Here's a little cautionary note: this is a very personal and sensitive issue, so if you're someone who doesn't believe in mental illness, thinks depression just means being sad, and considers people who get therapy to be crazy, then get the hell out of my blog and don't come back. Ever.
Now that the narrow-minded idiots are gone, welcome back to my blog, Geeks! As some of you may know, just last week, I decided to go on hiatus from blogging. Right now, I'm not sure why I decided to do it. It was an impulsive, heat-of-the-depressed-moment decision that I'm finding hard to stick with, since I'm, well, writing a blog post right now.
And I've taken a liking to doing these random, personal updates every now and then, and though I may very well regret posting something like this on the internet for everyone to see, I felt it had to be done. If not for me, then for the mental health community.
2015 was not a good year for me. I went a little overboard with the 'new year, new me' thing: decided to go on a crazy health/fitness regime, plan out every inch of my day to maximise productivity, and force myself into putting on the positive thinking cap... all of which only made me miserable.
I had also been living in an apartment with three girls who are completely different from me, started an internship that wasn't the right fit, and found myself in a class with only two friends, one of whom dropped out a month into the semester, leaving me lonelier than ever. Things weren't looking too good.
But that's not even ten percent the reason why my year didn't go well, or the reason why 2016 isn't going too well for me, either.
The fact was that my mental health was acting up. I would find myself in bouts of depression every month, episodes where I couldn't get out of bed, couldn't stop the tears streaming down my face, couldn't help but blame myself for having such a pathetic life, couldn't control my anger at feeling this way even though I had so many things on my gratitude list. In August, this happened once. In October, thrice. And by December, it was happening every week, and by that point, my episodes had turned suicidal. I'd close my eyes and imagine how great it would be to kill myself. I'd open my eyes only to look up methods to kill myself. All I could think, every moment during those recent episodes, was how much better death would be than living.
And then, two days later, the curtain would lift, and I would be happy again. Or as close to happy as you can be when you were suicidal just last night. It's like someone's flicking a switch in my head, Geeks. Happy and stable. Click. Depressed. Click. Suicidal. Click. Happy and stable. Rapid cycling emotions. You get the picture.
So, finally, after almost five months of this torture, I checked into therapy a little before Christmas, and I've been on antidepressants since then. Can I say it's helping? Not quite. I've had three episodes this month, and only one was mild enough for me to attend classes and do something other than cry myself to sleep.
As I'm writing this, my brain chemistry seems to be just fine, even though today and tomorrow are the riskiest days in the week according to the patterns I've noticed. Maybe my new prescription is working. Maybe it's the omega-3 supplements I've been taking. Maybe the sketching and colouring and walking and doing yoga and the few CBT techniques I've learnt are helping. Maybe it's just because I'm home and in the constant company of my affectionate mother.
But maybe I'll want to die three days later. I don't know. I can't predict what happens to me, and I can't control it as much as I want to. I'm not saying that treatment doesn't work or that I'm giving up hope or that I enjoy feeling depressed - none of it is true - but all I'm saying is that this is so new to me, so terrifying, and maybe that's why I spend a part of each day dreading my next depressive episode.
Another thing that sucks is that I can't find anything remotely similar to my case on the internet. I seem to have what's called rapid cycling bipolar disorder not otherwise specified (NOS). It's just me swinging from normal to depressed every week, without any mania or hypomania, which makes this illness all the more confusing.
Anyway, I doubt I'll be as active as I usually am, because blogging when I'm depressed only reminds me that I've been doing this for two years now and I can count the number of loyal readers I have on my fingertips. View counts and number of comments don't bother me so much when I'm stable, because I've never been popular and I don't like attention or fame anyway, but everything looks like shit when I'm depressed, so it's best if I avoid the internet on those days.
This has been a very long and confusing blog post to write, but it's something I needed to write. I doubt most of the people in my social circle will even end up reading this - I bet even a smaller percentage will be nice about it - but who even cares? Mental illness stigma sucks, and I refuse to be ashamed of my depression.
If any of you think you may have a mental illness that's disrupting your personal, work or social life, please do seek help. I used to be so afraid of getting therapy, but it's nice to have a professional to talk to once a week, and it's nice to finally take action instead of not knowing how to end this nightmare.
Have a great week, Geeks. :)