The Big Part of Bipolar Disorder
Depression symptoms make up one half of the bipolar disorder pie, as most people understand it.
There are other symptom groups but mania and depression form the bulk of the problem.
The intermingling of the two pretty much create the sensations of the remaining groups.
Those other symptom sets are discussed elsewhere on this site. Let’s just see what depression can look like.
First, we’ll see what the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has to say:
People with depressive illnesses do not all experience the same symptoms. The severity, frequency and duration of symptoms will vary depending on the individual and his or her particular illness.
– Persistent sad, anxious or “empty” feelings
– Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
– Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and/or helplessness
– Irritability, restlessness
– Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
– Fatigue and decreased energy
– Difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions
– Insomnia, early–morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
– Overeating, or appetite loss
– Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
– Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
And here is my interpretation:
- Fatigue that is bone deep. Sleep for days and wake up tired.
- Sensitivity to light, noise, temperature or any other outside stimulus.
- No more joy when doing things previously exciting or beloved
- Disaffective. You’re just not there and you don’t seem to care.
- Apathetic. The ultimate form of not caring. Nothing means anything anymore. Nothing.
- Crave sweets and snacks.
- Can’t sleep enough, sleep too much, sleep irregular hours.
- Self-medicate your troubles away. A very popular depression symptom right there.
- Cry for no reason or cry too much, too often.
- Loss of sex drive. You either aren’t interested or if you are, you can’t perform.
- Time loses all meaning. Not sure if an event was an hour ago or ten minutes ago.
- Complain constantly, sometimes coupled with joy in seeing others suffer. Always see the bad side to everything.
- Loss of focus. Nothing you start gets finished.
- Your body hurts and often in ways you can’t clearly describe to others.
- No sense of pain. You are numb. Numbness throughout your entire being is one of the most quiet and most painful of the depression symptoms. The disconnect to the energy of life and those around you is horrifying. It is a sickening vacuum of nothingness.
- Self mutilation. You hurt yourself to feel something, anything other than numb. Or you hurt yourself because you think you deserve to be hurt. Or you do it for attention.
- Zero self esteem. You do not feel worthy of anything good.
- Reclusive and seclusive behavior sets in. Avoidance of people, crowds, all of life except for the little bubble you’ve constructed in your home.
- Irritability. Anything coming at you, no matter how small, pisses you off.
- Outright anger, sometimes explosively so. You hurt, therefore everyone else must too.
- A sense of loneliness that could only be matched by being stranded on the moon. A huge depression symptom is thinking you’re all alone. Even when with other depressed people. How tragic. No amount of positive thinking or reviewing of all the good things present in one’s life will wipe out this loneliness. It’s a tough one for the “normal” people to understand.
- Fear that you’ll never have a real life, never be loved, never succeed, never have peace, contentment, happiness.
- Your presence is an incredible drain on those around you, particularly the ones who love you most and care for you daily, if you’re that bad. You know this and it further fuels your depression. Vicious Catch-22.
- Suicidal inclinations. You either take risks in a cavalier fashion or you do so intending to meet your end. Maybe you actually plan your own death or make attempts whenever no one is watching. Maybe you’re under guard right now, to make sure you don’t.
So there’s the rough breakdown, There are more symptoms of depression than this but the above are fairly common. Maybe they don’t all apply to you. Maybe they do. Most of them did to me. I knew a despair that had no bottom.
I’d almost stop breathing when I considered how screwed I was
It was awful.
My signs of depression started off as stress. Then they bloomed from there into the list above. Most of it anyhow.
Meds not only did NOT ease my depression symptoms, they made them worse. Interesting how one of the side effects of antidepressants is becoming more depressed. And you will if you keep taking these pills.
Worse yet, if you are a bipolar person and take antidepressants, you might come apart at the seams. One of the worst things a doc can do is prescribe antidepressants to someone who is bipolar. They give the manic side of the illness the fuel it needs to go nuclear.
Although the two can be similar, almost indiscernibly so, and the one contains the other, the manic half of bipolar feasts on antidepressants like a match to white gas. The results are explosive and can result in fatalities. Be aware.
But there is a way out. I found a form of depression self help in order to save my life. I had to. My doc even gave me his blessing. He only wanted me to feel better and he knew the answer was not in psychiatric care. Not for me. Maybe this is you too?