Hello, demons. It’s been some time. Not nearly long enough, but I suppose I can’t complain.This is what it’s like when you live with bipolar depression. Oh, how rude of me. Hi, hello, thank you reader for stopping in at my tiny digital space. If you missed my last post, I’ve linked it here – 5 Call Her Daddy Podcasts You Need To Hear.
If you like podcasts I recommend checking that one out! My name is Natasha and I am the creator behind this blog. I share a lot of light content such as outfits, my favorite Amazon finds, and my skincare routine, but I also like to share the realities of living with bipolar disorder. The wickedness of it. How I live with it. And all the other crazy stuff that comes along with life.
Bipolar depression is wicked, horrible evil. I was diagnosed just a few years ago, but knowing what I know now, I’m fairly sure I’ve always had it. It’s horrible. Well, it’s like this dramatic mix of the most beautiful thing with the cruelest and horrible. I often feel a whole lot of nothing. Numb. I operate at a nothingness. This is what it’s like living with bipolar depression. It feels like chains wrapped around my ankles. They hold tight and slowly numb everything.
What is bipolar disorder?
Bipolar disorder used to be known as manic depression. It causes extreme mood swings and a whole lot of other shit. Basically, it makes the person have ranged from highs to lows. The highs are known as mania or hypomania and the lows are bipolar depression. The wicked, horrible, cruel demons that live with me, each and every day. They suck the life out of me.
These demons. They make me believe that I’m worthless. I’m horrible. I’m a terrible, awful person. I hear these things. I feel them. My whole body feels them. My body tenses up. And once again I fall to victim of it again. It’s a vicious cycle that’s taken me years to figure out and accept.
Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder
(Just dropping this year in case you’re not aware of the symptoms. If you know the symptoms, skip and keep reading below. I just like making sure to spread awareness.
poor decision making
loss of interest
loss of energy
thoughts of suicide
What it’s like living with bipolar disorder?
Well, short form, it f@*#(cken sucks. But, in other ways, it gives me this weird superpower. When bipolar depression sets in, it’s heavy. It feels like there are 100 chains pulling me down, and no matter how hard I try, I just can’t break off. I’m sad. I’m lonely.
Even though I’m not alone. I’m lonely. Isolated. But not isolated. But isolated in my own mind. The demons that swirl around, make me dizzy. They make me hurt. Every nerve in my body tenses up and I’m left with nothing but aches, pain, and terror. What is the next moment going to bring? How bad is the next thought going to be? Is this as bad as this episode going to get? And these questions swirl one after one after one after one and before I know it, I’m in a trance.
How do you get rid of bipolar depression?
You don’t. You live with it. Bipolar disorder is a horrible monster. The best thing to do is to talk to your doctor, go to therapy, take your meds and commit to working on yourself every single day. That’s my answer anyways. Don’t come @ me. That’s what I have to do. Every single morning I open my eyes, I have to remind myself that it’s a good thing. It’s a good thing to wake up. It’s a good thing to have another chance. To get to do this life thing another time.
Natasha, you give yourself a pep talk?
You bet I do. That’s what I have to do though. Because happiness isn’t something that comes naturally. I have to remind myself that I am a worthy human being. That I deserve to live. That there is plenty to be grateful for. (Side note again – big fan of practicing gratitude.
I try every day to write down three things I’m grateful for. And it can be anything. It doesn’t have to be like something rehearsed or whatever. Sometimes I’m just grateful for a glass of cold water. I’m working on recognizing the little things and being mindful of them.)
I have to try to be normal. When I get too overwhelmed, I shut down. So, in a social scenario, you better believe that it’s awkward A-F. Apparently, it’s not okay to just stop talking mid-conversation? I don’t know. I can’t respond to emotions the same way as someone else. But really, no one responds to anything the same. We’re all unique. And, I think that’s so freaking beautiful. But, not everyone is accepting of taking a break mid-conversation because you’re way too overstimulated.
And, why the F#*K not?
Why is it not okay to do this? Or, maybe it’s okay and I’m just hanging around the wrong people? Guys, please let me know. So, I function well at home. But, then I battle with, is that really functioning then if it can only happen in a secure environment? Am I doing myself any justice by choosing to keep to myself instead of making myself go out? Is there a way where if I try really,r really hard, maybe I won’t be so odd?
These are just some of the things that run through my mind. So I stay home. I decline things. I pull away from people. I leave relationships. And I turn inwards. I reflect. I get lost down the intertwining paths of anxiety in my mind. Which path leads to which door and which do I choose? I get lost reflecting sometimes. Overanalyzing situations and re-thinking whether or not I responded appropriately.
I sit with thoughts now. I used to run away from them. In fact, the quiet terrified me. For it wasn’t actual quiet. The quiet is simply an invitation for my demons to come and play. So I would fill every minute of every day in hopes of avoiding any time with myself. I hated myself. How could someone think so horrific things? And, why was I so damn sad? Didn’t I know I had a lovely family and that many women would love to be in my shoes?
Well, Karen, it doesn’t work like that.
And it’s time we all start seeing that, don’t you think? Because when you’re dealing with something like bipolar depression it just isn’t like that. You don’t have control over it all. There’s me, happy me, depressed me, and the demons. And we all co-exist simultaneously. That’s the deck of cards I was dealt. Bipolar 2 Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and PTSD. And, while we all carry whatever labels the doctor prescribes us, all this really means, is I’m not ever going to be what society calls normal, and at some point, I’m just going to have to make peace with this.
Now, I’m okay with being not normal, because fuck normal right. But, what about when you’re with the people who still want you to be normal even though you’ve accepted that you’re not. And, I use normal loosely here. I hope you know what I mean. This is a personal blog, I am not giving medical advice. Do I have to say that? I don’t know, but it can’t hurt.
Me, Happy Me, Depressed Me, & The Demons
Why the heck are there so many me’s?! It’s taken me years to figure this out, so hear me out.
The “me” is the stable version. The one that is okay and able to make healthy choices. This point of stability is not one I always have. But, I can feel a difference when I do. And that’s the tricky part about this mental illness. Though the meds are supposed to stop the highs and lows, I’ve tried so many and none of them do. I do experience all the highs and lows, but not as intense as when I’m not medicated.
Stable me usually happens for 1 – 2 weeks at a time. During this time I’ll work out, walk, drink water and do all the things I know I’m supposed to do to help myself. During this time, I’m less likely to question – why. Why me. Why is my life like this? This version of me is almost empowered. I feel strong when she comes out. Like as if I’m stronger than the bipolar depression that weighs me down.
Happy me is when I’m in hypomania. I’ve heard many jokes about hypomania such as “it must be nice to be so productive”. IT’S NOT. Let me tell you. When I’m hypomanic I go too fast. I have many business ideas that I can’t sort out.
I feel frustrated and like everything is moving so fast. Life, my day, it all becomes a blur. I often experience overstimulation during this time and have a breakdown. Everything inside of me is tense, fired up and ready. And at this point, I sob. I’m tired. Why won’t my brain stop? I don’t want to work anymore.
How long does hypomania last?
For some – this phase can last weeks, maybe months. That’s the tricky part about this mental illness. There are guidelines, but not every person experiences it the same. When I’m in hypomania it’s typically 1-2 days. I struggle to sleep, focus, eat, think, and do anything really. It’s hard. It’s like your body wants to go 500 miles per hour but you don’t know where you’re going.
So you just keep trying to go but you consistently keep crashing. Some people think it’s fun. People who haven’t experienced it. It’s not fun. It’s frustrating. And, feeling it while being a mom to 3, well that’s just super shitty. Every part of my body tingles and it feels as if there are creepy crawlys crawling all over me. I scratch. I rip open scars just trying to be rid of the stupid tingly sensation. Being in hypomania makes me feel lost. Like, I have all this energy but I have no direction. And I don’t have energy. My brain just won’t stop. This version of me struggles to sleep. Sometimes for 3-4 days at a time. I lay awake and my brain just races. I do take Quetiapine now at bedtime to help with sleep. But that’s just another wicked truth that I live with too.
What is Quetiapine?
The short answer? Quetiapine is an intense drug. It’s often prescribed for Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder. It’s an anti-psychotic drug that works to restore the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain.
Quetiapine Side Effects
and a whole bunch of others that are too scary to write down
And that’s how I sleep each night. I take 200mg and can finally stop my brain. Without taking this, I don’t sleep. And I don’t mean I sleep choppy, on and off and that it’s not a night of good sleep, I literally mean I don’t sleep. I sit up all night long.
The Depressed Me
Bipolar depression is a b#$%h. My doctor actually told me that the depression in bipolar 2 disorder is the worst depression they’ve found. I’m not sure if that’s true, because I’m not really sure what they can measure it with, but my first-hand experience is that is absolutely horrible. I sleep for days at a time.
I sleep, not because I’m tired, but because if I’m awake, I’m probably going to be self-destructive. I’m not safe. I struggle with intrusive thoughts, and suicidal ideation, and I get lost in thinking of death. Thinking of what it would feel like. I go down to my room and I sit with these thoughts. I don’t want the kids to see me struggle, that’s why I head downstairs. It’s like a flight. It’s exhilarating, terrifying and so much more. I cry. I throw things. I feel like a monster. The things I think haunt me. I don’t mean to think them, it just happens, you know?
I was originally diagnosed with depression. Back in 2017. I had asked my doctor for years, is it possible I have Bipolar? I knew I was different. I knew something was odd. I just couldn’t put my finger on it. At this time I didn’t know there were different types of bipolar disorder. I just knew the typical one extreme to the next kind of idea. My doctor told me that if I had it, I’d be more destructive. I didn’t have it.
So, – another little sidenote here. Always advocate for yourself. Push for answers. Ask the questions.
I started Sertraline in 2017. That was the drug chosen because I was also breastfeeding. Starting it was horrible. And, I had an out-of-control 5-year-old, a 3-year-old, and a newborn.
Let’s go back.
When I think about this time in my life, it brings tears to my eyes. I was lost. My 5-year-old was unmanageable for me. I know that sounds weird. He attacked me. All-day every day. Keeping the baby alive throughout the 9 months was a challenge because my oldest was always trying to kill it. I cried for help. I called everywhere I could think of.
Everyone told me the same thing. I was the problem. My oldest was biting me. Pulling my hair out. Punching me. I couldn’t get control over anything. I would lock myself, my baby, and my 3-year-old in the bathroom while he would try to break in.
He’s threatened my life since he could ever talk. He’ll break anything. Throw anything. It doesn’t matter what it is. I felt alone. Out of my league. I dreamed of death. Not exactly the dying part. Just, I didn’t want to live that life anymore. Everything was difficult. Simple tasks like, please go brush your teeth, would have plates being thrown at my head. I lived in constant fear. I called the police, begging for help. I called the doctor. I called the crisis line. No one could help me. Or, they just didn’t know how, and it was easier to just ignore it.
I rotted in this hell for a long time.
The sertraline didn’t seem to be helping though. I felt so much. I was so, so sad. I wanted a family. But, not like this. I didn’t know how to do it like this. I reached out so, so, so many times, and through every single time, I was told that I was the issue. Even though I had two other children who were healthy, well taken care of, and happy. They didn’t matter. I was failing my oldest.
And, looking back, I was. I was failing. I still am. I still struggle with the same damn issues, only he’s eleven now. And I still get told that I’m the problem. It haunts me. It plays on my mind so much. I constantly look at my other two, who are 8 and 5 now, and think, what? How can I be the problem? I’m raising them too.
This time, when I had a newborn and my oldest was 5, was a haunting time in my life. I couldn’t talk about it. Like when my mom would call me, it was just judgment. I’m failing him. I’m not a good mom. We’re doing something wrong. It became easier to just turn it off. From everyone.
I started cutting in 2018. It was a way to cope. Every year that has gone by with my oldest, things become more intense. And still, no one can help me. Now, he’s old enough to manipulate. He says things like – if you tell – it will be worse next time.
And then the questions come. “Is your husband abusive?” “Has K – ever seen violence?” And each and every time the answers are the same. No. My home is a loving home. My husband adores me. Why is it that I’m still being judged when I’ve been crying for help for at least nine years? I started having a really hard time. My moods were all over. I was done. I didn’t want to keep doing it.
That’s when my doctor sent me to a psychiatrist for an evaluation. And guess what – she said I had bipolar disorder. So that’s where my journey with more meds begins. It was at this point that I was diagnosed with bipolar 2 disorder, PTSD, and generalized anxiety disorder.
The demons are my anxiety and intrusive thoughts. They haunt me. They make me second-guess myself. And, they swirl and swirl until they have me in a trance. A trance where I believe them. I believe what they’re saying to me. I picture them like bats. Smokey, foggy bats that fly around in circles around my head. They whisper they taunt, they yell, they screech. Sometimes my head feels like it’s going to explode. It’s awful.
Removing stimulation. Going to a dark, quiet room and closed my eyes. A hug. Getting super baked. Anything to make them go away. When it gets too bad, I have a prescription for Lorazepam. It mostly numbs me and I can catch a breath. The demons put me in a constant state of anxiety. I wonder, think, and question everything. And it’s something I can’t control. I can’t turn it off. I can’t make it stop. I cry. I sob. And I sit and wonder . . why am I like this?
The truth is, I’m like this, because. And that has to be good enough. There isn’t really a known cause of bipolar disorder. Some say genes, others say something can trigger it. Who knows right? So, I focus on living with it rather than trying to figure out how to get rid of it. I can’t. It won’t go away. This is my life, forever. And while that used to feel disheartening, I know that it’s okay. I commit each day to make it through. Some days are far easier than others. Some are so dark, that I’m not even sure light exists anymore. Others are easier. And I feel like I’ve figured it out. I haven’t figured out anything really. I just learn tools to help. And I give myself the kindness and compassion to accept that this is the way my life is, and that’s perfectly okay.
Do you live with bipolar disorder? Do you know someone who does? Let me know in the comments.