I had crippling postpartum depression for four years and for two of those years I blogged about what I thought was my journey to wellness. I went off my meds for Bipolar Disorder, did Crossfit, ate nothing but meat and vegetables (Paleo Autoimmune Protocol because I decided my Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis was the cause of my deteriorating mental health and don’t you know, food is medicine!), did tons of yoga, meditated like a motherfucker and took 800 million supplements a day,
Surprisingly, that journey ended up being a highway to hell. I ended up in and out of mental hospitals and almost killing myself in 2014. Everyday was torture.
I just turned 44 and I’m stoked. I feel great. I finally get to enjoy being a mom. I can get out of bed. I’m a stand-up comic. I laugh all the time. I have amazing friends and family. Life is better than I ever, ever could’ve imagined.
So I decided to take a look at my old blog to see if I made any birthday posts. I present to you where I was mentally and physically 5 years ago.
. . .
My 39th Birthday
My 39th birthday is tomorrow and I’m in day 3 of a very heavy bipolar depression. I love my birthday. It’s my favorite day of the year. My own personal holiday.
And I’ve never, ever been depressed on my birthday before, which makes me even more depressed.
And I’m getting a sore throat. Not shocking.
Trying to get out of this one feels like trying to pull a huge wet comforter out of the washing machine – no matter how hard I tug, twist and pull, it’s too heavy and twisted to rescue tonight. Maybe in the morning, when I have the strength.
Mornings are better. Waking up is never lovely for me, but I have enough energy to get to about noon before the tingles come – then I know the morning was a lie.
I hate the tingles. They feel like the shivers feel on the outside of the skin, only just under the surface. Tingles are from the inside out. I haven’t met many other people who get tingly depressions, but individuals with different brain chemistry have their own separate internal experiences. Perhaps depressions are like snowflakes, only a hell of a lot less pretty.
And my brain chemistry makes me tingly for some reason.
My severe depressions are just as physical as they are mental. That’s why even if I can force myself to exercise – which is very difficult in a depression – I have to take it easy because I have injured myself badly in the past. Mental injury is bad enough, adding physical to it truly blows.
I really don’t want to share what I’m about to share, but I feel compelled to do so. Super ugh. I’m not a big fan of being vulnerable. Although my life seems to be an open book, I’m well aware that I choose what I want the world to see.
I feel defeated.
I’ve worked so hard and here I am again.
I’m doing everything right and here I am again.
It’s been almost 2 years since I was well.
Maybe I’ll never be balanced again.
How much longer can my husband handle having a sick wife?
Everyone has their breaking point.
Because I have hope and faith and a big, fat carrot. If I believe the 3 week remission I had in September wasn’t an accident and the 3 year remission I had a few years ago wasn’t an accident, then this depression, as much as it sucks, isn’t an accident as well.
Now, my everything hurts so goodnight.
. . .
I no longer believe in remission from bipolar disorder. Being stable for the past 2+ years doesn’t mean that I’ve been in remission. I’ve still had mania and depression, but I’m out of the bog I was in for four years. Living with bipolar disorder is a day at a time and takes an incredible amount of self-love and acceptance. And work.
Also, I’ve learned that “tingly depression” is actually an Epstein-Barr flare-up, but I wasn’t diagnosed with CAEBV until early 2019, so I mistook it for depression. And it does coinside with depression as well so there’s that. Let’s just say, it’s a balancing act. A delicate, complex balancing act.
Back when I wrote this post, I was in the middle of postpartum depression which is an entirely separate beast, in my opinion. I wasn’t just fighting bipolar disorder. Of course, I didn’t know that at the time.