Thursday, February 10, 2011

My silly "coming out" party

I’m taking a big risk with this post, but whatever.

I’ve dealt with depression for pretty much my entire adult life. Prosac, Zoloft, an extremely short stint on celexa, wellbutrin… I’ve had to take a lot of different medications to treat this shit, and I have had no problem whatsoever saying “Yeah, I’m clinically depressed.” Of all the things that can go wrong inside somebody’s head, depression seems to be the most acceptable among the masses. Saying that you’re depressed won’t necessarily yield a back-away-slowly reaction from friends and family. They may not understand how being “sad” is something that should be treated with medication, but they won’t think of you as totally batshit crazy.

Saying that you have any form of bipolar disorder, however, can yield some rather unflattering labels – even from those closest to you.

I haven’t really talked about being bipolar partly because of the stigma that surrounds the word.


It just sounds nasty.

I am actually not classic (is that how they refer to it?) bipolar – I have bipolar II disorder, which is characterized by major depressive episodes, mood swings, and “hypo-mania,” the latter being something that I’m still having trouble defining. I guess my sudden need to dye my hair two weeks ago could be called a hypo-manic episode, but I’m not entirely sure.

The depression aspect of this disorder isn’t that bad (for me, anyway). I’ve grown used to my bouts with soul-crushing sadness and I can usually drown them by eating an entire green bean casserole, downing a few Mountain Dews, and watching some television or something. The mood swings, however, those are what get me. I can go from completely calm to outright enraged in a matter of seconds. I’m taking a mood stabilizer to combat this, but treating it isn’t that simple. I can’t take a pill and eradicate the condition completely, as much as I would fucking LOVE to. That would make things so much easier, wouldn’t it?
My daughters are the ones who suffer most because of this. I have come to call my angered states “grumpy mommy” when dealing with them. “You don’t want to deal with grumpy mommy, do you? Please pick up your toys.” It’s fucking heartbreaking, man, because as much as I want to control it, to suppress the horror that comes with the sudden mood changes, I can’t. I try really, really hard, but somehow I always fall short. At least, this is the case when I’m dealing with my own family in our own home; when it comes to other people and their families it sort of fizzles. It’s still there, that tendency to fly off the handle, but I suppose it gets squashed by trying to make a good impression, or something -- to NOT be thought of as insane by the outside world. And therein lies the problem, I guess. My daughters are going to be traumatized by my behavior because they are the ones who have to LIVE with it. Because when I’m at home, I’m in my supposed comfort zone so there’s less need to front like a shiny happy person. As much as I want to keep that illusion alive AT ALL TIMES, it’s just impossible. So, the girls – unfortunately – are privy to the not-so-awesome aspects of their mom, and it is a massive part of why they prefer their daddy. I’m sure that when they are older the phrase, “My mom is a bipolar bitch” will inevitably escape their lips – I’ve definitely said that about my own mom many, many, many, many, many times.

With that said, I find the genetic aspect of this disorder terrifying. My mom, though never officially diagnosed, is all kinds of bipolar – not bipolar II, just straight-up bipolar. Instead of taking medication, or even seeing a shrink, she chooses to mellow out in a different sort of way, if you catch my drift. For the record, it doesn’t work. Knowing that there’s even a slight possibility of either Midget or Munchkin (or both!) being afflicted with this when they are older scares the shit out of me. Sure, having somebody around to talk to who “gets it” is helpful, but sometimes it’s just not enough.

I’m not entirely sure of why I’m publicly stating that I’m mentally ill. (Argh, that sounds so dreadful!!!!) I think it all goes back to that post from The Bloggess that I talked about a week or two ago, as well as the desire to not have to hide shit on my own damn blog. Remember what I said about that filter? Totally unnecessary at this point in my life. Regardless of the reason, I suppose I should now state the obvious: that this doesn’t define me. It’s part of me, sure, but it sure as hell isn’t all of me. Before I close this out, I’m going to point you to Michael Kimber’s Colony of Losers. His video about mental illness might be a little… dramatic, but he does make a couple of good points.

So, now that I’ve put this out there, you can feel free to back away slowly.

9 comments (+add yours?)

Cheshire said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I'm proud of you for this

Megan said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

You know I love you, lady. Love and support you. You are an awesome mom, and you are doing the best you can to combat your illness.

Let me know if there's anything I can do for you. :)

I Am An Atomic Bomb said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates


Kimber Leszczuk. said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I think it is awesome that you are letting people know what it is like for you. What it feels like to be going through it. Maybe it will help someone else going through something similar who isn't coping with it as well you know? Maybe it will help someone who isn't diagnosed to get help. I am proud of you too!

Doria said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

*high fives* I bet it's nice to let it all out! Good for you! Im not familiar with bi-polar or depression, altho I think my ex hubby may suffer an untreated version of both at times!

thelexhex said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Thanks, you guys. I still can't believe I even posted this -- the fuck was I thinking?? Whatever, it's good to get it out there, I guess?

Meowlissa said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I think its quite badass of you to put this out there :) Too bad more people don't have the guts. You rock!

Keely said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I think the Bloggess is right, the more people talk about mental illness, the less stigmatizing it will be. Owning it is much, much better than denying it and trying to self-medicate.

And hopefully by the time your girls might have to deal with it, there will be even better treatments and less stigma.

Chica said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Thank you for posting this. I've suffered severe depression and anxiety for much of my life, especially postpartum. You are awesome for sharing! :-)

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