I Guess This is Why I’m Not Getting Anything Done

So I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m bipolar. Most people think that means I have delirious bursts of energy all the time during which I get tons of stuff done while eschewing sleep. Actually, 97% of the time that a bipolar person is ill, they’re depressed. It comes and goes and there’s not a whole lot you can do about your brain being weird and broken.

I haven’t been getting much accomplished this week. I didn’t get anything much accomplished last week, either. About the only real relief I can find is when I’m reading absorbing fiction. I can’t pay attention to a TV show, and I don’t feel like sewing, knitting or baking. Which is really pretty weird when you consider how much my life normally revolves around those three activities. I can’t sleep before 3 am, which inevitably means I take some sleeping med to try to hasten things, and then I’m so ‘hungover’ that I can’t get up before noon. This SUCKS. I’m not ever a morning person, but I do try to get up between 8 and 9 normally, and do computer chores in the morning, reserving afternoons for sewing, cooking, baking, etc.

But lately my head feels like it’s full of molasses. I can’t remember to do stuff, and I feel too sluggish to talk to anyone for any length of time. Last week at Romsey Quilters (where I’m a committee member AND the resident techie), I was so out of it that I couldn’t process what people were saying to me. I must come off like a comatose junkie. I’ve tried everything to get to sleep – mindful meditation, that melatonin stuff, the OTC ‘PM’ stuff which is actually just an antihistamine, even Valium. But no matter how hard I try to sleep, I just lay in the dark berating myself for my failures. Then I berate myself for berating myself because in actual fact I lead a pretty happy life. Seriously, this SUCKS.

I have a TON of stuff that needs to be done. I need to clean the house like crazy to put it on the market. I need to overhaul the website. I need to write a couple of magazine articles. But what I’m doing instead is reading, because it seems to be the only thing I can do. This SUCKS. I want my brain back. I want to feel the irresistible urge to sew, to knit, to bake. (Of course, I also want to lose weight, too. Baking doesn’t help that very much.) I know I could get on more medicine, but honestly I’ve been down that route, and once I start taking two or three different mood meds, I start to feel more like a pharmacy than a person. And I’m sure the depression will ease with time, but it’s hard to happily anticipate anything right now. (Except Christmas cake. I LOVE Christmas cake. I’m always happily anticipating it.)

I’ve gone on long enough. I just wanted to get a bit off my chest, so to speak, and apologise for the less than stellar service around here. And please, don’t think I’m encouraging any depressed people to take a quasi-Scientology view – I wholeheartedly believe in the power of medicine. Hell, I’m taking medicine for the bipolar now, and probably will do for the rest of my life. And I’m totally ok with that. I just don’t want to take more, if that makes sense. But if you are depressed, or you know someone who might be, GET HELP. Depression SUCKS, but it doesn’t have to suck forever. I’m fairly certain mine won’t, but you may have to bear with me for a bit.

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37 Responses to I Guess This is Why I’m Not Getting Anything Done

  1. Depression does suck, for sure, and feeling like you aren’t in control of your own brain is awful. I wish you the best of luck in finding a solution that works for you – me, I was on medication for a while, which gave me the energy to pursue outdoor activities (chiefly cycling, which I did very heavily for a summer) that helped me get off of the medication, and now I’m generally better, having found exercise to be the best for me. I hate to say that I “treat” my depression with yoga, but it does seem to be helpful for me, so I’m sticking with it.

  2. Boo says:

    I so appreciate your honesty in dealing with things like this. I go through “down” times too, and it’s impossible to get anything done. Then you just beat yourself up for NOT getting anything done, and people wonder what the heck is wrong with you. NOT FUN. I hope you feel a lot better soon, and I’m ALWAYS here for ya! *hugs* Just keep being fabulous ;)

  3. Kathrynn says:

    I understand exactly what you are going through, I too am bipolar. I know it is easy for me to say don’t beat yourself up but I also understand that it is very hard for you not to. Stressing about it makes the down episodes that much worse so TRY not to. I am currently on three different medications an in my case it really works. Remember that there are people who love you and are there for you.

  4. Ellyn says:

    ((((Jenna)))) I know I’ve told you before that I’m right there with you. Take care of yourself. The rest of us can fend for ourselves. :)

  5. Jennifer says:

    Hey Jenna, I love reading your blog, but didn’t know that you were bipolar. I hope it’s not tacky to offer advice. My mom is also bipolar and I have watched her struggle for the last 20 years. She recently when thru a real rough patch and was hospitalized for 5 days. It turns out her thyroid was out of wack and they had previously messed with her lithium which turned out bad for her. All that to say…..they tweaked things with her medicine and she is sooooo much better. Maybe contact your doctor if you haven’t already? It could be something simple that needs to be addressed. Advice offered with the best of intentions…..I hope you feel better soon!

    Jen

  6. Becky m says:

    I had no idea you are bipolar. My sister struggles with this also. I understand your frustration with the meds and not wanting to take more. I hope you can find a good balance and get yourself back. I can’t imagine how difficult that must feel.

  7. Kelsey says:

    HUGS!!! I can’t even imagine how difficult this must be for you – just know I’m thinking about you and hoping it gets easier soon!

  8. Emily says:

    Jenna thank you, thank you so much for writing this. I just cried, I am off to the doctors after years of being off medication I have to admit I am not coping anymore. Reading your blog post is like looking in a mirror. I think you have such strength to say this outloud, I hide it from everyone I can which just makes the burden harder. Anyway, you don’t need to hear my blah blah, just THANK YOU!

  9. Debbe says:

    Big Hugs Jenna. I hope you find your ‘happy place’ soon. When you start thinking of all the things you have ‘screwed up’ be aware of it and start thinking of all the thing wonderful happy things you have done. We all love you and want to see you happy.

  10. Lyanna L. says:

    Thanks for having the guts to share — hope you start feeling better soon. =)

  11. Fiona says:

    I wish I lived closer by so I could hug you right now but will have to make do with a virtual hug ((((hugs)))). As soon as I’m better we definetly have to have a fun day out in Bath again, bit of Christmas shopping & fabric shopping. xxx

  12. Sarah says:

    **SUPER SQUEEZE FOR YOU** I know what its like to feel like you’re watching yourself do things you don’t want to do and not knowing how to change it. I hope you get to feeling better soon! please let me know if there’s anything I can do to help. Even if you just wanna talk about how bad it sucks right now. *HUGS HUGS HUGS*

  13. Kathie says:

    Hope you are feeling better soon {{HUGS}} x

  14. Carrie P. says:

    sorry to hear you are feeling so yucky. I pray that it doesn’t last long.

  15. All I can say to this is I love you and I understand completely, especially the bit about not wanting to take more meds. I’m always here for you and love you tons lady. If you need a shoulder, I can’t sleep lately either so send me a tweet. Hugs!

  16. Katy says:

    Good luck with finding the other side, and enjoy your books!

  17. Danny says:

    Thank you for sharing with us. I hope you feel better soon so you can start doing the things you love.

  18. mammafairy says:

    Dear Jenna,just feel better soon, and thank you for being so open about it. Thinking of you.

  19. Becky says:

    Hang in there! Your health is more important than anything else! Pleas don’t feel guilty for doing what you must to SURVIVE! I hope you feel better soon!

  20. Lisaleh says:

    Much love to you Jenna! Remember, depression lies. Been there, done that. Thanks for reaching out and sharing with us.

  21. Felicity says:

    Sending comforting thoughts to you, Jenna. For what it’s worth I think you’re doing a fantastic thing by sharing here – you never know who might read your words and feel like someone truly understands what they’re going through.

  22. Kiera says:

    Been there Jenna. Although not bipolar, I’ve suffered with bouts of anxiety, panic and depression off and on for 25 years. I know the feeling of beating myself up for not being able to just “do” normal life. Take the time you need to rest and heal. Reading always helps me too…must be an “escape” thing. We’ll all be here waiting for you my friend. Hugs to you.

  23. charlotte says:

    My sister also is bipolar. I understand your struggles and I hope you are feeling better soon. It is a difficult path to walk for sure. A big hug to you.

  24. Gerri Hollada says:

    Loving you today!!!! BIGGEST HUG coming your way – I ve been sad too, since you left – it was so wonderful having you here!! You inspire me to do more creative things!! I LOVE You, and am so PROUD of you!! I know you are going thru a rough patch, just know that you are wonderful, and brighter days are ahead;). Love,Mum

  25. Lindsey Anne says:

    You are being incredibly brave and you are right – it does suck. Wish I could wave a magic wand for you and make it all go away.

  26. Jennie says:

    I have no idea how you are feeling, as I’ve not been in your situation, but it’s brave to face it the way you are. A friend at uni used to swear by St Johns Wort to help her sleep – it’s natural so may not feels as much like meds. I hope you start to feel better soon. Hugs.

  27. I’m thinking of you sweetie! Just know that we all ADORE you! And from here you are super grand! Hope you find the small ways to get your groove back. ♥

  28. Joyce M says:

    Yoga and exercise has really helped my daughter. I hope you are feeling better soon. I Love reading your blog. It has really helped me during my 3 stays in hospital and 2 surgeries this year.
    Best wishes.

  29. Mary says:

    Depression does suck,,huge. I’ve watched my closest struggle for 9 years now, with meds, and without. I feel for you, my friend. One day, hopefully soon, the light will peek back through to the bottom of the hole, and you’ll be back with us. One step, one day at a time. I, for one, will wait. I hope you see the light soon.

  30. Jen says:

    Hello Jenna, Sorry to hear you are not at your best, I hope it goes away soon and you are back to your usual routine. I will be thinking of you and keep looking on here to see if you are better. xo

  31. Pamela Dungar says:

    Hi Jenna, My thoughts are with you, it’s a bad patch and we all have those. I have what I call “bad hair days all over my body” sometimes I throw myself into a project, or read till my eyes ache, sometimes I watch weird “blokey” tv like Shed. I do what I feel is right at the time and do not worry about how it looks. That seems to be what you are doing so “good on you”. You provide many of us with entertainment and inspiration, long may it be so. Many thanks for all that. Pam

  32. Joyce Lorenzen says:

    I, too, am Bi-polar with extra doses of 2 different depression disorders. For sleeping, I have found that the med trazadone is wonderful!!

    I am so blessed to have a very understanding hubby. I can be sitting just 10 feet from my meds, but he will come from another room to place the meds and a glass of water in my hands. (He will also go out to Walmart in the middle of the night to get some treat I happen to be craving and won’t be upset if I no longer want it when he gets back!!)

  33. Kristi says:

    Nutrients, specifically adding chromium, vanadium, B vitamins, and essential fatty acids (EFA’s) to your diet can make a HUGE difference in brain function! As an added benefit, my husband lost 70 lbs and has kept it off by just providing his body with all the vitamins, minerals and trace elements it needed. His food cravings for garbage, junk food disappeared. He continues to take the Youngevity products and he looks great without strenuous exercise. I hope this will help you. Take a look at this from Dr. Joel Wallach: People with major depression have marked depletions in long chain omega-3 EFAs and particularly in DHA in the membranes of their cells. Food allergies, environmental sensitivities, hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia are the major considerations. Testing for allergies can be accomplished using the pulse test and/or the diet diary and rotation elimination diet; the environmental sensitivities can be identified by the pulse test and avoidance/challenge tests; hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia require a six-hour GGT (be sure to record the emotions and behavior of the patient during the entire six hours – the numbers alone are not revealing in of themselves).
    Foods that are common offenders are cow’s milk, corn wheat, soy, rye and sugar; eTreatment should include chromium and vanadium at 500 mcg 4 times a day; autoimmune urine therapy for five to eight treatments; rotation or avoidance of offending foods, avoidance of sugar, caffeine, environmental allergens; essential fatty acids at 5 gm three times a day; niacin (B-3) 450 mg four times a day in time release tablets; B-1, B-5, B-6 each at 100 mg twice a day; DL-phenylalanine at 5 gms twice a day and choline at 250 mg twice a day. Plant-derived colloidal minerals that contain lithium may be useful. Environmental culprits include house dust, perfume, formaldehyde and makeup; on the glucose tolerance test the mania and/or depression may occur on the ascending or the descending arms of the curve so someone must stay with the patients and record emotions and events!

  34. Vicki says:

    Jenna…I hope you feel better soon. I completely agree that depression does suck! Take care of yourself and I hope you can sleep soon. :O)

  35. Just read this and it rings so true with me. I’ve suffered from bouts of depression at various stages and recognising when it’s approaching is something I’m so aware of. I had CBT and it really helped and now I have strategies for coping when it rears its ugly head. Look after yourself sweetie xx

  36. claire says:

    I’m so sorry to hear that you are struggling. There is an end to it but it can be such a slog getting there. All you can do is keep plodding on and it does lift. Eating properly and a bit of exercise everyday can help – it’s hard to beat yourself up when sweat is dripping off your nose and you’ve still got another 5 miles to do on the bike at the gym. Local authority gyms can be quite reasonable.
    Rather than sleeping pills I go to sleep naturally (very late), get up at a normalish time and then have an afternoon nap. It’s not brilliant but, for me, it’s better than the alternative. After being widowed my sister found herbal remedies helped her sleep, but check with your doctor for interactions, and my youngest sister uses homeopathic remedies which, of course, have no side effects .
    Quite a few years ago a lady called Margaret Tebbit was totally paralysed when the IRA blew up a hotel containing many members of the then government, including her husband. I believed that, after many years, she has regained very limited use of her hands but that is all. She has also suffered from severe depression. She was asked, on the radio, which she would prefer to be cured of – the depression or the paralysis – and she said her depression because she found it so awful to suffer from, that it was harder to bear than the paralysis.
    Try to remember the bad stuff in your head is the depression talking and it hides away all the good stuff so life does appear terrible, I know I felt as if I was the world’s greatest failure ever, but that will lift with the depression and that’s a promise!
    Take care and look after yourself.

  37. SewLindaAnn says:

    I’m not sure if my issue is bipolar or just plain OCD/Depression but it seems that on the down cycle (1 – ? days) I just have to rest and go with it because I can’t move my body or release my mind, and believe me I try. On the good days when I can focus, listen, hear and accomplish I get as much done as I can, I guess I get sort of maniacal sometimes. I’ve been reading the comments, and suggestions are always good to hear and try, even though everyone’s chemistry is different. I exercise as often as I feel good enough, play tennis, take anxiety meds to take the edge off, but I live for the good days when I feel like a completely different person and sleep is a wonderful rejuvenating thing. Those days where the night goes on forever can be painful to bear, but know there’s a lot of us out here with you. Too bad everyone couldn’t exchange phone numbers – we’d eat up the phone lines at 3 a.m. Take Care.




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