Sunday, June 27, 2010

I know who is on first and what is on second….I just don’t know why…

(I have been working on this post on and off for months—just couldn’t seem to get it right enough to post. But decided to finish it up and just DO IT. If nothing else it will provide a little insight into one of the reasons why I am such a sporadic and spastic blogger. WARNING--This is a very long,rambling, therapeutic for the writer, only partially funny-- kind of post and there are no pictures. Proceed at your own peril…)

Hi, I'm Lisa and I'm clinically depressed and occasionally do the cha-cha with that bad boy Mr. Bi-Polar, and I've been chemically balanced (or some version thereof) for 15 years.

"Hi, Lisa"

I'm a member of AA (Attitude not alcohol--sheesh) , AAA, and Citizens for a More Chemically Balanced Future or CFACBF for short. {bless you}

Which taken all together, (the information, not the medication, okay—maybe the medication too) makes me a blast to have around at parties but not so much on a day to day basis.

I hear voices in my head all the time. Not the scary, change your personality, sounds like "Gollum", Sally Fields, kill the messenger kind of voices.

More of just the me, myself and I version.

Myself & I tend to fight and argue with one other which only serves to frighten and confuse me. Me thinks that the recriminations should be shared but really I has only myself to blame. On the up side, I is never lonely and myself always has second opinion for me. On the down side, they never seem to invite common sense to join us and motivation threw up it's hands and left a long time ago. Also, I has had to learn the hard way, that only myself can hear me and vice versa. I has also had to learn that when someone says, "Talk amongst yourselves" that just sitting there is unacceptable--I must turn to another human being and say something out loud. And just because someone says, "Be quiet so I can hear myself think", it does not necessarily mean that they are a kindred spirit who can also "hear" the voices. Furthermore, I would like to speak to the religious issue (we are a member of The LDS Church) of "listening to the still small voice". Seriously, people, you need to be a LITTLE more specific.

I am blogging about this for several reasons:

1. I don't want there to be any confusion about who I am. (Obviously there is enough confusion bouncing around in my head already) Mental illness is as real as diabetes or the common cold, and it affects millions of people. (except I don’t think the guy with the cold has nearly as much fun going on in his head as I do.) And I am ever so tired of people telling me that “You are about as happy as you make your mind up to be”. Do you tell someone with diabetes that they are about as insulin resistant as they make their mind up to be??!! Seriously people. On good days, happiness IS a choice but when I swing on over to the “dark side” and the chemicals in my brain are bouncing between every neuron but the ones they are supposed to, I can’t even remember what happiness ever felt like and even if I could remember—I am certain that I have never done anything in my life that would make me worthy to be happy. The “dark side” feels like I have a ton of bricks on my chest and an emptiness in my soul that will never be filled. In that dark place I can remember every stupid/wrong thing I have ever done but not what it felt like the last time I touched joy.

(An aside about medication. Everyone has an opinion. Blah, blah, blah. I have one too—but only about how it works for me. The meds do tend to make me feel “muted”. But since I am no Beethoven or Van Gough with great talent to suppress—I am okay with that. It took me awhile to mentally adjust to living life in the middle lane. The massive mood swings were my “normal”. Some days I miss the “highs” but not one day have I ever missed them bad enough to take the chance of swinging that low again.)

2.I have just recently come to grips with the fact that....

THIS. IS. IT.

It's not going to get better. There will always be days that my heart, mind and soul are so irrationally saturated with despair that the only reason I get out of bed and function through the day is because of my children. Those are the days that I mentally duel with that most ugly and oily of voices that alternately screams and whispers that I should just give up--that my children would just be better off without my presence here on earth.

BUT.......
THANKFULLY.....

Just as irrationally, relief comes and the darkness and all its minions slink away and my heart, mind and soul welcome the light again.

They (the doctors, not the minions) made me a lovely cocktail of medication and told me to just hang in there and hope for the day it would end.

And so I hoped. Each time I got knocked down, I got up again and hoped that was the last time. I prayed for hope and looked and watched for reasons to hope. I changed doctors, I changed medications.

Then about 5 years ago, I just stopped getting back up. It seemed like it would just save time and effort to stay down. What kind of idiot keeps running into the ocean when someone says, "Hurricane's coming"?!

There was obviously something inherently wrong with me. Something that disqualified me for any kind of deliverance or redemption. Acceptance of the obvious seemed so reasonable, so much more peaceful.

I still functioned in my daily life but the phrase- living quiet lives of desperation- began to have a new, deeper meaning. But instead of finding greater peace, all I found was cynicism and increased pain. I was without direction, unsettled.

Recently, I have found myself (for no apparent reason) feeling like, once again, I am exiting this dark tunnel of hopelessness. My meds have not changed nor have my prayers. I am filled with warmth every time that I consider that this might just be a “tender mercy”. A reprieve of sorts. I do not think my road will ever be free of tunnels but I do think I am achieving a greater ability to enjoy all aspects of my journey.

So, to my future descendants, those who have, unfortunately, been called to carry on my genes-- I will leave this page in my journal for you.

Always get back up! This battle will never be won from a horizontal position. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt (which is sometimes a little tricky when my brain is swinging wide) that your mortal body might be broken but your spirit is not. Some days you may only, just barely, remember which way is up. Pull yourself up, keep heading in a general “up” direction, up is the ticket. I pray that my belief in the hereafter will be proved correct and I will be able to whisper in your ear and be that push that lifts you up in your darker moments.

Words on paper do not seem to carry enough weight to put power behind my words so take a moment and write them on your heart—so you can carry them with you and know that you are loved.

18 comments:

Garden of Egan said...

I love you.
I have been thinking about you.

Thank you for sharing. You have no idea who you may have helped because of your raw honesty.

DeNae said...

I had already decided to say "Welcome back!" when I saw that you had posted. I'm still saying it.

I went through 8 long, undiagnosed years with the depression thing. Never had to deal with the bi-polar thing but have seen it up close and personal and have nothing but compassion for anyone fighting that dragon.

There were years when I truly worried what I would use for motivation once my kids were all grown up. I don't worry about it as much but a little of the fear still lingers.

I'm with you: You take the meds, you plug along, you find a way to make it all work.

And you remember that you are not alone. Never alone. There are more of us out here than you realize, and we are there for you.

Welcome back, dear friend.

MiMi said...

This is a wonderful post!
I have to be on meds for my "attitude" too. I'm not bi-polar but I'm ocd and anxious and all kinds of nasty things.
This is very important to blog about...people HAVE to know that mental illness and chemical problems are JUST as important as a "real" disease. It's time that this has overcome the stigma!!

annie said...

Oh Lisa. Because I know you I hear your voice when I read your posts and this one came out loud and clear! I love your honesty about a tough subject. I'm glad you're on the upswing. I miss hearing from you. LOVE YOU!

Sue said...

Beautifully expressed, Lisa. I have a son who is bipolar, and I have seen in him the very struggle you describe. Like you, he lives courageously and copes as well as he can.

It's great to see you back.

Hugs.

=)
Sue

Cherie said...

It was courageous for you to post this. I happen to know with all my heart this is a real and very hard thing to deal with.
I don't have it, but people I love do and it is hard to help sometimes - You just want to hug them until they feel better. It doesn't work.
My heart goes out to you! It is definately a battle but I can tell you are learning from it too.

I feel love for you {{{Hugs}}}}!

Cherie

Cheeseboy said...

In my brief interactions with you, I had no idea that you were going through this daily. I guess, why would I?

I'm glad that things are getting better for you. I have to say, through years of depression, you have managed to keep your sense of humor. That is amazing and excellent all at once. Maybe your depression has shaped your sense of humor, but I am glad you still have it and hope you never lose it.

As for the "still small voice", Perry Como once made an album called "A Still Small Voice"... so now when I listen for it, I listen for Perry's voice. So far, no luck.

tammy said...

I'm sorry you have to deal with this. I dealt with depression after having my first baby. It was more than the baby blues, and lasted about a year. I know what it feels like when people tell you to snap out of it, or you try to tell yourself to snap out of it. It doesn't work. Those chemicals mix-ups in your brain make it impossible without some help. And I would get so mad when I'd hear people say things like "Oh, my wife doesn't have time to get depressed, she's too busy". Like it's a choice! Anyway, know that you're not alone.

Annette Lyon said...

Thank for posting this. I wish more people understood not only the nature of mental illness but how huge it is when someone continues to get up and move and fight in spite of it. That is the greatest courage and strength around, and not enough of those who suffer get credit for it.

DesertHen said...

Sometimes we have to travel through those dark tunnels to see the light on the other side! You are not alone..not for one second! (((((BIG HUGS))))

imbeingheldhostage said...

Such a fantastic post-- the 'months' it took to prepare it was worth it!
“You are about as happy as you make your mind up to be” yes!! I HATE that. People who have not been there do NOT understand. You worded it perfectly.

I'm so glad you wrote this. I think it helps when you have readers with the same problem that instantly internalize your silence into, "What did I say? Do?"

Princess of Everything (and then some) said...

This breaks my heart for you. Please do not give up. Please keep taking your meds. Please keep believing.

Find you a really good chiropractor and see if they can help some.

Jess said...

That was very brave and strong of you to put yourself out there like that. You amaze me. And selfishly I'm glad you're back, cause you're insanely (poor choice of words I know) hilarious!

Nikki said...

This was really great to read. My brother has bi-polar disorder. And for several years now, he's been off all medications. It's been scary to watch him as his family has almost disintegrated.

After experiencing post-partum depression and then with my last pregnancy post-partum anxiety, I am even more aware and sensitive to the chemical imbalances others struggle with as well. In the deepest darkest hours of the post-partum anxiety I felt like I was inside this crazy body trying to get out. My husband refers to it is as the day I lost all touch with reality. It's scary.

I think one of the great things that has worked for my brother in the past, and also works for me, is keeping a journal. And the great thing about blogging is, it's kind of like a journal. You'll be able to look back at this post, as will your children, and draw strength from it.

Wow I really rambled. Just always know that the Lord loves you and the atonement is for you too. :)

karen said...

I don't know you (came across your blog from Sue) but we have a son who suffers from bipolar disorder and OCD. I didn't know much about mental illness before, but what an education I've gotten in the last 3 years! I've come to find out that there are lots of people out there who completely understand, and are a huge wealth of knowledge and information. For some reason, that was a huge comfort to me. I'm glad to hear you're feeling better. You have "lived courageously" and I hope you continue to do so. I'm in constant admiration for how courageous our son has to be every day, just to get through his normal routine. It's a constant struggle for him, but he does it with such grace and little complaint. So good for you for keeping your sense of humor and choosing to do it again each day. My hat is off to you - if I had one.
I like your blog - I'll be back.

Mikki said...

Lisa Loo, this is a mighty powerful post! I've put off reading it for a few days, cause I just didn't think I had the spare moment (you did say it was a long post). I'm so very, very glad I read it tonight. These words you've written carry a lot of weight. I love you Lisa Loo! May the Spirit keep pulling you and your family back up!

Tina said...

Oh do I hear you. I've suffered from major depressive disorder for ten years. It seems that not many people understand it. I so can relate to your insulin example. That's been the one I've used when well-meaning people say, "If you just prayed more, you wouldn't be depressed." They SO don't understand the biological, chemical component to this disease. Thanks for standing up and writing this. Btw, I got here from Amanda @ House Revivals and Redemption by Beauty Everlasting. We've been friends a long time.

Haeli Mae and Jae Jae said...

My struggle with pregnancy related and post pardom depression has truly opened my eyes to the fact that others (such as yourself and such as my father) deal with much more on a daily basis and my heart goes out to you. You are much stronger than many. Myself included. I can barely manage this let alone what you go through. I love you and thank you for sharing this. I love your writing and I'm glad you are willing to let us in.