Lately, it has been a struggle for me to just get out the door and force myself to go to work. Truthfully, I am fairly certain I am in my first depressive episode in about 5 years. After weeks of hypomanic cycling, I have now hit the depressive part. I am in constant tug-of-war with my mind. I have been flying into angry episodes, yelling when I don't want to, and having a hell of a time with my memory and trying to get work done. I don't usually complain about my bipolar, but this is one of those times it is really hard. I am lucky enough to realize I am in a depressive episode, that the anxiety will eventually stop, but sometimes I can't stop it. I am embarrassed with my work performance, but I cannot concentrate mentally. My mind is just racing. I found an open letter online that I would like to share that about sums this up completely.
"The support people of a bipolar individual need to be patient, patient,
patient. We are easily distracted, have difficulty with concentation and
focus, and forget what you told us 5 seconds ago -- much less being
able to remember to do something you ask us to do 5 hours from now. We
lose things, misplace things, or just plain do not see things that are
right in front of our eyes! While looking for that "misplaced" item we
misplace 10 more items. By this time our mind is in a panic and total
state of confusion!
We used to be organized and on time but now it can take hours to get
organized and get together the things we need when preparing to get out
the door to go somewhere. By this time we are irritable and so is our
We lose our train of thought, what we meant to say comes out backward or
the word we meant to say comes out as a different word that starts with
the same first letter. At times we fly into a rage over seemingly
nothing; some of us get physical, but most of us are not.
To those who are support people and/or family and friends, understand
that none of the above is personal. The irritation, frustration, and
confusion that you feel about us at times, we feel triple that amount
about ourselves plus add in a huge scoop of guilt and shame over our
actions. So be patient with us and know that most of us do what we can
to take care of ourselves and take the responsibility of keeping the
effects of our illness to a minimium.
We do this by taking our meds, going to therapy, and educating
ourselves about our illness so that we may know ourselves better and
successfully intervene on our own behaviors. Be patient, also, for with
every ongoing recovery there are relapses along the way.
It goes without saying that with our family and friends we need their
love even when we act like we don't, and with paraprofessional and
professional support people, we need for you to care about us as
indivduals and not as just another patient rolling through the assembly
line. Compliance comes a lot easier in regard to your treatment
recommendations when you really listen, appreciate our uniqueness,
intelligence and talents, and recognize that we can be informed team
players in our own treatment plans.
Most of all, whether it be family, friends, or treatment professionals,
DO NOT GIVE UP on us if we have not given up on ourselves.
I am fortunate. I can really be an exasperating family member and
patient but my family, friends and all treatment team members hang in
there because I do, and they believe in me even when such belief wavers
sometimes within me."
--by LWM6, About.com Bipolar forum member
Yes, it is a struggle. Yes, it is embarrassing. I just have to keep going.