I thought maybe it was time to address the other side of my bipolar. I’ve seemed to forget it recently, as I think I may be in my longest stretch ever without it. But depression has plagued me nearly my whole adult life.
Depression has just always been with me. Like a purse. I just carry it around. Keep all my things in it. Freak out if I lose it.
I’ll recall my most recent depression. Mostly because it was my most severe, but also because Im not sure I would be able to remember the others very well. I always wrote them off. I knew what they were, I’ve felt then on and off (mostly on) for at least 10 years.
My last depression started in April of 2010. I can tell you the second it started. It was the second I read my positive pregnancy test.
I had worked my butt off and lost 50 lbs. Granted, it was during a suspected hypomanic episode, that had followed another serious depression…
I was learning to be happy with my body. We had just bought our first home. We had just made the decision to leave the marine corps. I had just figured out how to effectively manage 2 children (then ages 2.5 and 17 months). It was unplanned. Yeah, I was on birth control – but it was the mini pill that only worked when you’re nursing, and (!!!) I had stopped nursing 4 months prior. Whoops. I forgot I wasn’t taking the “regular” pill.
And Im not kidding when I say it took me at least 10 months to figure out how I got pregnant while on birth control.
I spent the next 9 months loathing life, more and more every day. Im certain that part of my depression was due to my fear of developing the same health problems I had with my first two pregnancies (pre-eclampsia). Both of my babies had ended up in the NICU and I was certain that this third one would too.
I would think:
-Im hurting this baby by having it.
-Im going to get little to no sleep. Again.
-My life is over.
-My body is going to stretch out. Again.
-This baby is going to be sick, and its my fault.
-I don’t want this baby.
I actually found myself hoping for a miscarriage. I had no emotional connection to the baby. I started becoming concerned that I wouldn’t have a connection with the baby when it came out, or that it could feel my hostility towards it and would be an angry little person.
My sex drive changed. I had less and less of one every month, and by the time the baby was born, I really didn’t want to have sex.
I had a lot of anxiety, and a lot of trouble sleeping. Even with my ambien. There were many nights when I had to take 2 to go to sleep (20mg).
At my lowest point in the pregnancy, I was laying in bed, angry that I was pregnant and couldn’t sleep. I imagined going into the baby’s room and stabbing myself im the uterus (That’s right. Not just the belly) and then coming back to our bedroom and throwing myself out of our window (2 stories up). Whoa.
I never took any steps toward this. Only daydreamed about it.
Another scary point is that for about 9 months after he was born, every time I would drive over a bridge with my kids in the car, I would daydream about driving off if it.
Eventually, my beautiful baby boy was born. I couldn’t get out of that no matter how hard I daydreamed. I fell in love the moment I saw him. I never got sick. This made me love him even more. He was the baby that proved to me that my body could function properly.
I’ve had a different kind of relationship with him than the others. I guess because he’s the baby . And he very well might be the last.
So even though I loved him when he came out (thank God), my depression continued with poor sleep, extreme loss of patience, increased irritability, disgust with sex.
Eventually my husband tired of it and insisted I start taking my zoloft again (I had gone off of it early in the pregnancy). I did, and a few short weeks later I spun into my worst hypomanic episode to date.
I didn’t take my depressions very seriously. Maybe because I’d grown so used to them. Maybe because they’d never posed a real threat to my life. I can guarantee you now that I will. I know I don’t have to live that way. That’s fixable. Its not something I just have to put up with.
And I had a valid concern when I was diagnosed: if that was my lowest low yet, and the hypomanic episode that nearly cost me my marriage was my highest high…what happens next? I was (and still am to a degree) genuinely concerned that the next depression I have would lead to self harm.
I don’t think it will anymore. I’m working really hard on being observant, seeing my therapist
too much, and am medicated. Plus, I’ve got the best possible teammate working with me to keep me healthy 😉