I have every reason to be confident. My mood seems to be lifting. I’m getting things done at work. I’m spending time with old friends and making new ones. I’m staying busy. In fact, if someone were to look at my life without knowing my secrets they wouldn’t know I’m not normal.
There have been a number of good things that have happened recently. I may have lost my job, but I immediately went into a new one and didn’t have to go on unemployment. True, it was at a significantly reduced pay rate, but at least I was valuable enough for my company to find another position for me. In this economy any job is a good one and I know how fortunate I am to be working. I’m even more fortunate that I’m even able to work. This illness I’m fighting has taken down stronger ones than I, and the fact that I’m even functioning is almost a miracle.
Friends have always been important to me, and I’ve been able to reconnect with old friends with whom I’ve lost touch. I used to be very close to one friend in particular but we lost touch when I started dating another woman. When that relationship ended we were able to get back together and are now as close as ever. I’ve made some new friends too. I’ve had dinner a few times with one of the people from the support group I attend. He’s also bipolar, and it’s been very helpful to be around someone who understands.
Yes, my life has taken a turn for the better. I’m able to go out four or five times a week and don’t feel quite so alone anymore. And the times I am home are not nearly as painful or lonely as they have been; I’m actually enjoying the quiet.
In spite of all the good things that have been happening, I’m still struggling with the depression. The anxiety is back. It’s not bad yet, but I constantly feel like I need to yawn, but I can’t get enough air to satisfy the urge. There’s a tightness in my chest that no amount of relaxation can relieve. The nervous energy is sapping my strength and I’m tired all the time. My brain is full with all the noise that goes along with an extreme mood; overwhelming thoughts that crowd out any positive thinking. There is still the blackness and despair covering my soul.
Self doubt creeps in.
What if I’m not able to perform at my new job? Am I going to be able to survive on the lower pay? I already know there are some bills I won’t be able to pay, how long can I get away with it? How am I going to afford my medications? There’s no health insurance, and no way to get it; what happens if I get physically sick or hurt? I don’t want to be lonely, so why do I want to be alone? Why do I just want to crawl into bed and hide?
I know I’ll never have a meaningful relationship; how could anybody accept all the baggage that comes with being ill?
The answer is simple. My depression doesn’t want me to feel better. It feels like a separate being that is whispering in my ear trying to convince me that things are not going as well and I think they are. It tells me how worthless I am and that I have no value to anyone. I’m robbed of my confidence and my successes are stolen. The depression is doing everything possible to control my life and keep me down.
The answer may be simple, but the solution is not. Overcoming depression is one of the hardest things there is for me to do. The chemicals in my brain that are driving my mood are strong and it takes all my effort to fight. But I have to keep fighting. I owe it to myself to work every day to do what I need to do to feel better. I’ve promised my friends and loved ones that I’m going to get through this.
I need to lead by example.
I know that this is just a temporary situation, and that it will eventually go away. Experience has taught me that I can beat this. Depression is strong but my will is stronger. I’m going to have setbacks and failures, but every day I have the chance to make it better. I will continue with my medications and make sure I follow my treatment plan. I will trust my Therapist. I am determined to remain as positive as I can and affirm my worth through every outlet available. I refuse to give up and will not allow the depression to win. There’s no denying that this is bad and is going to take all I’ve got to overcome. But it’s going to be okay.
I’ve got this.