Mental tentacle

I don’t know about most people who suffer from bipolar disorder, but for me it’s kind of like your brain is a frog that’s slowly getting boiled alive but doesn’t realize it until it’s too late. One minute, I’m having these fantastic ideas that I know will make me a millionaire entrepreneur–I can crochet cat sweaters! Smell this perfume I made in my bathroom using perfuming alcohol and essential oils I spent $600 on at the local hipster organic foods store! I’ll just charge $25 for a 5 mL bottle, that ought to catch on quick.

When it doesn’t work out, if I’m still in a manic phase, I’ll just laugh and move on. If It just so happens to coincide with a depressive phase, my soul feels crushed. Even if I’m not mourning the death of one of my half-baked enterprises, the depressive stage for me is absolutely horrible. It mentally feels like my brain has been transported into a late 19th century Russian novel. Everything is bleak and completely hopeless. I contemplate suicide because feeling nothing and being nothing must be better than living through the hell of depression–even if it is completely imagined.

Depression is like a thin, black tendril that slowly creeps around my ankles, slithering up my body until it can stealthily lick its way up my neck and penetrate my head. Suddenly all the clear blue clarity through which all of my thoughts and ambitions are swimming are suddenly turned to an inky black mess. It’s mental tentacle rape–which sounds hilariously dark, and I suppose I am guilty of using humor to lighten the mood. Please note that I use the word humor very loosely, as if that wasn’t already obvious.

One of the hardest things about dealing with depression is how stupid and whiny you feel when you try to talk about it. It feels like it’s not that important in the scheme of all the terrible things that go on in the world. Some people are literally being eaten by lions in the plains of Africa. Literally. You would think that making a list of things that suck even more than depression would make you feel better, but guess what? It only makes you feel worse. You start looking up shit on the internet about people who have it worse off than you, and you get sucked into the wormhole of r/morbidreality (Reddit is a wonderfully awful phenomena) until you’re so depressed that you find yourself wanting to swerve your car off of a bridge as you’re driving home from getting toothpaste and milk at Wal-Mart. That is not a good place to be.

I have two amazing children who are handsome, smart and very funny. If it weren’t for them, I’m sure I would have canned it a long time ago. Honestly. They are the best things that have ever happened to me. They are my greatest contribution to society, and I’m okay with that. I live my life for them and I take so much joy in watching them grow and learn. I bake cookies with them, I do their homework with them every night and I go to their various plays and recitals. When I’m in a manic phase, I’ll turn our living room upside down and build forts out of our sofas and tents out of our dining set. I have a very patient, long-suffering husband who doesn’t fully  understand me, but he loves me enough to be supportive and knows when to slowly back away from one of my escapades.

When I’m depressed, I hug our children. I’ll just sit on the sofa, call them to me and hug them. We’ll just sit there and snuggle, and I’ll run my fingers through their soft, sweet-smelling hair and kiss their little fingers and their cherubic little faces, trying my best not to cry. They will ask my why I’m crying, and I’ll just say, “sometimes everyone feels sad; even grown-ups.” They’ll just smile and nod, then they’ll run off to play Minecraft or Hide and Seek while I try my best to pretend that I’m not completely insane.

When I was a child, I had a rough time. My Dad worked the night shift and wasn’t home very often. I am so grateful to him for working so hard to support my mother and I. I don’t blame him one bit. My mother, however, must have the same mental issues I do, if not worse. She finished college when I was 4, and I vividly remember her watching Johnny Carson on our little television and waking me up to see the animals. She was always busy. When she finished college, she never got a job. She decided to be a stay-at-home mom, which would have been great, except for the fact that she slept until 1 or 2 in the afternoon. She was chronically sick and morbidly obese. She took Codeine like it was candy and I remember tiptoeing through the house to grab a slice of bread to eat without waking her up. If she woke up, that’s when all hell would break loose. I still have PTSD from the bat-shit crazy things she did when I was little.  My worse fear is becoming my mother.  Right now, my PTSD is under good control, but sometimes I have to go back to square one and rein it in. For the most part, I feel like my PTSD is akin to a pack of sled dogs that I have to steer through life. At this point, they’re well trained and pretty much do what I tell them to. Sometimes, if I’m not diligent in keeping myself in line, they can turn into feral wolves that start wallerin’ around with each other like a giant, fanged cluster fuck of madness. Man, forget Sharknado, try Rabid PTSD Wolf Cluster Fuck. They can breathe air, at least.

If you’re suffering from depression or any other mental illness, for God’s sake, please don’t hole yourself up with your young children and suffer silently.  You are mentally unstable and you run the risk of using them as a punching bag–physically, verbally or mentally–intentionally or otherwise.  If you knew you were a Type I Diabetic, would you watch over your children if you didn’t have any insulin?  It’s the same thing here.  If you don’t have a fall back plan to keep your mental health in check, things can go to hell in a flash.  Get some help or get someone else to look after them while you get yourself together. There should be no shame in that.  Don’t get me started on the fucked up biases society has toward mental illness.  I could write an epistle.  Thankfully in my case my grandmother eventually ended up letting me live with her when I was a teenager, but I’m pretty sure she would have taken me in earlier if she knew how bad it got. My mom’s not totally to blame, but as all of us with a case of the crazies understands, you have to own your behavior and choices before you can heal yourself.

In summary, I have no fucking clue what the point of this was. Maybe I’m hoping that someone currently dealing with depression/bipolar disorder/PTSD will read this and feel like they’re not so alone anymore. See that place down there where you can leave a comment? I read those. Also, I wish you the best. If you don’t have kids like I do, maybe you have a friend who you can talk to. If not, try calling 1-800-273-8255. They’re professionals and they’ll help you in any way they can. They’ll listen. Thank you for listening to (reading) me.


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