This is going to be a tough one to write. I hesitate to do so because it’s me being vulnerable, putting myself out there for God and everybody to see on Beyoncé’s internet.
Plus, it is literally physically difficult for me to write at the moment. Words are difficult to find, thoughts hard to string together. But I’m going to try, because some day, someone might stumble across this, see themselves in it, and realize that they are not alone, that they are not broken. Or someone else might find a way to better understand what their loved one is going through.
I am in a significant depressive episode right now. In the past month, I have become increasingly suicidal – going beyond the familiar fleeting desires for calm or nothingness and into intricate plans of exactly how to do it and when to be sure that I’ll be successful and that my children won’t find my body. I have lost interest in food. The idea that I’d have to go through the effort of digesting something is enough to put me off eating. I only eat enough to maintain my responsibilities to my family (can’t manage to get the kids up and off to school on time or pick them up and get them through the evening routine if I’m passed out due to low blood sugar). On the other hand, I’m massively anxious and irritable. Fear and anxiety coat my muscles and writhe under my skin like a living thing, dormant one moment, then springing to life the next, burning me and making my heart race.
I was in tears in my psychiatrist’s office the other day. I wanted to go back to the hospital, to change my medications in a controlled environment, but I can’t.
Because we’re moving. Which might be the very problem.
If you know anything about bipolar disorder, major life changes – even positive ones - can be triggers for episodes. And moving is a major life change.
Plus, it’s summertime in France, which means vacation season. I can’t very well cart myself off to the psychiatric hospital for a few weeks and leave my husband on his own to manage the kids for two full weeks of vacation.
So we’ve done what we can for the moment. I’ve started Lithium, which I’d been reluctant to do. I can say that there has been a calming effect of some of the symptoms, but they are not 100% gone. I’m still on everything else I was taking before though. So like, eleven pills a day. I can say that I’m “functioning”. But I don’t know how long this can last. The anxiety still bursts through. Even with Valium four times a day, plus extra doses as needed.
I just recognize that I’m in a holding pattern. There are weekly blood tests to check the Lithium level in my system, and I’m not at the level my doctor wants quite yet, so maybe things can improve, but still…
In a lot of ways, this disease doesn’t let you live. And even when the medical care you receive is good, it requires patience. Things can’t come together as quickly as you would like. I have an appointment with a new doctor in Paris at the end of the week. We’ll discuss hospitalization again. But I don’t know how to get around the guilt of possibly leaving my husband alone with our children for part of our vacation while I get stabilized. My need to get stabilized is so great, though. If you’re someone reading this who has a loved one with this disorder, please understand that we take your needs into consideration in our treatment decisions. Frequently, we hurt ourselves or suffer longer than we might otherwise have to because we don’t want to cause you pain. This is a hard disease on us, we don’t want to make it hard on you as well.
There’s more I could say, but I’m almost out of spoons. Gotta save a few for packing and for starting to talk about my debut novel on social media. It’s so frustrating to be excited about having a dream come true but being in an emotional place that doesn’t allow you to fully enjoy it due to your invisible disability.
Please, if you take anything away from this, keep in mind that it is so true that we never know what battles someone might be fighting. Be kind.