Monday, November 14, 2011

Story Time IV

I want to thank everyone for the comments and emails I have received. So many of you know exactly what I am talking about. I knew I couldn't be alone, maybe we tatters have even more in common than the love of knots.
I don't know why things like this are so hard to talk about. Maybe because mental illness is still not fully accepted by society, however, I know it is getting better all the time and that gives me a shred of hope. But I can't tell you how many times I've been in the company of someone talking negatively about a bipolar person they know. Of course they didn't know that I suffered from it also but I certainly wasn't going to trust them with any personal information after that.
I really envy people who wake up every day unencumbered by pain, hopelessness and/or despair. That is what I imagine "normal" to be. Now, I know everyone experiences all these things at some point in their lives, but I experience them every single day of my life to varying degrees, and sadly the bad days far outnumber the good ones. It is a constant battle to stay functional, even for the sake of my loved ones. I fight every day to be the very best mom and wife that I can be. It is exhausting and I often feel like I am behind the "power curve".
I have tried everything to "cure" myself. I've taken every supplement, exercised like a maniac, immersed myself in spiritual meditation and worship. I have volunteered my time, money and services to help those less fortunate than I. I eat well, I have never abused any substances, I don't even drink coffee or sodas. I've gone to therapy and faithfully taken prescription medications. I remind myself everyday of my blessings and have genuine gratitude in my heart. I try to get enough sleep. I honestly don't know what else I can do.
After all of these things, if this is the best I will ever be then I have to accept that but I am sad for myself.
I know for a fact that if I succumbed to substance abuse or other self medicating behaviors I would end up dead in a very short time.
The depression and pain that I constantly suffer from is holding me back from great things. On the rare days that I feel anything close to "normal" I accomplish SOOOO much. I really feel like I can take on the world, but as I said, those days are rare.
I guess I have finally gotten past denial about my condition and have (not so graciously) accepted that this will be a life long struggle for me. I will, however, keep searching for the thing that might give me some consistent and notable relief. I have even considered electric shock therapy.
This sharing of my thoughts and making myself vulnerable is my newest attempt and hopefully it won't blow up in my face. So far it has been positive.
My next installation will be surmises on cause and effect. That should prove to be pretty interesting.


connie said...

Dear Sherry
I'm sad for you. I love reading your blog and admire your bravery in revealing so much of yourself.
As for people who comment negatively in your prescence, I wonder how much they would learn if you mentioned (not that I'm suggesting you do.) that you suffer from bipolar disorder. I find that people who make ignorant comments usually do so because they are ignorant of the facts.
I hope someday you find relief,I have a feeling you will. I can't tell you how much it means that you make the Hurculean effort to try for your family,many would, could or just plain do not. Thank you for your story, your pictures, your beautiful colors and the heartwarming peeks at Miss P. They always bring me joy.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sherry
My husband has clinical depression (it's genetic in his family). The bravest thing is being true to yourself and getting the help that you need. He's always seeked the help (he had just gone back on medication when I met him after a bad depressive episode) he's needed but it's still been a long haul to find the right meds and to get in the right mind space to go to therapy. In his case, his brain doesn't physically process the chemicals properly so he'll be on meds for the rest of his life. We equate it to someone that's got diabetes where their body doesn't process insulin properly, it's a physical malfunction in the body so in both cases the person has to take medication to rectify it.

Keep forging ahead and if you haven't seen a psychiatrist then do so if you've got a chance as they are a "brain" specialist in how the brain functions vs your normal GP or a psychologist who deals with the "feelings" side more. They will be able to help get your meds right a lot better than a GP (unless the GP specialises in brain functions).

And his psychiatrist told him that since the mapping of the human genome the understanding of the brain function has come ahead massively. They've learnt in 5 years what had previously taking 20 years. This means there are better therapies and drugs coming out faster. He's now on a drug that does the same as his previous one but the body metabolises it differently meaning less side effects (which thankfully in his case are minor anyway, such as being tired).

What is "normal" anyway? You're not the same as me (which is a good thing for you!!!) but we're both loved for being us!

ps. People that meet hubby and then find out are always amazed and say they wouldn't know, this includes one of my long term friends (who could benefit greatly from getting help but won't admit to it). What is a depressed person supposed to look/be like!!?? He's really a lovely guy, plays chasey with my two young nieces (his nieces are older teens), loves his parents, laughs a lot etc etc, just a regular guy.

My thoughts and heart are with you.


Beelizabeth said...

My poor kids got the gene for depression from me and the gene for bi-polar from their dad. Three of the 5 ended up with depression and one bi-polar (and a severely depressed mother). Mine is under control, two have learned to compensate and one is working on finding a combination of therapies to control his- having other strange health conditions doesn't help, he had a procedure today that cured his heart condition. My bi-polar son is controlling his right now with daily exercise/work-outs. I did not know it was possible to get up every morning and feel happy. I had never known life without depression. I was lucky to find a combination that brought mine under control and I do get up actually feeling happy every morning.

Depression is much easier to treat than bi-polar but continuing to try is worth the effort. I still have effects that I have to live with, but I have learned to live with them. Learning to share some of your experiences helps others to learn more of what mental illness really is. The diabetes comparison is a good way to look at it. I had a therapist with a child born needing a heart transplant. She reminded me that my family's conditions were as potentially life threatening as her sons.

It took me a long time to finally find what worked for me but the personal strength and growth I gained from it was worth all of the pain- and sharing some of my experiences has helped others get the help they needed.

And keep sharing your art-- I'm a major fan!

Jane S. said...

Dear Sherry,

Depression and bi-polar ARE hard to talk about, especially when so many people think it's just a matter of "get over yourself already". Reading your story and reading the comments of others...well, it's like I'm reading about myself. The medication and exercise and sleep make it possible for me to get by.

But happy and content sure isn't the norm for me and hasn't been since I hit puberty and probably even before that. However I do have happy and content moments. They don't happen every day, but I am thankful for them and treasure them. They're usually remarkably simple moments, like hearing the dog snore or my kids laughing, or when I crawl into the flannel sheets at the end of the day.

The fact that you keep trying to find ways to help yourself is a hugely positive thing, I think. You are TRYING, and that is really important. Without trying, there can't be an improvement. With trying, there is always hope.

Thank you for sharing your story, I hope it helps you to find those precious happy and content moments. I don't know you but I think you are so talented, and you sound like a terrific person!

Big hugs.....

Jane S.

Gina said...

Hang in there! A dear friend of mine has not been so fortunate and is in the clutches of alcoholism as her way of dealing in spite of all the support and help available. It hurts me but I'm glad to see you continuing to make the effort to stay as healthy as you can.

Suztats said...

Wishing you continued strength to find a solution, and sending you hugs.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sherry
Australia makes a big thing of making sure depression is talked about and I forgot to mention this website in my previous comment.

I know you're in the USA and I don't know what sort of resources are available on the web but have a look at the website and hopefully you'll find useful stuff on it.

: )