on depression

As most of you know, I struggle with bipolar depression. What most of you don't know, is that I've been living medication-free for the last 3 months, with the permission of my doctor. We (doctor and I) had come to the agreement that current medicative therapies weren't working, and we've gone through the gamut of what's available/what I can afford (as in, I cannot afford electro-shock therapy or the new magnetic therapy) so ...... why not stop all medication and see what happens. In my doctor's words, "The worse that can happen is you'll crash and burn."

At first, I felt .... euphoric. Then the panic attacks started. And slowly, my world has been caving in on me. I've soldiered on because frankly, starting a new med is not what I want to do. What I want to do is get better and hoped the depression would begin to lift / hoping for a little bit of bipolar mania to step in and save the day. As my luck would have it, my doctor is now doubting that I'm bipolar at all (as I've had no manic spells in the last two years.)

What does this mean for me? Well, I feel a little like Alice in Wonderland - I've fallen down into a deep rabbit hole and I'm not sure how to find my way out. Did Alice get embiggened? I'm not sure that will work for me.... But the signs are here: I skipped my last doctor's appointment, and then I called in sick to work today which I've NEVER done except for when the little one runs a fever.

This is what depression does, it carves the hope right out of you until there is nothing left but empty despair.

In "The View from Here" by Kay Redfield Jamison, she states,

Depression, which is bloodlessly, if accurately, described by the DSM as, “depressed mood or the loss of interest or pleasure in nearly all activities,” is more humanly conveyed by William Cowper, in lines he wrote after a suicide attempt:

encompass’d with a thousand dangers,
Weary, faint, trembling with a thousand terrors,
I, fed with judgment, in a fleshy tomb am
Buried above ground.

Kay also writes, "I have found a kind of solace in poetry that I cannot find elsewhere. Perhaps it is because poetry so astutely conjures moods; moods, in turn, have determined so much of my life;" (she is bipolar and a doctor)

So today, I want to share this poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. He describes how I'm feeling so poignantly:

Be near me when my light is low,
When the blood creeps, and the nerves prick
And tingle; and the heart is sick,
And all the wheels of Being slow.

Be near me when the sensuous frame
Is rack’d with pangs that conquer trust;
And Time, a maniac scattering dust,
And Life, a Fury slinging flame.

Be near me when my faith is dry,
And men the flies of latter spring,
That lay their eggs, and sting and sing
And weave their petty cells and die.

Be near me when I fade away,
To point the term of human strife,
And on the low dark verge of life
The twilight of eternal day.

~ from In Memoriam A.H.H.



Adullamite said...

We are near you when the light is low.

Hmmm ECT I do not like. It may remove depression but it takes other things also, and this is not, in my view, a cure. I wonder what is?

Gary's third pottery blog said...

Best wishes and hugs every day Mule :)

goatman said...

I first experienced, a few years back, a kind of gauzy curtain dropping in front of my eyes. A separateness from the nature around me, actually from any life around me, happened whilst driving -- I remember still the exact spot. Scared the hell out of me and I ,for some reason, needed to hear that someone besides myself had experienced this ;the symptoms didn't seem to exactly match depression. Some talk therapy and Prozac for a year fixed me so far. Chemical imbalance he said.
By the way, my psycologist/therapist lit into me once when I mentioned that I read a story (probably in The Sun) and told him that it really depressed me. He became what seemed like angry with me and told me to avoid the negative whenever it happened. Seems to work, although sometimes hard to do (especially when one attaches to a poem about depression!)

embiggened? . . . hey, you made that up

bulletholes said...

I'll be near ya Red; I am always as you are right at the tip of my thoughts every day.

gz said...

"and all the wheels of Being slow"

a more beautiful way of describing it than I've called it-"walking through treacle"


red dirt girl said...

@Adullamite~ Thank you for standing near! I agree about the ECT therapy, especially now that I've learned it doesn't always work.

@Gary~ I need those hugs! Thank you.

@goatman~ It helps to hear other people's stories- especially of getting better. That's what's hurting me the most right now, the doubt that it will ever change. Nothing depressive, eh... ummm...oops! I just wanted something to express more eloquently than I how I'm feeling. Embiggened - hahaha! I stole it from Soubry who stole it from someone else ....You know how the intertent works. Thanks, friend.

@cowboy~ Thank you, from my heart!

@gz~ Isn't that a perfect line? I like your image too, though 'treacle' isn't quite so common here. Thank you for the hug, friend!

To all: You've brought more tears to my eyes today, but in a good way, good tears. It helps to know I'm not alone in this and that people care. I tend to isolate when things go bad for me. I've re-scheduled that doctor's app't for next week and have fingers and toes crossed that it will be a new step in the right direction.

Hugs and kisses back.

J Cosmo Newbery said...

I don't suffer from it but, from those who do, I have heard no good.

red dirt girl said...

Thank you Cosmo!!