This is dedicated to my mom who loved me and stood beside me when I was horrible to her. I will never be able to thank her enough for how she has been there for me and believed in me. I love you, Mom.
This is my personal story of experiencing severe depression after full blown mania at the age of sixteen.
For two weeks straight every emotion I ever had, came exploding out of my body. I was the full emotional spectrum all at once. And no one ever knew what they were going to get and much of it was aimed at my mom. My family was playing Russian roulette with a ticking time bomb made of their own flesh and blood. After multiple explosions, I finally depleted myself. And it was over. It was as though the lights went out and the mania that I had grown to love, before it got really nasty and ugly, was over.
The transition between mania and depression happened in my sleep during a nine hour car ride home from what was supposed to be a vacation.
I remember being like Satan’s spawn in the beginning of the car ride, wanting to buy a vicious dog so I could have it sick my mom. But by the time we arrived home. I was weak and quiet. Something put out my raging fire and I knew that what came next was not going to be good.
I went to sleep that night and woke up feeling like I was unable to move, but my body still worked good enough. All the emotion I had was gone. I felt nothing. Feeling nothing is the most horrible feeling ever.
It kept getting worse. I couldn’t think enough words to put a thought together, let alone express myself. It was like my brain was dead. However, I had the awareness of what was happening to me. It was like I was floating over myself, watching myself go through this but unable to do anything about it. If I could have hope, I probably would have hoped for someone to pull the plug or shoot me.
I believe two weeks went by in this state until Zooloft kicked in and my lithium was starting to work, maybe.
As Zooloft began working, I began to feel the fear and pain of depression.
I felt tremendous guilt for how I treated my family, particularly my mom, during my mania. I was horrible to her and wanted to hurt her badly. I feared that they would not love me anymore.
Then more shame and guilt hit me like a brick by blaming myself for grandmother’s death that occurred when I was thirteen because the night she had her final stroke, I resented her and wished she would go away so I could have my bedroom back. And I felt horrible for running away when my mom had cancer (at the same time my grandma died), when she needed me the most. All these feelings of powerlessness flooded me. I was swallowed by shame and guilt as I was coming out of this deep depression that was worse than death. Now that I could think, I couldn’t even think of reasons why I should live.
At that time I had forgotten about all the things that I did during my mania to my friends, teachers and in front of my peers at school that I could be held accountable for. I was lucky, people treated me with curiosity and kindness. I lost some close friends, but my best friend stood by my side (even though during mania I told him he needed to get me pregnant because our child would be the messiah….but that’s for another time and that story is on my websites).
Nonetheless, the medication started to work and I was able to get off the couch little by little. I didn’t admit this to my mom until I was an adult, but what saved me from this depression was her forcing me to go to summer school to take a creative writing class. I loved creative writing, but had no desire to do anything at the time.
I sat in that class with my cheek glued to the desk writing beautiful poetry about the ocean and doodling. When people asked me what’s wrong, I announced to the class, “I am crazy.”. No one knew how to respond to that, so they just gave me my space.
As the days passed, my face became less glued to the desk. I moved onto resting my face on my fists and eventually as my medication lithium fully kicked in I was able to sit up and participate in class.
This is quite embarrassing to admit, especially when I feel comfortable sharing a lot of stuff openly. Of all things, a multi-level marketing opportunity selling long-distance phone service deeply excited me and triggered me into a mild hypomanic state that lifted me completely out of the depression and stabilized me in that state. As the consequence of investing myself for a few years into a get rich scheme (that I will never do again), I began the process of re-building myself by immersing myself in personal growth books (I refused therapy because I hated therapy…even though I am a therapist now) (I’ll share more about these experiences in another blog down the line.)
Too this day, I will do anything I possibly can to prevent a manic episode, even though I can’t even put words to how amazing my full blown manic episode was….the depression was so bad, that the most beautiful experience I have had in life (not the nasty part of mania) is not worth it.
I hope sharing my own story of living with Bipolar Disorder is useful.