If you've read this blog (or know me), then you probably already know that I'm not the brightest when it comes to seeing signs that are blaring me in the face. Seriously, I could be blinded by the dazzling light and I'd still just shrug it off and say "ah...it's probably just a virus".
The last month or so has been a prime example of this, and one (as it turns out) that has been reoccurring for years and years. I'm talking about my depression.
I have been suffering with it for about 10 years now, but it comes and goes, and I could go for quite a while between flare ups. Since being pregnant with Ed though, it's been a force to be reckoned with. I've been up. I've been down. I've done frigging loop-de-loops, and all in the constant haze of exhaustion from having a young child. It's not surprising then that things came to a rather spectacular head recently, when my body just.....snapped.
That was it. It just didn't work anymore. There was nothing of me left.
I knew it was brewing, but I was shocked and scared by how bad my depression was this time. Normally I have a part of me that is talking me round, but this time that voice wasn't there, and it scared the shit out of me. To that crazy, lonely side of me, suicide was the only option. It was the only way to make things stop. Luckily for me, there was still a sliver of me screaming to stop being such a fecking eejit, and I didn't attempt anything. Looking back now, it is unbelievable that I could feel like that. Of course I don't want to die! But that's the nature of the beast of depression, and what many people don't realise. When you reach the lows, often there is no rhyme or reason. I don't know if it's the same for others, but for me, it definitely feels like a chemical thing that just switches on and off often without any real trigger.
Because of the state I was in (I went from serious depression to manic behaviour on a knife edge, and for three days could not stop twitching constantly) I was quickly put in touch with the Crisis Team, who then sent me off to the psychiatrist*. He was great, and after an hours consultation concluded that I have (and have possibly had for about 10 years) BIPOLAR DISORDER TYPE II.
Why have I written that in capitals? I have no idea. Actually I do. I like the II...it looks grand.
So there you have it. Bipolar.
It certainly all makes sense now. The highs, the dips, the manic laughter, becoming obsessed with one little thing for a period then discarding it, never being able to stick at anything, etc etc.
Oh my god. I've just realised. I'm like a toddler!! Ha! :D
In all seriousness though, I'd say I've shown all of the typical bipolar symptoms. If anyone is interested, there is a very useful leaflet here for friends and family.
It felt like a bit of a relief to be given a diagnosis, to be honest. At least I know now that the constant uphill struggle should get better. I had reached a point where my ups and downs were occurring so frequently that I mistook my ups and manic periods for being 'normal' alongside my lows. Now I know though that the need to do things constantly when I'm up (recently it's been sewing....constant constant sewing) is not 'normal', and soon when I find the way to manage it, I could enjoy a hobby (or, in fact, everyday life) without having to go flat out then subsequently burn myself out and hit rock bottom.
The diagnosis has also made me stop and treat it as the illness that it is. Not just a shitty symptom of the MS. Although, having said that, as an MS sufferer, I had much more chance of becoming bipolar anyway. So yet again, they go hand in hand. Hand in bloody hand.
But as always, feeling rather lucid now means that I'm looking forward, and thinking of how to jam this new piece into the puzzle of life. One day I'll have it cracked. Marks my words!
* NB: now even when I'm writing this, part of me is wincing at the term psychiatrist. I mean it sounds....serious. Like there's something seriously mentally wrong. But then, I guess there is something seriously wrong. There is still such a stigma surrounding mental health (which is luckily getting better) but even so, I feel like writing this is almost like confessing to something I'm ashamed of. I'm not ashamed though. This is me. I've been like this for years, and with a number of people not knowing there was anything wrong. If the thought of me going to a psychiatrist makes them view me differently or negatively, then that is their problem. Not mine......... *mic drop*