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I've just gone through ten days of depressive hell. I've been suicidal, had med changes, seen the good Dr., and laid in bed for four out of the ten days just wishing I would die. Today thankfully I'm feeling a bit of relief. But with that comes a new set of interesting tidbits. First of all, the people that have been waiting to see you smile see you smile and think you are "all better". Then suddenly there are regular expectations. ALL BETTER! THANK GOODNESS THAT'S OVER! WHAT A HORRIBLE TEN DAYS! Nuh uh. I'm only half here, folks. I'm still very fragile. And it surprises even me how much I push myself that FIRST day out of bed. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I need to sllllllow down and take it easy for a few more days so I don't relapse or worse, go hypomanic. This disease is nutty. I'm a nut. I just basically wanted to vent. My husband just got home from working out of town for a week, so my mom and grandma took care of me while he was gone when I was at my worst. So he's seeing me, thinking I'm "just fine". Not so, my friend. But how to let him know that, you know? I'm done rambling. Thanks for listening.

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I understand what you're saying. I'm just crawling out of the other end - a manic episode that jumped very fast into a psychotic break and involved all sorts of nasty things which I'd rather not go into here. I'm bruised - literally - from walking into walls and furniture, and embarrassed by the things I'm told I said and did (I remember none of it). I'm clinging on by my fingernails to avoid being admitted into hospital again, but I know that I'm still not well and that that's probably the best place for me right now.

Thing is, I'm sounding coherent (or at least, I think so - god knows what other people are hearing when I speak) and I've heard several times "oh, you're looking SO much better blah blah". My family simply can't get a grip on the idea that I can't just snap out of this in a few days, and I am still confused about where I am in the week and what time it should be and so on.

We're a mass of contradictions really - in my case over the years I've certainly become very good at maintaining a "normal or sensible" face, but what's really going on inside is a giant fuckup that builds and builds until I can't contain it anymore. And once it's "out there", it's not a matter of just pushing the lid back down on the pressure cooker and returning to regular programming. I'm scared at what's just happened to me - what is STILL happening to me - I'm confused and disorientated and very fragile, but I'm going ahead and slapping on that smile you referred to above because it makes everyone else feel better.

Now I'm rambling. <sigh> I guess I just wanted you to know that I "get" where you're at, even if I have been hanging around at the manic - psychotic end of the spectrum right now.

best wishes

Mia

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I'm right there with you. I'm recovering from a nasty depression with a lot of anxiety, and while I am substantially better, I still feel like I'm made out of glass and one good blow would shatter me into a million pieces. I want so badly to be all the way back, but I have to accept the fact that I'm not, and it may be a long time until I am.

Anyway, I get it, and I hope you are feeling less and less fragile every day.

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I know how you feel - exactly how you feel. The people around me give me that, "so it's all over now" line all of the time! grrr. They have no idea that there is a recovery period from major episodes. I mean, if I'd spent days in bed recovering from a major illness, would I be expected to spring up the next day and go about my business? If I had broken my leg and had a cast on it for weeks, would I be expected to go running about the day the cast was off? No! There are recovery periods for *everything*! People need to get that. Just because someone is walking and talking in what is perceived to be a normal manner does not mean that everything is honky-dory.

However, the people around me only know what I tell them. I found that out the hard way. If I give the standard, "I'm fine" to their questions then they will think that I am "fine" and treat me accordingly. It took a near death experience to pound that lesson into my head. People don't see the signs unless they are pointed out to them - no matter how much we want them to. Therefore when someone says, "I'm glad you're feeling better" or "so it's all over now" after an episode, I reply with, "I'm feeling better, but it's not over yet." Same as I would for the flu or anything else that might lay me out like that.

Enough of my rambling. I just wanted to tell you that I feel you. I'm tired (took my Seroquel early tonight) and not quite focused, but I understand where you're coming from.

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Thanks for understanding, all. It just doesn't seem like people get it. What I personally didn't realize is that if I have a seemingly "good" day it could be followed by a mindcrushing "bad" day of depression. I guess I thought as you get better you keep getting better and better. Not so, as I've found out. This shit takes patience, of which I have none. I'm sick of laying in bed while my children occupy themselves. I know...go for a walk. I don't fucking want to. I can read them books, I left the house twice yesterday to run errands, so that was good, but today...I don't feel like looking in a mirror much less getting my makeup on and dressed. The dishes have piled up and so has the laundry. So I need to get on that today. Sorry for this turning into a rant all about me. I've just never been this depressed before. I've always been in a mixed state. This hardcore depression is damn near unbearable. Ugh.

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What I personally didn't realize is that if I have a seemingly "good" day it could be followed by a mindcrushing "bad" day of depression. I guess I thought as you get better you keep getting better and better.

-----

I've just never been this depressed before. I've always been in a mixed state. This hardcore depression is damn near unbearable. Ugh.

hey, I've been following this thread since you posted it and I'm sorry that I didn't respond because I know what that feels like, bigtime. I just couldn't think of anything helpful to say (and I'm not so sure that I'll be that helpful now anyway) besides 'been there, done that, sent a postcard-- just hang on, it gets better.

so-- heregoes.

as a 'unipolar' gal, depression is the only extreme I've had to deal with and I'm sorry that you've been introduced to it (but congrats for avoiding it so long, if you know what I mean).

I've hit a lot of shades of gray along the way to that deep saturated black and have discovered that when you're on your way back from that dark hopeless seeming place with no light, you have to go back through that whole grayscale again before you can expect technicolor. You know those old hand-colored black and white photos? Where they painted in rosy cheeks for the girls and blue denim shirts for the boys-- to make the harsh black and white seem more lifelike? That's kinda like the world on the way up from depression, there's some color but it's still not anywhere damn near reality even if we'd like to fool ourselves into thinking it is.

Does that make sense? I guess with BP things tend to happen faster than with my quicksand paced depression, but don't give yourself the unreasonable expectation of getting better all at once and in a straight line. There are bumps, hiccups, stumbles, skipping, falling and hopping involved with coming back from a deep depression and as much as we'd like it to be a nice even, linear progression charted on a graph (just like our loved ones would like to think it is)-- it's more like drawing that graph on a magna-doodle: you can try and try to get yourself a nice diagonal line, but there are gonna be some bumps along the way that you have to deal with and move on from because nobody wants to have to shake the damn thing clean and start over when they're already halfway across. Expect the jagged line and take your time and it'll be a much smoother ascent.

I don't know where all of these horrible analogies are coming from, sorry ;)

I'm just saying that if you don't give yourself some time and slack, then nobody else is going to either.

It's really really hard to deal with everyone's 'oh-you're-better-now--good' expectations, I know, I've had a lot of practice putting on a happy face to make life easier for everyone else, but in the long run it just makes it harder for you and sets everyone up for a rough time and unrealistic goals-- also, if you ever hit depression like this again (hopefully not!) then everyone will have the ammo of 'well-last-time-you-did-just-fine' and you're trapped into all of those expectations all over again because that's the way it's been done in the past.

Like others have said, as much as people around us (especially family, spouses, best friends, etc.) *should* be able to read us and *know* that something is still wrong-- for the most part, you have to tell them because they'd much rather believe that you're 'all better' and not in any more pain. They'll (usually unconsciously) ignore all of your signs because they love you and hate seeing you hurt. I still have a hard time talking myself out of 'but-he-should-KNOW-I'm-not-"fine"' trap but you'll make recovery a lot easier if you spell it out for them: R-E-C-O-V-E-R-Y.

not miracle. recovery.

Okay, I've been typing this for like years now, lol, so I'm gonna shush and put myself to bed. I hope that I didn't sound preachy or like I've got it all figured out, but I wanted to cover the most that I could since you're a majorfreakinghardcoredepression-newbie. I would love to think that you could benefit from my experience (last really bad analogy coming up, this one is horrible, brace yourself)-- it'd be great if all that crap I've been through could be used as fertilizer rather than just being stuck to the bottom of my shoe forever.

(bah! see! bad analogy :) )

Hope you're feeling better and can be kind to yourself,

meg

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Meg,

I don't know how you fucking get through it. I honestly don't...and thank you for answering me, and helping me, and the analogies. They were all perfect and just what I needed to hear. Thank you thank you thank you. This is the pits. I'm usually hypomanic with tiny dips of depression, nothing major, so this has about sent me over the edge, and I mean that literally. Thanks again.

-Mary

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meg i'd also like to say thanks for that post, even though it wasn't for me ;)

i really needed to hear it too although i didn't think i did.

mary, i hope things start looking more colourful soon. you're doing you're best and you'll get there when you get there. if you know anyone with a pair of rose-coloured glasses it might help, but other than that i don't know what else to suggest but patience. hahaha i know. i don't have any either.

thanks to you both for talking about this.

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Meg,

I don't know how you fucking get through it. I honestly don't...

-----

this has about sent me over the edge, and I mean that literally.

mary,

this might seem stupid, but one sort of mantra type phrase that helps me through those times is to 'keep on keepin' on' -- do you know tangled up in blue by bob dylan? I have some of my favorite lines down in my signature...but I think that phrase sums it up for me..the best and only thing that you can do is to keep on keeping on. one hour, one day, one week at a time.

the other thing that I always need to remind myself is that it is TEMPORARY. this feeling, whatever awfulness is going on right now is really just going on now-- not forever and relief will happen.

as good as it is to keep your goals in sight and look forward to the future-- I feel like at a certain point in recovery, when the worst has passed, it's also very important to realize that the moment that you have now isn't fundamentally a throwaway moment that you need to ignore and plow through.

for all of the rough parts about 'right now'-- there might be something that you like/enjoy/notice/feel/observe today in this moment that wasn't there yesterday. I don't know if I'm making any sense at all. I do know that this kind of advice is completely un-useful at a certain level of depression and you need to be on the way back up to make the most of it-- so if this still sounds impossible then don't put extra pressure on yourself, you know?

but it's an idea for when you're in that gray area looking at your feet plodding forward. you can still keep walking but try to look around you at the same time, there might be some hints of color that you wouldn't notice if you're only concentrating on covering ground and not what's right next to you too.

my worst depression lasted for about ten weeks? I think? I know the worst of it (suicidal idealation, trying to self destruct in a number of harmful ways, staying in bed 23 out of 24 hours, taking sleeping pills because being awake was too painful and too much work..onandon) was at least a month and a half. God, I hope I never have to go there again. BUT even though it took a while to get some relief (which did come.) I had to just keep on keeping on-- I might only be able to do the minimum, but it couldn't last forever and I needed be around and living in order for it to go away and to be able to feel the weight lift.

sorry, I just turned this into a journal entry, didn't I?

all I really wanted to say was that you can make it, even if it's harder than what you've dealt with before, that doesn't mean that you aren't strong enough to come out the other side standing. keep on moving forward in whatever increment you can handle, it doesn't matter the pace, only that you don't give up on yourself. it will pass, you just gotta keep on keepin' on until then.

you're doing you're best and you'll get there when you get there. if you know anyone with a pair of rose-coloured glasses it might help, but other than that i don't know what else to suggest but patience. hahaha i know. i don't have any either.

god, the patience thing is hard, huh?

lol, you totally made me smile.

I'm glad you could get something out of my typingandtyping, I might have to read my own words someday if I hit depression again and need a reminder, but for right now I'm really really glad that they can do the same for you guys. I made it. you can too.

m

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Sorry, I just cruised through the answers, but I have to add that I know *exactly* how it feels. The "going for a walk" is crap. During some bad depressions I would try - try - to walk my kids to school. Then I would come home, feeling worse by the minute, and crawl under the covers. The only reason I would walk is that I felt too dangerous to drive.

I really hate the "oh whew, you're better now". The only one who knows the look in my eye is my tdoc. Thank god someone understands IRL.

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Meg,

Your kind and sincere response touched me. Thank you so much for your reply to not just me but to all who read it. I know exactly what you mean, and as the Cymbalta has been raised to 60 mg, and I usually am on the hypomanic side he said I should be cleanin the toilets with toothbrushes by the weekend. LOL! I have a bit of hope, but will take it very easy. He said if I had racing thoughts I should drop down to 30 mg Cymbalta and call him, as I go hypo on a dime. He said it was his error that he saw me depressed two and a half weeks ago and thought the Wellbutrin would do the trick, and he didn't protect me enough from the bottom falling out from under me. At least he takes some responsibility. He's an awesome doc, and wrote a very vague (not giving diagnoses), but serious short letter to the board of financial aid that said I had a sudden and extreme medical condition that prevented me from continuing on with my class due to advanced memory loss and lack of memory retention. Good, eh? He's awesome.

Anyway, Meg, and all of you who have replied have seriously kept me going. I go here when I wake up to see if anyone has posted any words of wisdom. You get me out of that freaking bed you guys. You are all so awesome. Thanks a bunch!

-Mary

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