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Sometimes You Can Do All the Right Things ...

It probably hit me yesterday when I was watching President Obama address reporters after the bill for strengthening background checks and closing loopholes failed in the Senate. All the sad, familiar faces behind him -- either victims of gun violence or had lost a loved one to it, coupled with the round-the-clock, often incorrect reporting coming out of the Boston Marathon bombing. 

It hit me how even after I turned the TV off and went to do something, anything else, the feeling still lingered. It was there when I went to the gym to work out. When I ate my oatmeal in the morning. When I combed my hair. Even when I spent time with others I should have been enjoying.

I was depressed. And I didn't know why. After all, I was doing all the right things.

I was staying active and engaged. I was leaving the house every other day. I was eating breakfast, lunch and dinner. I was exercising. I was taking my medication at the same time every night. I was getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep. Managing my Bipolar Disorder goes hand-in-hand with me being healthy and taking good care of myself. Yet, the infinite sadness of both everything and nothing in particular was gripping me and dragging me down.

I always say there's no way to get around a problem but to go through it. And so that's what I do. I push myself when I exercise even though it feels tedious and smelly and painful and boring. And I keep making sure my needs are met. I do breathing exercises when I feel a twinge of anxiety coming on. And I try to keep writing, even though it's the last thing I wanted to do. Because all I wanted to write about was this, that pointless feeling, compounded with the sadness of others, causing inertia. 

Sitting on the doctor's couch, I told him I had no real reason to be sad. I was working on a book. I have lots of friends. I've started dating again. My family supports and adores me. I've never looked better or been healthier. Yet, I was sinking deeper and deeper into the land of "why bother." Why bother going to the gym? Or putting on make-up? Or combing my hair? Or going out? Or writing on the blog? Or writing for anyone? Or working on my TV show or book or planning my trip to New York later this month? 

But rather than reduce myself to eating garbage and watching reality TV all day, I slug on. Even though it is dull and tedious and feels pointless. I keep going through it and going forward because the alternative is to let the depression win and it doesn't get a say in my life anymore. I'm going to live it. 

Whether I "like" it or not.

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Reader Comments (5)

I was recently diaganosed with depression last year. What I had to learn to do, for my own sanity, was to face the fact that depression made me depend on God and my fam/ friends more. Something I never really did. I was always trying to do it on my own, push through on my own. Another thing I had to get myself to remember and I say it like a mantra is that this depression is NOT me. That it is something that is happening in my brain, and I can let it take all of the joy out of life or I can remind myself what I am greatful for, why I love my life, what I am doing to improve it, and more importantly that the depression is not me, it is temporary and will pass. It always seems to show up when everything is going well, when you are getting it together, almost like a reminder that you should not have these blessings happening to you, right? It is not you. Have a good cry, and then let it sweep in, let it do its thing, try to detach and remind yourself over and over that it is NOT you, it is temporary, that you are wonderful, and God is blessing you, reach out to your friends and fam and ask for help, pray. I will pray for you too.

April 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNikita

No idea what to say. I went through major depression for three years, but I was able to come through it and not have to keep re-fighting those battles. I think you are amazingly strong a resilient even though you may not think so. Keep slogging and keep reminding yourself that there is a better day - you have been there before and you will be there again.

In the meantime please let us know if there's anything that we can do! If you need whiny masses begging for your words we can do that. We can also just shut up and send you love and hugs and hope that soon you'll be able to feel them.

April 18, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterg

Thanks for the kind words, guys. I'm getting better everyday, but this week was a tough week.

April 18, 2013 | Registered CommenterDanielle Belton

I am also bipolar. It seems that no matter what I do, I always have a couple of serious depressive episodes a year, when I have to work really hard to not kill myself. I finally found a mood stabilizer that sort of works, but it greatly increases my appetite. I packed on 20 pounds in the last month. But I still believe that I have to stay on the treadmill of life. My family needs me. My husband loves me. I have moments of joy and contentment. I try to hold on those when I feel myself sliding into the dark. Thank you for sharing.

April 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

What you just wrote describes my experience to a perfect T. I was never really able to put it into words. I'm saving this as motivation. Thank you.

April 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymouS
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