For those who follow me on Facebook, it’s no secret I suffer from depression. Actually, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in my teens, and it’s been a war. Not a skirmish, but a full-on battle.. I’ve been unmedicated since I was 19, which yes, I’m aware is probably not the wisest of moves, but I have my reasons. The first is that for most of my adult years I’ve been uninsured. Paying for a prescription out of pocket is just not happening. The second? I love writing, always have. It’s my passion, the one thing I do for me, because I need to. No, I have to. And while medicated I can’t write a grocery list, let alone a blog post, journal entry, or a book. So I choose my passion over the mind-numbing effects of medication.
That doesn’t make me braver than those who medicate. Hell, maybe it just makes me stupid. Whatever the case may be, it’s the choice I’ve made, and I’ve stuck to it even when I know there are times I’m dumb for doing so.
Like now. I’ve been suffering a severe bout of depression for several years now. Yes, years. There are brief reprieves, even weeks where I feel okay, but it’s always temporary, like my depression is lulling me into a state of complacency. It only got worse after the birth of my son 7.5 months ago, as thought postpartum depression combined with the bipolar to deliver a hurricane of pain.
So how do I combat it? First I put on songs that make me feel understood- my favorite being Nickelback’s “Lullaby.” That song speaks to me on a deep level. Another way is writing, now that I’m finally able to do so again. Honestly, until I finally picked it back up again a few weeks ago, I feared my writing days were behind me. The third is keeping a journal. A journal where I can put all the things I can’t bring myself to verbalize.
I actually want to share some of my latest entry here, for those who suffer. I don’t know if it’ll help you in any way, but after I wrote it I felt it. I went back and reread it several times, and it brought me a small measure of peace. I hope it might do the same for you.
The struggle with depression lives on. Some days I wonder if I’ll ever conquer it. Or if it’s even meant to be conquered.
I’ve always battled depression, negative self image, etc. Feelings of inferiority and deep-rooted insecurities. Like I’m not good enough, and never will be. I can laugh, sing, put on a happy face, even feel happy for awhile, then night falls and I’m battling my inner demons.
How do you fight your own mind? How do you overcome it? I don’t want medication. That only masks the symptoms and fixes nothing. I’ve tried therapy in the past with poor results.
Maybe it’s a battle never won. Maybe the point is just to end in a draw, no side the clear victor. Maybe it’s only about getting out of bed, putting one foot in front of the other, day after day. I suppose that counts as winning, just showing up to the battle.
I don’t know if any of this helps anyone, but if you’re reading this and suffering, know you’re not alone. And keep showing up to the battle.