Why is it that when I am physically ill it can trigger a depressive episode? Is it the sitting around doing nothing? Is it the feeling of my body betraying me? Is it all the sleeping? Is it the time I now have to think of everything that’s ever happened in my life and ruminate on it? Whatever the reason it’s happened and now I have to figure out how to undo it.
For “normal” people a brief period of being down while sick is something that can be “snapped out of” as soon as the illness disappears. For me and others with bipolar, I have to work on it. It doesn’t just happen. The depression physical illness triggers, however mildly, seeps into my reality and affects my worldview. Even if just enough to tint it for a while. I have to intentionally fight back against it with positive thoughts, medication, meditation, writing, reading, watching funny tv, etc. I can’t just “be” and expect that it will go away without effort. That is the reality of bipolar for me.
Mind you I have rapid-cycling bipolar type 1 so I can and will fairly quickly (likely) come out the other side and revert back to my standard hypomanic state but this is so frustrating. I was feeling fine and upbeat just two days ago and now after being sick for that time all I want to do is stay in bed and look at the ceiling. Not really see it, of course, just use it as a canvas for my thoughts. And that’s all I can do, think. It doesn’t matter what I’m watching or reading, the thoughts are always there.
This is true at all times for me. I can be in the middle of a big project and I’ll still have little bipolar thoughts bouncing around in my head. It’s not like they are dangerous and mostly they are positive but they never, ever, let up. I work to hide them, to control them, to deal with and work around and with them. Mostly I am successful but they are always present. I am ever-vigilant for any chance they might bubble up so I tend to be very careful and intentional about how I go about my day and my work.
At the moment I am in bed feeling crummy and I long for the distraction of work. To have something solid to take my mind off of all the thoughts and being physically sick or mentally compromised. Just for a little bit. I want to work on my projects. I don’t like being “stuck on stagnant” even for a couple of days. It feels depressing and that, my friends, is a trigger and a warning I have to heed in order to function effectively.
Now…back to finding and using my coping skills to make sure I don’t fall any further into the darkness than is necessary to get through this little bump in the road.