At the age of 25, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. I had spent the better part of the previous decade fighting the monster inside of my head, the chemical imbalance that was unknown to me at the time. It is hard to describe what bipolar feels like to others; just as it is hard for me to imagine who I would be and how my life would have panned out if I was “normal”. The closest description I can think of to describe the experience of being bipolar is being so consumed with the depth and volatility of your emotions that you cease to live and instead spend all of your energy trying to survive moment to moment; trying to get through even the mundane and seemingly easy actions that make up your average day, all the while pretending to the outside world that you are fine.
At the moment, I am in the mid of a depressive episode. I want to give a play-by-play description of the feelings that sit in the pit of my stomach and the thoughts that are plaguing my mind. Perhaps this is unwice, sharing my thoughts and feelings in the vulnerable state that depression and the related sleep deprivation causes – that gray area between being awake and sleep. The broken barriers and poor judgment that ensues. Perhaps it's unwisely to share my innermost thoughts with the world at large, but I have decided to be unashamedly, un-apologetically, authentically me; hoping that an insight into my mind will create a greater understanding of my and so many others' match.
It's a bad place, the place that I am in. A vortex of darkness, a black hole that seems to crush every particle of light that comes within close proximity; a strong gravity that only contracts negativity. My mind is inundated with regrets, sadness, what-ifs and remorse. It does not seem to matter how hard I try to break through with positivity, this gravity crushes and obliterates the positivity into vapor that dissipates into the all consuming, all encompassing darkness. It is an exhausting and oftentimes futile process.
As tears stream down my face, I wonder how long this bout of depression. Will it be gone in the morning? Will this seemingly endless torture last a few days? How much time will elapse before I find myself back in this dark place? How many more times do I have to go through this cycle?
Now I feel nothing; I am numb. Or sometimes it is something, my brain is too foggy and my eyes are too heavy to analyze it any further. I am too exhausted with battling these thoughts to attempt to try and work my way through these awful feelings. “This too shall pass”, I assure myself. Experience has taught me that it will pass, but then it will also return.
By mid-afternoon today, as I felt my world darken and experienced the beginning of the symptoms of depression, I knew that tonight would be hard. I was hoping that I would sleep through the night, avoiding those perilous-sleep-deprived late hours of the night / early hours of the morning. The hours where fatigue weakens me and I balance precariously on the edge of sanity, where the slightest push can be the catalyst that sends me catapulting over the edge. These are the hours where there is nothing to divert my attention and occupy as much of my brain as I can to try to minimize this evil force. I also have a sadistic enjoyment of this state, the black hole of depression tries to lure me deeper in, pulling me towards its singularity. I have a need to feel pain. Perhaps it is me punishing myself for my perceived transgressions that my mind is currently torturing me with. I call this threshold “the point of no return”. Once here, I am no longer able to go back., I just have to grit my teeth, hold on, brace myself and survive the rollercoaster ride.
So there it is, a brief insight into my bipolar mind during one of my dark hours.