So, if you recall, I was hypomanic about three weeks ago for a week, and that resolved with a lot of Thorazine. Well, after that, about twelve days ago, I became very, very tired: washing my hair was like a workout, I started sleeping 12-14 hours a day, everything slowed way, way down, my body felt like it was sick with the flu, I just felt like laying in bed watching tv all day. This is called hypersomnia, and it is a precursor to depression.
I started to notice that after the first few days of this, my thoughts became heavy and dark. They were disjointed and started going down well-worn paths: I’m going to crash and burn in my writing career, I’m never going to lose weight, I’m a terrible wife and mother, things are never going to work out for me, there’s something wrong deep down with me and that’s why I feel so bad, etc…
…However, this time, I was prepared for this to happen: I expected these old thoughts to show up because I felt so tired, old and beat up. It was no surprise: after all, they predictably always showed up when I was down, too tired even to lift my haggard body to the bathtub to clean up, or when my head and body ached with the dull pounding of my heart as I lay on my bed for hours desperately trying to rest but too tired to sleep or breathe. These old enemy thoughts always snuck up on me in my lowest moments…but, this time, I was ready to catch them and put them out like the lit matches they were, I was not about to let them catch my mind on fire…
…I recognized them as the cognitive distortions they were. Black and white thinking, all of nothing thinking, jumping to conclusions, emotional reasoning, faulty generalizations, overgeneralizations, discounting the positives, “should” statements, labeling, personalization, blaming–these old enemies were so obvious and so easy to see! They were the products of an exhausted mind, a really fragile mind that needed to be taken care of with love and care by the only person who could do it: me. I could stop them in their tracks! I was up to this because the alternative was even more exhausting: letting them traipse my tired, fragile mind down their rocky and dangerous steep paths all day and night until I was in the dumps, downtrodden and war-weary, teary-eyed and on the verge of another mental collapse–or, in the worst case scenario, suicidal, believing them to be true.
I couldn’t let myself go there again. It seemed so much easier to say “stop” to them every time they tried to take my mental hand and lead me down the familiar, well-worn paths of my own mind. I said “no!” to them all, lying in my bed, I fought them off like a good soldier for a day or so and then they faded like bad dreams and…I won! They left me in peace! I was again just me, exhausted, to be sure, but vindicated and stronger, free. For the first time, I had resisted the urge to dip deep into sadness and despair. I had resisted. It hadn’t even been as hard as I had thought it would be!
Just like that, I was still tired but I knew the worst had passed: I kept laying there, meditating and drinking water and resting and taking care of myself and waiting patiently. By yesterday, day 12, I was even getting a little bored. And then after dinner last night, it finally passed!
Dr. Rosenburg had said that he wasn’t sure just how long the mood would last, but that it wasn’t as deep a depression as the hypomania was a high and that we were making progress…
As mysteriously as the tiredness came, the depression lifted, right after I ate my fish sticks last night! This is the first time I didn’t give in to my depression and it will get easier each time! If words can convey it, this is monumental! I have been letting my depression beat me up for twenty years and this is the first time that I successfully fought back!
If I can do it, so can you!
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