Perhaps the most well known characteristic of bipolar disorder, is having mood swings. Mood swings are periods of emotional highs, (feelings of extreme excitement, euphoria, racing thoughts, etc.) mixed with emotional lows (feelings of depression or extreme sadness). But what happens when you get stuck in one of these moods, and it seems impossible to dig yourself out?

During my bouts of depression, I often feel unmotivated and unenthused about pretty much everything. I dread going home at the end of each day, because it means I’ll soon have to interact with my family, when I’d rather be left alone with my thoughts. I expend so much energy doing everyday tasks, such as bathing or getting dressed in the morning, and as a result, I may skip out on participating in basic self care. My depression leads me to have a less than favorable opinion of myself as well: I often feel worthless, unwanted, stupid, hopeless and just about any other self hating emotion there is.

Another dark element to my bipolar depression, is the tendency to self harm. I’ve been cutting since I was 10 years old, and have battled with continuing this counter productive behavior ever since. Like a lot of people who self harm, I gravitate to cutting as a way of coping with all of the overwhelming emotions I may feel at any given time. Although a negative action, I’ve always felt it was a way for me to release all the anguish and negative emotions that seem to bombard me all at once. It gives me a false sense of empowerment, being that I’m the one in control of the pain and suffering I’m enduring in that given moment…And like clockwork, I instantly feel all these self loathing emotions as soon as it’s done. I’m left feeling weak, ashamed, guilty, and downright pitiful. It’s a constant cycle of trying to rid myself of pain, while being the one to actually self inflict the pain.

Often times I feel as if I’m the only person I can talk to when I’m depressed. Meaning the depression leads me to daydream, or stare blankly out into the universe – not thinking about anything in particular. I have a difficult time concentrating, and I find myself no longer interested in the simple things that normally bring me joy – such as spending time with my friends and family, or even writing. When I’m dealing with depression, it usually causes me to feel as if there’s a void in my life that I’m unable to fulfill, no matter how hard I try.

Depression is real, and the effects it has on people is often chronic. It can rear it’s ugly head at any point in time – Even with medication and therapy. It’s because of this, it’s SO important to keep the lines of communication open. Not only with your doctor, but also with your friends and family. Having a strong support system is vital in living with any mental illness. You need people you trust and have your best interest at heart to keep you in check, because chances are when you’re depressed, you’re going to isolate yourself and withdraw deeper into the rabbit hole. Speak up and be honest about what you’re feeling. NEVER be ashamed for feeling differently from others. We’re all flawed, but that’s what makes us #PerfectlyImperfect and #MentallyStrong.

– Jasmine JeNay ✨

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