Monday, December 19, 2011

The dangers of nothing

Every now and then I'll focus a blog on my bipolar. It's such an engrained component of my being it can't be ignored. It deserves and craves as much attention as everything in my life. If not more. And this may not make sense. But bear in mind, I'm in a severe depression.

I never see them coming. The episodes. They sneak up. But when they make their presence known it's too late and I am at their mercy. You would think after 37 years by now I would be able to spot them a mile away. Maybe the brain just becomes too weak and unable to recognize them; depression, mania, hypo-mania and psychosis.

Today I feel nothing. I call it the Nothing Feeling. There is no happiness. No joy. No sadness. Not even depression. Absolutely nothing. Calling it depression gives it no justice. Today I do not want to exist. I don't want to die either.

Thinking is all but non-existent. Have you ever tried to think feeling nothing? It's impossible. What minimal thinking I can muster up is reduced to thinking how you don't want to do anything.

And that's what I do. Nothing. Exhaustion has set in and even rolling over in the bed I have secluded myself to is a chore. It is where I have spent most of the day with low music in the background. I listen to Standards 90% of time and it seems to fit the occasion. It's just to have something fill my mind.

And my depression brings on another threat. The reemergence of my eating disorder. Food becomes my enemy. It has been reduced to a collection of numbers. Numbers that can add up and work against me. The disorder becomes my comfort and my distress. It plagues me on a constant schedule. It whispers in ears, "Don't eat that. You're not hungry."

When I am depressed, this regular world is bleak and un-inviting. I want no part of it with its lack of prospects for joy ever again empty, black. But, the same world, when I am manic, seems a wonderful playground which my slightest whim becomes law with no consequences.

I have the most severe form of bipolar, Bipolar 1 rapid cycling, mixed with psychotic features. I take two cocktails of medications a day attempting to keep me stable. Sometimes it's not enough. As unpredictable as bipolar is, so is the body. In particular the brain. It changes and responds in any different ways to the same stimuli.

My depressions can become lethal. An army of suicidal thoughts can take over my brain as if to conquer. This particular feature I have learned to spot its presence. I can hear it coming. Yet, I am unable to stop them. I can merely distract them. Distract them with business. If I keep distract them they are unable to succeed at their mission.

Treating bipolar depression is probably the most difficult part of bipolar treatment. Treatment for a serious episode of bipolar depression is different to the best treatment for serious bipolar mania. To complicate things, when a person is stable and no longer is experiencing either episode, then their bipolar maintenance will almost always be different again.

I take two of the most powerful and top medications. One for my mania, Lithium, and one for my depression, Lamictal, along with a typical antidepressant. At the highest dosage possible ceasing to take my Lithium is not an option. It is what keeps me the most stable. Lamictal on the other hand is the leading drug to treat depression in bipolar and is sometimes used in conjunction with another antidepressant.

Ironically, the very drug I take to save me is capable of killing me. Lithium is a sodium and powerful poison. Too little is not enough. Too much is deadly.

I am determined to climb out of this darkness and to escape the Nothing. I know it is the bipolar and just one of dirty tricks it plays on me. I rely on God who gives me the strength. Who reminds me who I am and where I belong. I rely on my wife, who in her patience comforts me and builds me up.

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Where my inspiration comes from

A Recycled-Dad with Bipolar & Parkinson's, reflections on fathering and family life and other stuff thrown in'll love my Soap Box Rants

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Why I call myself a Recycled Dad

I call myself a Recycled Dad because of the struggles with remarriage and being a step-parent and weekend dad. This is also about my life living with bipolar and how it affects me personally, my family and my job. It also reflects on the grace God has poured out on me throughout recovery from alcohol and an eating disorder. Recycled Dad is about my reflections on the wisdom God teaches daily on fatherhood and being a better husband in spite of being bipolar.

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