This is a Low

This is cut for length and whinging.

Edit: Quick update.  I’m with the crisis team, grudgingly.

Very depressed at the moment, and it is notably worse than any other (mostly medication-caused, as antipsychotics always kept me on the lower-end of depression, but I am not taking any medication at the moment) depressions of the past two years. It is, I guess, the giant fall down the hole after the few months of almost-entirely high mood and energy. This has been very sudden and is completely kicking my ass. Nothing happened, as usual. This time of year is always treacherous, and I don’t know why. I am extremely tired, extremely sad and will be AWOL for a while as I don’t think this is going anywhere. I can barely raise my head and I don’t think I really want to be alive anymore. I don’t know how to get out of this or what to and the world seems black to me right now. I am trying to function, and it’s very difficult to. The things I love doing in myself- going walking, writing, taking photos, playing with my cats- are gone. Words are gone, passions are gone, my confidence is utterly gone. I am doing Robert’s head in and that is upsetting me. I wish I lived in a bubble where my moods didn’t affect the people who loved me (and I do not deny this. I know there are people who love me, Robert, Stephen, my family, even if my mum still hasn’t bothered contacting me to say happy birthday). I can see how frustrating it is for him because nothing makes a difference to my mood, I feel the same, I would probably feel the same if I won the lottery, or if I were hit by an earthquake. I love him, I tell him so, even if my ability to express it is dented. But I do not want to put another person through this. It isn’t fair. I feel like a liability. So for the most part I have stitched my mouth shut. These are my problems, nobody elses’. But I feel like a total failure. Like I have let everybody down. I just want to sleep all day. And knock my head through a pane of glass for being so fucking whiny!

(Edit: Oh, LOL as the kids say. I had to take some photos of myself for One in Four. Y’know the type, the obnoxious “look at me, I’m a writer” type of photo.   I’m just going through them.  They all look like this. How happy I am).

Photobucket

A part of me is not sure I am going to get through this, a very large part of me does not mind that prospect. I am trying my best but I feel quite helpless here. I don’t know what to do. I’m distracting myself, sleeping probably more than I should be and getting into the sun and trying to take care of myself (although I realise I am not drinking enough, and stupidly it takes me a long time to even go to the bathroom because the energy required seems huge) but I don’t know what else to do. I can’t go and see a doctor because there is no help available there, and I quite honestly don’t feel like talking about to my social worker because there is nothing left to say, and there is nothing left to do.  I’ve done therapy and although I found CBT for body issues helpful, I know my thought processes are not the problem because I interrupt them on my own.  DBT is also not helpful because I don’t have the problems it’s there to address and do a fair bit of the things it teaches anyway.  That in itself makes me feel bad. It is not as easy as just pulling my socks up and going for a walk. I will fill in my personal budget form (a begging, arselicking statement as to why I need money to fund a part time course, that’s up there with the DLA form in being horrifying and abjectly depressing to fill out, on your “worst days”, and how friendless you are) in the hope that it can help give me a future but right now I would be happy to just sleep for the rest of the century. I’ll stay alive so that the dickhead taking bets on me killing myself this year will lose his money.

I’ve made most of my recent posts private as I feel pretty ashamed of myself for this mood and don’t feel like discussing it. It is indulgent and self pitying. There is nothing to say I haven’t already said before. This blog has just become an anti-CV. I was never blogging for a blog deal, or for hits, and I kind of despise the whole action of doing so.  But it’s still here and I don’t want people’s opinions of me to be so coloured by it that they don’t know how to speak to me or are afraid of doing so. That I am a writer and my main online writing is, “Fuck, I feel like shit, I am failing at everything I do” is frankly becoming humiliating. I’m genuinely worried about people treating me as incapable as I feel because I need them not to do that to me, to not avoid me (although I am avoiding everybody and have succeeding in almost totally isolating myself) or mollycoddle me.  If you are my friend and you like me, please include me.  If you ever believed in me, please keep believing in me. I don’t believe in myself anymore and I need you to.

I’ll be off for a while because this blog and writing it is making me feel worse at the moment. Please please do not take this opportunity to send me an email telling me that I am slave to the DSM-IV, for a psych victim, or that I could get better if I ate more apples. I will end you.

Take care.

42 Responses

  1. Hey cheer up! Your blog inspires! It inspired me to apply for New Zealand’s RETHiNK Grant Awards this year with an idea for a cabaret-style event consisting of ten-minute plays aimed at RETHiNKING mental “illness”… and guess what? I won! So now The RETHiNK Theatre Challenge is on in October here in Auckland! See more here: http://www.rethinkgrant.co.nz/winners-get-involved/rethink-theatre-challenge

    So – smile… It’s not everyday you get called an inspiration!

    x Adam
    (a fan… but not in a creepy-follow-you-around-and-has-a-wall-at-home-covered-in-pictures-of-you-out-shopping-stalker-Christ!-call-the-police-he’s-hiding-under-my-floorboards-and-thinks-we’re-married-kind of way…)

  2. Unlike Adam, I can’t back up the word “inspiration” with an award, so I’m afraid I’ll have to settle for the generic-but-sincere “you are an inspiration, just, you know, in general”. Your writing has gone a long way helping me view unwanted emotional lows like the weather: uncontrollable and temporary phases to be patiently endured. I wish you weren’t so supremely qualified to give advice on the matter, but consider it appreciated all the same.

    Stay awesome, Seaneen. When the emotional yo-yo swings upward again, those confounded brain chemicals owe you something pretty bloody spectacular.

  3. Hang in there. This is the first time I have read your blog, and it sorta hit home. I am bipolar also, not sure about the manic depression though. This last year for me has been a real eye opener for me. I did not know I was bipolar till it went too far. I ran my car through an unoccupied building (Thank God), and grabbed a fire extinguisher and ran across the street and started spraying it strip club bouncers. I got a night in jail for this, a month or two (can’t remember) in the nut hut, and had to use Mental Health Court for a year to clear my record, plus a divorce to boot. But along the way I met a wonderful woman, who I love, accepted Jesus Christ as my saviour, and went to school and recently graduated with my Universal EPA Certification. So, yes it has been a hard past year and a half for me, but I did not give up. Just hang in there and you will make it fine.

  4. yep sounds like a shit-tastic depression…October/ November is my shit time of year, every november without fail I go a-plummeting. i hope it has some mercy and lifts sooner rather than later and gets no worse.

  5. *big long sigh* I have nothing clever to say tonight but I can state the truth: even though we have never met, I love you. Your presence on this planet is pretty damned important to me.

  6. >>”Please please do not take this opportunity to send me an email telling me that I am slave to the DSM-IV, for a psych victim, or that I could get better if I ate more apples. I will end you.”<< LOL! brilliant. love it. thanks for the laugh.

    I am sorry you are so terribly gone. I have somehow avoided an extended fall into that pit of absolute despair for a while now… I have moments but somehow come out of them. I don't know where it went and I'm so afraid it will return but am pleased for now that it's so conspicuously absent for now. I just am not sure how to live without it honestly. It hurts to read what you're going through because I know it all too well. I really hope it doesn't last long and that things get better quickly. I know that means very little but… I thought I'd share it anyway.

    Best wishes your way. I very much appreciate your blog.

  7. You truly are fantastic and I wish there was something I could do to reach into that giant hole and pull you out.

    Your writing is great no matter what your mood. The paragraph at the end that LaLaLauren pointed out made me giggle too, even though I know you were quite serious when you said that – I wish all the bastards that send you crap emails would piss off and leave you alone.

    I am sorry that you feel there is no support out there for you. I am truly disappointed in the NHS for abandoning you. I want to get your old psych and

    Please do hold on, stay alive and hope that your mood eventually picks back up again. I’m sure it will, I just hope you can get through the hell before it does.

    Take care xx

  8. Just want to say that I think you’re lovely.

    *Hugs*

  9. remember this too shall pass… be gentle on yourself … hold on to the thought that you will survive this… while it doesn’t quite feel like that at the moment you will come out the other side… if you can… talk to your social worker … get some meds… the blog will survive if you take some time off… we will come back and check on you from time to time… your writing is effective in reaching the intended audience… your depression is part of the story… your absence is part of the story… i would like to make the depression go away for you … but i can’t just like i can not make it go away for me… keep your options open… and do not think if you make a decision while depressed that it is fixed in stone… you can always change your mind when you want to… and no explanations necessary…
    take care of yourself and robert and the cats…

  10. You need to develop a fake photo smile like all the celebs do. I have a wall that I havnt covered in your pictures yet as I have been holding out for something a bit cheerier.
    You need to sort out this bullshit about your diagnosis as this is contributing towards your mood, my 2d is that you are being victimised because you provide a platform for others to detail their experiences in the mental heath industry.
    Is it possible for you to spend a few days doing the things that you enjoy without thinking how it would read in a blog? Im not sure, I know that sometimes I need to shut down all systems to remain sane and a blog is simply not a good fit with this.
    I have no problem admitting to being a stalker and Im probably one of the worst sort. Its much more socially acceptable than a mental health problem.

  11. Hi Seaneen. Me reading even though I don’t comment much. I wish you weren’t feeling like this. I wish nobody would have to feel like this but yeah, black hole catching everything. Hm.

    When I’m in the lowest of the lowest I’m pretty sure I’m not going to make it and even remembering that I have made it in the past doesn’t seem comforting but instead feels like being caught in a loop that doesn’t end. It’s what it feels from the inside, but from the outside, people get very concerned but generally believe and hope that it will pass, and when it does, it tends not to feel anywhere as hopeless as it did inside the hole.

    I think that for the people that love you, you are so valuable that even though it’s hard to see those we love in such pain, it would be too much worse if they weren’t there at all. You give them a lot for their lives by just existing. Nobody is with you, or reads your writings for charity. If people are around you is because they truly get something out of your presence.

    And I think if the blog is being bad for you, you don’t have to do it right now, it will be here if you come back for it. If some people stop reading, then to hell with them, perhaps those are the ones who keep sending you annoying email (that I still don’t understand why anyone would do that).

    This is turning into a manifesto so I’ll cut the blah now ^ ^

    Take care,

    -Nessa

  12. I wish I had words of wisdom or advice or something, but all I can do is send empathy and hugs, and say that I believe in you.

    Take care as best you can

    P xxx

  13. I am really sorry that you are feeling so awful. It is hideous, and there is nothing I can say that will make it any better. I do have 1 suggestion though – I think you should try eating more apples.
    xxx

  14. I’m sorry to hear things are not good at all at your end. Hang on in there, you’ve loads of people behind you wishing you well. x

  15. “The woods are lovely dark and deep,
    but I have promises to keep,
    and miles to go before I sleep,
    miles to go before I sleep.”

    A little Frost for you and the rest of us here.

  16. Seaneen, I don’t comment much but read your blog and archive alot, I respect your reasons for giving it a break.
    I wanted to wish you all the best, and to say that at the end of May when I had a ‘breakdown’ for want of a better word; i felt exactly as you described – my depression was so encompassing and my thought processes were the same, letting people down and so on, now I am better, not great but compared to then I can cook a meal, wash my hair if not style it (!) and speak to people (and, indeed, write this). My GP has helped. First I tried one set of meds and had a mixed episode which was worse but now am on the up. I hope SOMEONE helps you too.
    I shall be thinking of you.
    Take care
    H x

  17. Hi,

    I want to say something helpful and comforting because I wish you all the best. You sound like you’re in a lot of pain and I wish you weren’t. I wish you had good health, financial security and all the rest of it.

    I’m not going to give advice because I think you have enough good sense to find good advice.

    I want to say that I admire your blog for its qualities of excellence, insight and humor. If you decide to end this blog I hope you continue to write (and publish somehow) elsewhere because I want to read more of your writing. I consider myself a fan (although hopefully in a non-stalker-ish way.) I would also like to read what you have to say on other subjects, if that’s what you’d like to do. I want to encourage you to continue writing, because it connects you with other people and is one of your strengths.

    With love, support and hugs,

    Take care.

  18. *hugs* Depression is one of those things that just won’t shift in response to circumstances, so I doubt writing a comment on your blog will help. But just for the record, I don’t think you’re being whuiny – I think you’re being as brave and rational as anyone could be expected to be under the circumstances and I hope you recover. And I hope the crisis team do something that actually helps.

    And feeling sad because you’re depressed in no more shameful than coughing because you have pneumonia, but one of depression’s tricks is to make you ashamed of having it, so telling you this probably won’t fix it.

  19. I wondered what happened with your recent post and sensed that you were in a low. Just take things one moment at a time. Here is hoping for a shift! Thank you for posting. Stay with it; you can get through it.

  20. *hugs* Just keep hanging on. I know that’s the hardest thing in the world right now, and it’s an incredible amount of effort just to keep going from moment to moment, but if you dig in your heels you can ride it out, you will come out the other side and things will pick up. Part of what’s so soul-crushing about depression is the hopelessness of it, the conviction that things won’t ever get better, but they will, and deep down you know that because you’ve been here so many times before.

    I hope the crisis team are of some help, though I sometimes think my brain lifts itself out of depression as an alternative to having to talk to them again. Either way, take care and don’t be harsh with yourself – you didn’t choose this.

  21. *hugs*

    Thinking of you, and I hope something happens/ is done to help lift this off you asap!

    G xx

  22. Your blog helped me through the hardest time in my life and still gives me hope. Your writing is good and you have much to say. Right now is hippo time; wallow in the mud and keep breathing.

  23. Seaneen you’re one of the lovliest, bravest, funniest and most talented people I’ve ever met. In the dark place where you are now everything you do may seem like a hopeless failure but that’s what depression does. Your blog is still devastatingly honest, well written and deeply moving (I’m typing this with tears in my eyes). Walk on through the storm and rise again for this is the way of the bipolarist. I still remember your first stand-up at ‘Warning May Contain Nuts’, you were funnier than some comedians who’ve been doing it for years and your video is the most popular on my youtube channel. Never believe anyone who calls you a failure (even if that someone is you).

  24. Remember the essence of our condition: mood SWINGS. Allow yourself time off and KNOW that at the end of this cycle there will be an upswing. We have already achieved everything in life by simply living with our condition – we do not have to achieve anything else. We are already amazing, none of the people out there can cope with what we are. Low times are your body’s way of telling you to rest, and most of all forcing your mind to rest. We have such extraordinary and busy minds, we are so driven and passionate and we are so committed to what we do that we never allow ourselves time out. Being down is simply that: forcibly allowing yourself time out. Quit the guilt trips, lie in bed all day, sleep, rest, just breathe. Accept that this will always be part of life, and learn to embrace your down times. Know that you need this down time to rest because when the up comes, you’re gonna need all your energy. Hang in there girl, and know that you are not alone, we all know what you are going through, we’ve all been there and we’re all still around to prove that also to down times comes an end. Take it easy! xxx

  25. Even when you’re really down your writing still impresses. I welled up reading this post, but am now in fits of giggles at your last few lines. (Hoping that doesn’t say anything about my current mood swings!)
    Hope you’re back on the wagon soon, i love reading your stuff!
    Gemma

  26. I’m just coming up to the first anniversary of my most recent day-to-end-all-days, a day when I nearly did end it all. It had been about 10 years since I had felt that low. It frightened me and if I’m honest, frightens me still.

    But since that day I have got better. It took a while, but it happened. It will happen for you too. (NB: You probably don’t even feel like you want to get better at the moment. That’s part of the low. The low will leave.)

    Take care, keep doing the basic functions of being, be safe. I hope very very much that it passes soon.

  27. I hope you feel better soon.

  28. Hi Seaneen, I’m a devoted reader/very occasional commenter/fellow struggling writer. I want to echo everyone else’s well wishes and offer a bit of a testimonial about why I read your blog. I can’t remember how I originally found it–it was over a year ago–but I’m not in the habit of making the rounds of mentalist blogs. I’m only slightly mental myself (mildly depressed) and have depression/alcoholism in my family, so it interests me, but it’s not a primary interest of mine.

    Anyway, the point I’m trying to make in a hopefully inoffensive way: I read your blog not because I am mental and you are mental, too, OMG LET’S RELATE–but because you are one of my favorite writers on the internets. Probably you and Ta-Nehisi Coates of the Atlantic. I would read anything you wrote about anything, and if mentalism is what you can take on right now (or whenever you feel up to writing, period), I’m just as thrilled as I would be about you blogging about tea or English politics or art or whatever. I just enjoy the way you use language.

    I know how daunting writing can be, and I totally understand the need to break from it, especially when you’re in a deep rut. Just offering a bit of confirmation that you are valued for much more than your mentalism! I look forward to future projects of yours, if and when you feel up to them. Hang in there.

  29. *hugs*
    sympathy and empathy from Somerset🙂

  30. Bipolar I also. Depressed most of my life. My “one hand clapping” moment was when I started looking at it all objectively. It’s the neurotransmitters, not me! Effin’ neurotransmitters! Effin’ hormones! Curse my genes! Yes, it feels like crap. But it is not real. I had to find a corner of my mind that would remind me that I don’t really feel this way. My brain is depleted of something, probably serotonin and dopamine. I can’t change that. Bend your mind – not the spoon, right? (Nerdy Matrix reference.) For what it’s worth… you can’t change your brain permanently with drugs – only how you see it and react to it.

    • Even though it is just neurotransmitters (I should know, Clinical Psych student), it doesn’t change the fact that we live in a world that doesn’t give a shit unless they can see an injury. Neither does this fact comfort partners who have to live with far more shit than they should, or kids who can’t understand why mummy won’t get out of bed to play so they blame themselves instead. It doesn’t change the visceral psychic pain we endure. In fact it just makes the whole process seem as futile as the lives we must endure.

  31. Hang in there!

  32. Sorry to hear you are on a downer .. having a dark time myself.. One thing I say to myself is ‘ This too shall pass’ like a mantra seaneen🙂. And of course it will.

    Peace n Love
    x

  33. The last time I had a depression like the one you are describing was the first time I ended up in hospital. It got to the point that I couldn’t bear anything anymore, couldn’t react to anything, couldn’t do anything and it was so frightening and so lonely. I eventually decided to go to hospital voluntarily and I was there for almost two weeks and it was and remains one of the best decisions I ever made. It gave me a two week break where I slept every night and didn’t have to worry about hurting anyone else with my moodiness.

    I’m not trying to say that I think this is what you ought to do – you are far, far more capable of making good decisions for yourself than any other person can be and I wouldn’t presume to tell you what to do. I just wanted to share what my own lived experience is and say that I absolutely know that what you are going through is real and cannot be cured by mere positive thinking or fish oil or anysuch simplistic approach. Mental disorder of any kind is a complex and time consuming beast, both physiological and psychological in its origins and ought, in my opinion, to be taken very seriously. There is no shame in asking for or taking whatever help you need and whatever help is actually helpful. There’s a great deal more scientific proof for what’s in the DSM-IV than for fish oil and, while the practice of psychiatry is very far from ideal, it does have a basis in scientifically demonstrated and replicated reality.

    Okay, I need to get off my high horse now – I’ve just finished a dissertation on this topic and it’s a little too easy for me to become over-passionate in discussion. I hope you feel better soon and I hope you find a way to deal with this that suits you best. It is the easiest thing in the world to lose all confidence in one’s own choices when one is depressed but you are still the best possible judge of what’s right for you.

  34. Chic, I read here frequently, but am slightly lame at commenting .. your writings are refreshingly honest .. the bluntness. I love it.
    I’m sorry you’re having such a hard time dealing with everything right now. I have no nuggets of advice or wisdom to offer. I’ve been where you are, many a times. The deep tank of total despair, where even breathing requires more energy than your body holds. Somehow each time I manage to claw my way out. You’re a fabulous, beautiful woman, don’t give up just yet ..
    Am hoping the crisis team can help you and we have a good update soon.

  35. Massive hugs. Hope your crisis team are better than mine! Hang in there, and i’m always around if you want a chat xx

  36. I’m genuinely worried about people treating me as incapable as I feel because I need them not to do that to me, to not avoid me (although I am avoiding everybody and have succeeding in almost totally isolating myself) or mollycoddle me.

    This is partly why I’m hesitant of telling people about my depression and anxiety. I don’t want to be treated any differently or “babied” because of it. Anyway, I just found your blog and may explore your other posts. Stay strong.

  37. Seaneen, I can relate to how you are feeling at the moment. I am 8 days away from starting uni, it was suppose to be a whole new chapter for me to embark on, but the high followed by depression kicked in, I OD in the week ended up in hospital and the rest they say is history. I’ve been under the CHRT for just over a week. I want to tell you to hang on in there, your friend, Robert and even the cats are there for you… keep going, take each minute, second, day as it comes… love Alison x

  38. I can’t believe how much of what you’ve written reflects my life right now. I literally have just gotten off the phone with the Crisis team nurse. I feel like an utter waste of space right now & am scared that my love will leave me as I’m nothing; not there, blank. I weep, wail, pray to a God I know deep down I don’t believe in but it is just too hard. I don’t mean it right now, but I hope we survive…Sweet oblivion would be great, but my daughter still needs me. Just survive this, just keep breathing & I promise I will too.

  39. I think you’re a talented writer and that shows whatever you’re writing about, so I don’t think your blog acts as an anti-CV in that sense. It’s good that you’re self aware and able to tell when you need to step back from this blog and take time for yourself though. I hope it’s not too long though! It certainly helps me to read your experiences and find they resonate with my own.

  40. its very wise of you to take a break from blogging, so that 1) you don’t wallow in self-pity on end and 2) you let the depression pass.

    i’d have to agree with katie that your writing is profoundly moving. i read about 3 books a month and most blogs are picture shows. but your blog is different. i really appreciate your honesty and style.

    i started following your blog because mental illness haunts me and is a part of me. i have grown tremendously over the past few years but that growth is inextricably tied to my hospitalizations and recovery.

    writing about depression can be a counterproductive thing but you have insight. that’s so important. and there’s a difference between pulling at the heart strings, which many writers – mentalist or not – are quick to do, and facing a serious mental illness.

    i have a loved one going through a depression at the moment. she’s so in touch with reality that its hard for me to believe that she’s so low. its as if i expect her to stop functioning to really sympathize for her. that’s pretty f’ed up but its the truth.

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