I crashed. Another wave hit me this month. I dealt with a mini-crash last week. I am cycling down. I’ve been hanging out in the big black hole.
All of above are terms I’ve used to describe what it feels like to be bottoming out while inside a depressive cycle. These terms describe the days or weeks or even months when I can’t talk to almost anyone or leave the house or write or read. Those are the days that suck. Those are the days when I wish I could just snap out of it or push through the pain that is random and meaningless and un-fixable. Those are the days I hate myself because I know that only time gets me to the shore after riding a depression wave.
Most of the summer, I’ve been functioning at a lower level than I would like. This is not unusual for me, like an atypical SAD (seasonal affective disorder). Summer always hits me hard because it is too hot down here for me and my skin does not like the sun (I get rashy). Cabin fever sets in rather quickly and I have mom guilt for not being able to do everything I would like with my children during the worst of the heated months. I also lost my therapist when she moved away earlier in the year and I hate looking for a new one, so I am missing an important part of my support system.
Sometimes, I get to see the crashes ahead of time … perhaps like seeing the light on the train before it hits me, but finding myself tied to the tracks with nowhere to go.
Sometimes, I’m hanging by a rope and being dipped into the big depression hole for short periods of time over and over again until I’m covered in the black goo that weights me down so much it takes longer and longer to pull myself back out again.
Other times, I skate along the edges of the hole so I can still see the outside world and appreciate it, even though I can’t quite reach it.
I can have good day here and there within a cycle. I can prep for an important event, party or meeting by babying myself before and after, perhaps with a little help from a half of a Xanax.
But there is a difference between a good day within an episode and being completely (if only temporarily) out of an episode.
It takes time to climb back out of the hole and that can be equally as frustrating as falling into one. I can feel better and have the drive to tackle new projects, but I have learned not to push myself. I used to jump right out and into all sorts of things. I would be in a rush to live and enjoy as many things as possible before the next crash. I would work in hyper-speed to fill my moments with everything. That always worked against me though and would only serve the next crash to come around more quickly and more brutally than the last.
I wish I had known in my 20s and 30s what I know now about the way my mind works. I wish I had understood that the wave always passes and that it won’t be long before I smile and do and breathe and live again. I wish I had known that it was okay that I am this way. I wish I had known that even though I have this illness, I am still a person and I am still worthy of everything that everyone else is worthy of. I wish I had known that this is just a disease like diabetes or any other and that with the right tools, I can make it work for me.
What are the right tools for you? What helps you to remember that you will come on the other side? What terms do you use to describe your cycles?
xoxo ~ Melissa