EXPLAINING MANIC DEPRESSION TO MY LOVED ONES:
Manic Depression is very difficult to live with –both to suffer from it, or to be affected by it. It also comes with a stigma, which those with Manic Depression feel forced to wear like a shame they have to conceal. Had we been afflicted by a socially acceptable illness such as diabetes, we would simply say: I have diabetes. And everyone would become sympathetic, and ask what type we have and how we are coping and if there is anything they could do to help us? But we don’t have a PHYSICAL illness. We have a MENTAL illness, so we cannot just say: I have Manic Depression. Because then people are scared of us, not sympathetic towards us.
So, what does Manic Depression feel like?
Some of the time, it feels like nothing. My emotions are relatively neutral, and I can adjust to and function in the same environment as any ‘normal’ human being could.
But then at other times, it isn’t so neutral. It is a little happier. I want to say a bit more when in conversation, stay out a while longer when socialising and interact more openly when in crowds.
Until suddenly I am a LOT happier. I don’t want to keep quiet; I garrulously speak a mile a minute and want to mingle with every single person whose path I cross, engage everyone in frivolous small talk or deeply intimate heart-to-hearts…
I want to go EVERYWHERE
And do ALL OF THE THINGS
all of the time!
Everything I do is spontaneous, and very impetuous. I make impulsive decisions, I act without inhibition…
And make extravagant plans for events in the future.
I look great. I feel great. I do great. I probably am great!!
I am a well of strength to all of those around me, and spread a seemingly infinite source of love and encouragement to everyone that I encounter.
I have the most fantastic ideas, and enough stamina to start any project that I put my mind to…
Which works out fantastically, because I cannot sleep at night so I have PLENTY of time to finish any and everything, right…?
Until I slowly stop wanting to do anything. At all. Anywhere. For any reason.
I communicate much less, and replace long nights out with endless days in, confined alone in my bed.
My well of love and support has run dry…
And it feels like I have fallen into the bottom of it.
Everything is dark and cramped and constricting,
And I am mostly alone with my own thoughts
But I WANT to be this way.
Both mind and body are destroyed from my mental fall, and don’t want to get up, nor change out of these pajamas. They’ve accepted me as their own. And all I need right now is to be accepted.
Maybe I eat a whole cake at once
Maybe I eat nothing at all
Maybe I shower
I probably won’t
All I know is, I may have had the stamina to run a marathon last week,
And I may have made well-meaning plans –
BUT I CAN’T FOLLOW THROUGH WITH ANY OF THAT TODAY.
And I might not be able to tomorrow, either.
In fact, I might not be able to for quite a while…
But eventually, I will be neutral again.
And then manic, too.
And depressed once more.
All that I ask… And all that we need…
Is that you try to understand. And if you cannot understand,
At the very least
LOVE US THROUGH IT ALL, ANYWAY ❤