December 21, 2017

A Depressive Episode

Writing when I'm feeling good is easy.

Writing when I'm depressed is really, really difficult.

Unfortunately, I'm going through the latter right now. When I started my bipolar meds, I promised myself that I'd write about how I'm feeling, whether it's good or bad. I didn't want to make my happiness seem like a miracle--"I'm great, fantastic, never to feel sad again!" I expected to have hypomanic and depressive episodes in the future; I just hope that they aren't as bad as before.

My mood has not been great for about a month or so, but the last couple of days have been especially bad. There is no cause for it; but that's how my depression has always been. It just seems to come out of nowhere. Yesterday, I was crying for no reason, and I told Jerry how scared I am of returning to the old me.

Usually, the depression happens during the spring and summer; but I felt fantastic this year. I think maybe this depressive episode was triggered by a big change in my routine this past week. Jerry had a week off of work, which was great to get to spend so much time with him, but my routine was thrown off--and I thrive on routine.

I wrote a post on Monday about goal setting, and I think that will help me to get focused on something. I'm having a hard time thinking of a goal, however, so I need to give that some more time and thought. I haven't been wanting to make plans, out of fear of being too ambitious, but being ambitious is what gives me focus.

One thing I've noticed since starting my bipolar meds is that my moods have been more mild and that they change more quickly. Most of the time, I feel "normal". When I am hypomanic, though, it doesn't last long. I haven't experienced real depression while on the meds until now, but I am hoping that it doesn't last long. And that it stays milder than it was before my meds.

Today is my kids' last day of school before Christmas break, so I will still be out of my normal routine while they are home from school. I'm going to make plans to take them to the rec center a few times to swim, and hopefully I can push myself to run on the indoor track. Running always makes me feel better, but getting myself to do it when I'm feeling this way is tough.

I borrowed a few books from the library, so I'm going to try to read at least one of them during Christmas break. I am a very slow reader, and reading one book over a couple of weeks is a decent goal for me. I also started playing my favorite solitaire game again. (I would love to work on puzzles like I used to, but it's too hard on my back; and having just finished physical therapy, I don't want to regress to where I was before.)

When I was feeling happy during the summer, I wrote a list of things that make me happy; and now I can refer to that when I need something to pick me up. My friend Sarah is going to be in town from Arizona for the week after Christmas, and I'm excited about seeing her; I only get to see her twice a year. I've also been thinking about going out to Arizona this winter to get out of the cold and visit her.

I'm really nervous to even write this post, because I feel guilty for feeling sad when I have nothing to feel sad about. I wish I could turn off my feelings with a switch, but it just doesn't work that way.

So anyway, I am just writing this to say that I may not be posting much lately. Or maybe this episode will only last a few days, and I'll be over it. Maybe I'll suddenly be hypomanic tomorrow. I have no idea what to expect!

I don't have any photos for this post, so I'll just share Luke's Christmas card :)


  1. What a great idea for a Christmas card!

    Thank you for writing about the bad along with the good. I can totally relate to the thriving on a routine and feeling guilty for feeling 'sad' when there is no reason. I was recently diagnosed with a form of Bipolar (after struggling with anxiety/depression for ~20 years) and it’s very comforting seeing/knowing that I’m not the only one out there struggling with these types of things.

  2. I think we all get it...for me its the holidays. I hate it because they are suppose to bring joy, fun, peace, etc....but I always feel blah and really push to get through them.

    My meds are making me happier this year although, I have been eating a lot of sugary treats this past week and feeling some more ups and downs due to the sugar high and low and then being depressed because the scale went up a few pounds too.....oh, well just to get through ....

  3. There's no reason to feel guilty about being sad. Even the happiest person can have things to be sad about, much less a person who has depression!

    I hope you get to feeling better very soon! That card certainly brought a smile to MY face. :)

  4. Thank you so much for writing and being real. I deal with this off and on too it’s hard. I hope you get to feeling better soon. Hang in there.

  5. Thanks for sharing Katie, we all appreciate your honesty. Just one of the many reasons your blog has stickability for reading!

    I hope you feel better soon; I think it's really great you can understand & acknowledge your feelings, even if you can't exactly control them. As "That Loud Redhead" said, it's not uncommon to feel sad for no reason (with or without depression).

    Cuuuute card :) Good luck with the goal setting!

  6. Good for you for posting when you don’t feel like it!! And please don’t feel guilty about feeling depressed. Those of us who suffer with it know that, almost always, you can’t find a reason for it-it just is. I hope you enjoy having the boys home for a bit! So proud of you!!

    1. There are free jigsaw puzzle apps that are great. They work better on a tablet but might be ok on a phone, too.

      Love the card and wish the best of the Season to you and your family!

  7. We appreciate you be honest and real - to not write about the depression wouldn't help anyone, including you.
    I hope that you can find a way to get active next week - I find that Christmas break is a weird break - there has been so much stress and chaos leading up to Christmas and I always feel like I wish it were New Year's the day after Christmas so I could clean up my house and get back on that ordinary routine - it is a week of limbo.

    Going to Arizona to beat the cold and having something to look forward to sounds like perfect medicine.

    Merry Christmas!

  8. Dear Katie,
    Thank you for writing your post and being so honest about how you are feeling. As you know, you can live a perfectly charmed life yet still feel is so biochemically based in our bodies and sometimes there is nothing we can do except ride it out. Feeling guilty for your depression is normal...concentrate on baby steps to get your self moving for the day, one minute or hour at a time. Take comfort in small things, like a cup of tea. Do not require too much of yourself, but do try to be kind to yourself. You know the pattern...this too shall pass. I'll be thinking of you this holiday season...Nancy

  9. I hope you feel better soon but please don't feel guilty!! These are your feelings and you're allowed to feel them! I hope you and your family have a great Christmas!!

  10. As the mom of a daughter with a mood disorder - You are doing the best you can. Practice a lot of self care, acknowledge the dialectic - 2 things can be true - you can feel sad AND you still have to be present... Don't let your feelings give you permission to sleep in, blow off a friend... You know it will get better and you know what works to make it better - exercise, routine, self care... Make some plans, but don't beat yourself up if it all doesn't happen... Enjoy your family; and have the best Christmas for you!

  11. Thank you for being so open and honest about your journey. Praying this will pass quickly!

  12. What about a standing table for the puzzles so you don’t have to lean forward? Just a thought :)

  13. I’ve been back in the depression pit for awhile now. About six months I guess is fair. It’s pretty bad. And I guess it’s fair to say I haven’t done much about it. I’ve dontocially acceptable self care things but not mental health care focused self care. I take baths. I wear pjs. I took some professional development classes. I went out with friends a couple times. I bookecthree huge vacations.

    On the other side of things I have seen my therapist once but she couldn’t get me inregukarly and seeing someone new was too much even with a referral
    Do I am just doing nothing. I cry every day. I dropped a bunch of weight and now I’m gaining. I have really low self esteem for the first time ever- genuinely self shaming- you are worthless and no one wants you- I’ve never had thoughts like that. I asked for an anxiety RX refill and my doc gave me a hard time about “are you using other coping mechanisms besides medication” which just shit me down further so I stopped communicating with her. My sister was diagnosed with two forms of cancer, our relationship is super toxic and my first long term relationship in years ended suddenly without warming, by surprise at the end of a great date. We still talk but he doesn’t appear to want to see me. If I cut him off I’m more isolated. My beloved coworkers quit in September and I now work alone or with super autonomous people that are either just rude or don’t like me. Or maybe this is all influences by my mood. I don’t know.

    I feel terrible all the time. I went to Europe for Christmas by myself because my family doesn’t include me because they all have in laws which... this is an amazing opportunity but championing how great this is when I’m sitting alone in an airport bathroom crying about how alone and unwanted and worthless I feel.

    Totally dumping. I’m sorry. Now I’m sitting at the Burger King counter. Improvements. 🙁


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