Most of the time, these days, I feel stable. My life’s far from perfect, but I make through each day, smile, laugh, and survive.
It wasn’t always the case. The combination of medications I’m taking seem to greatly level my mood, rising me about the unsurmountable depression that would so often take me. The depression that threatened to destroy my life.
Understand—when I speak of depression, I don’t mean feeling sad, or dejected, or down in the dumps. I don’t mean the sadness of a break-up, or the loneliness of being the misfit at a party. Without discounting these emotions—which are, of course, perfectly valid—I’m talking about the soul-crushing, unbearable darkness that drags you into the depths of a fathomless ocean, where the light of day is drowned and the voices around you fade into meaningless babble. I mean capital-D Depression, that spiteful demon that comes upon you for absolutely no reason at all, sinks its fangs into your subconscious and refuses to let you go.
I have spent days in bed, unable to physically move. I have driven down dark streets at night, fighting the temptation to drive into a lamppost. I have wished for death more times than I can count. My arms are littered with scars that I can’t hide from even my work colleagues.
And of course, as if this wasn’t enough, this would alternate with periods of violent emotion, sleepless nights, writing dozens of pages a day and knowing that eventually, I would crash and burn all over again.
This is life with bipolar, and it is hell.
As I said, I’m working on it. I see my psychiatrist once a month, refill the meds, and hope that each month that goes by brings with it increased stability. I’m better than I’ve ever been in my life.
But sometimes, the black dog reappears. Sometimes, when I’m home alone, or in the middle of the day, a shadow steals across my mind and I swear I see the light of day grow dim. Then, all I can do is retreat to comfort of a warm bed, knowing that I’m inconveniencing my family, making life harder for those who work with me, and doing it anyway despite the guilt and the shame.
And on these days when I am trapped and unforgivable, I remember the old days, and my connection to the depression is rekindled. Because as the author of a book that is entirely about depression, I worry that I’m losing touch with that life, with that reality. I worry, because I realize there are millions of fractured souls in the world that need to know they’re not alone, that their suffering is not in vain. And in some small way, I hope that I can give that to them.
If you are reading this and understand the suffering I’m talking about, reach out. Tell someone, leave a comment, and touch another life. Because as heavy as your heart is, you have the power to carry the weight of another’s, for just a moment—and it might just save a life.
Just don’t stay in the dark, alone. I’ve been there, and I know what it’s like. I’m here for you, and so are others.