Yesterday, after taking to my bed for the afternoon, I was  alarmed enough to call him, and I’ll be seeing him soon, but he wants me to monitor my moods a little while longer rather than changing the meds too abruptly.

I could launch into a whole laundry list of things to be depressed about, but realistically, I have far more things to be grateful for. This kind of depression isn’t about rationality, though – that’s what’s so frightening about it. Images of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico come to mind – the toxic black muck keeps pouring up unstoppably from the depths.

Never fear, I have no intention of dragging you into my slough of despond on a regular basis. There’ll be cheerier postings in the days and weeks ahead, but I may occasionally offer progress reports on my mental status. Meanwhile, I feel like Tinker Bell in Peter Pan – my inspiration is flickering, and I don’t want it to die out. If you believe, it would be good to hear some applause right about now.

8 thoughts on “Depression – forecast cloudy, cool and drizzly?

  1. Clapping loudly here, Julie. I so get where you are at. I don’t have bipolar disorder, but I have battled depression several times in my life. It’s great you are acknowledging and talking about it. Hang in there. It will pass.

  2. Karen and Diane, thanks so much for your encouraging comments. Karen, you are an inspiration when it comes to self-disclosure in the blogosphere – you help give me the courage to be so upfront.

    I just read the latest blog post from a friend who’s in the Intensive Care Unit battling complications of pancreatic cancer – my own petty concerns pale in comparison, and I feel almost embarrassed to be kvetching about my mood swings.

  3. Thanks for sharing, Julie. I appreciate your honesty.

    Ijust finished reading Chosen Forever by Susan Richards. Her first book was Chosen by a Horse. I especially enjoyed reading her second book because of her deep honesty, her openness with her feelings. I recommend it to you. I do enjoy reading your blog and you are entitled and even encouraged to write about whatever is on your mind. Keep it up.

    • Thanks for the recommendation and for your encouragement, Betsy. I’ll add the book to my reading list. By the way, posting about my depression was very therapeutic, and I’m feeling better the past couple of days.

  4. Pingback: Mental Disorders 101

  5. Julie,
    I’m glad to hear you have been feeling better. I hope you continue to improve. If you want to get out of the house for a bit, or have a visitor, give me a call or email or Facebook nudge. Try going back to basics for a while: healthy food and water, a good night’s sleep, some walking in the sun, some fun TV. Give yourself a break for a while and don’t read or listen to news. And, yes, medications play such a large role in well-being. Keep searching for the mix that works for you. It’s out there somewhere. Don’t give up.

    • Thanks for the kind words, Therese, I’d love to get together! Your suggestions are excellent – especially taking a break. Today I spent an hour in the garden planting rainbow Swiss chard and it did wonders.

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