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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Chronicle of a manic-depressive episode

I'm a writer.  It's incumbent to my nature to put down my thoughts and observations, either for personal review later on or for appreciation by others so that they may come away from the time they have just spent with a little understanding and enlightenment.  At least, that is what I try to gain from anything from others that I take the time to read.  Writing is how I contribute to the larger world, and I have to be honest about what it is that I am writing about.  Regardless of how it reflects on me.

So I have no real problem with documenting my more severe bipolar episodes.  Friends on Facebook know, perhaps too well, how my writing there reflects the state of my moods.  A little over a year ago however I began to more clinically... or at least as is possible to do with such things... document my manic-depressive episodes for friends and family there to read.

There have been a lot of reasons for me doing that.  For one thing, I'm writing a whole book about having bipolar disorder, so I'm not sharing anything that won't be public knowledge anyway (at least, I hope that it will be public knowledge in the form of a published book!).  Related to that, writing on Facebook about my episodes allow me to "beta test" the tone of my writing for the book: sorta see how well it flies with others.  So far, everyone seems pretty taken in by it.  Writing about this as it happens affords a peek into something that they otherwise might never have any understanding of.  And one of the long-term benefits to me is that these "entries" do serve as a real-time journal of this condition that has wrought so much damage to my life.  Maybe there is some value in that, which I can someday look back over and draw some crucial clue from.

For the past several days, actually going back over a week and a half, I have been dealing with one such manic-depressive episode.  It had especially climbed in intensity in the last two or three days until this morning, when it finally lapsed and began to recede.

I made three entries on Facebook about it.  So I thought that I'd share those here, for anyone interested in this kind of thing.

Tuesday, May 26th, 1:28 a.m. -
Extreme depression for the past several days. From the start of the weekend on the intensity has been exceptionally severe. Depression with mixed-state of mania characterized by thoughts about death and dying, whether I have a soul or not, doubts about God really hearing me, all beyond my control absent medication... and even those aren't helping much.
There are reasons why too many bipolars commit suicide. I can barely convey the full effect of this one. Unable to live but don't know how to die. Wondering if my mind is too broken for God to care. The ghosts of so many relationships gone, because of this thing that I'll spend the rest of my life reining in.
There's a line. Most people don't know its there. You find it when you want to die. You finally cross it when the desire to no longer be here pushes you over from longed-for absence into active ideations. I have not had the ideations this time... but once more I have approached too close to the line than most people would ever want to.
"Just a little less pain, God. Just a little assurance that You are listening..."
I keep crying out to Him, desperate for Him to show me that He hears me through the madness and the despair. For God to show me that I'm not a reject, that I'm not someone He's abandoned. Because that's what I feel like, abandoned by God. And that's a worse thing than the manic-depression ever could be.
Yes, I'm on the medication. They are working. God only knows what I would be like without them.
Maybe this episode will end soon.

Tuesday, May 26th, 10:12 p.m. -
Depression/manic episode has retreated, for the most part. Still many lingering thoughts about death and questions of the soul and whether God is hearing me, however. Those were the topic of much conversation during my weekly therapy session this morning ("we covered a lot of heavy ground" in her words). Thankfully I happened to have that appointment today, when I was in dire need of it. Also discussed was the feelings of wanting to be dead, and that "line" which I explained in the previous status. Not for the first time, not for the last, I went closer to the line than in peaceful periods I would want to. She asked, again (because she had to) if I would seek help if I crossed that line into serious thoughts of killing myself. I can do that. I *have* done that and I like to think that I'll do it again when... not if, when... things come to that.
I wrote that status was to give you all some insight into what it is to be bipolar, during a particularly intensive episode. There are some reasons why I did that. One of them is because I'm writing about this in my book anyway, I thought it would be a neat idea to run this kind of material by others. Another reason is because posting these "reports" here documents something that DOES impact others.
When I've done these, I haven't asked for prayers. However, I do greatly appreciate them. And I need to express my gratitude to everyone who has lifted me up during this most recent bout with this condition.
Thank you :-)

Wednesday, May 27th, 4:57 p.m. -
Manic-depressive episode has receded. Since waking up I've had no oppressive thoughts about death or whether or not I have a soul. My frustrations with God however are seemingly never going to go away. I would still give anything for as much as a whisper from Him, that He really is listening to me. SOME indication that my mind isn't so broken that He can't hear me...
It would be nice to know if I could still have some semblance of a normal life. Maybe even a family. That's what I've asked Him most of all for.
I've tried "replicating" the episode, in my head. Tried to voluntarily bring about the feelings and thoughts that had overtaken me these past several days. I can't do it. I don't think its because of exhaustion either (mental and physical). It's because this is a disease that is so capricious. It comes and goes at its own whims. It is a separate entity from my "real" mind. I can no more "will" a bipolar episode to occur than I can command my foot to have an ingrown toenail. It's impossible to make such an intense manic-depressive episode come about. I can certainly encourage the conditions for one, by abstaining from the medications. But the arrival of the episodes themselves are completely beyond my control.
There is some strange comfort in that. Almost an affirmation that this isn't "just in my head", if you catch my meaning. That there truly is a physiological basis for this condition.
Even so, it does seem too unfair. To have a disease that sends my mood so completely out of whack and robs me of clear thinking. I *do* demand God to tell me how could He let such a thing happen, to anyone. What if mental illness keeps someone from knowing about Him at all? Is that person eternally damned because of bipolar or schizophrenia? Am I damned for wondering such things?
Is that why it's as if God doesn't hear my cries to Him? Because I don't have enough faith in Him for giving me such a damnable disease.
Theological musings aside, the episode is fast fading in the rear view mirror. So for now, I will be content with that much.