For the most part, I consider my depression/anxiety to be fairly stable. In other words, I’m always generally depressed/anxious, and I have a few panic attacks throughout the week. It’s routine, I guess. But there are moments throughout the year where I lean more towards the bipolar disorder spectrum.
One week feels like I’m playing Mario Kart and I hit a speed boost: I’m on the up-up-up; I’m singing nonsense songs; I’m dancing around the house; and, I’m happy, but not in a “normal” way–in a manic, I’m about to crash into a wall way. And I wish during this time I could just be carefree, but in the back of my mind I’m always thinking about the inevitable crash.
Last week was my “up” week, and I was on the social go-go-go: I went to a friend’s game night Monday, a birthday party Tuesday, attended a beer tasting, did an interview, went camping, played a five-hour D&D session, and RSVP’d for a three-hour ziplining/hiking adventure.
And, as you might have guessed, I crashed. Monday I woke up feeling like I had been visited by a Dementor from Harry Potter. I was drained. I had no motivation. I kept wondering about the point of it all. I didn’t want to see anyone. I barely talked to my husband. And it’s the end of the week now as I write this, and honestly I’m still deep in the same fog.
Like I said, this type of extreme roller-coastering effect doesn’t happen to me often, but I wish I knew how to better manage it when it does. Part of me wonders: if I do less social activities during my “up” time, maybe I won’t feel so drained during my “down” time. The other part of me says: no, do MORE social activities, because this is the only time you feel like doing stuff, and if you score enough social events now, then you won’t have to go to anything for awhile.
It’s exhausting. I’m exhausted.
If you have any advice on how to get through those extreme up-and-down periods, I’d love to hear from you.
I did come across this comic on Tumblr that made me feel some hope. Sometimes, it’s just nice to hear from someone or see something that makes you feel a little less alone. So, as the last panel of the comic depicts, here I go, tossing on my armor in preparation for my next battle of the mind.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” | Ephesians 6:10
If you have a story about mental illness—whether personal or concerning a loved one—please consider sharing your experience. Even if you aren’t at a place yet where you feel comfortable disclosing your name, the church body needs your voice. Let’s shine a light on the darkness, together.