When I started this blog I wanted primarily to see how my mood was and how my bi-polar disorder impacted on my life. One aspect of the illness and the medications that I’ve never written about is the feeling of “nothingness”. A complete void in your life where emotions don’t go. Good or bad news, you just feel nothing. And it’s not a pleasant experience when you analyse it. It makes you come across as heartless and uncaring when actually you just don’t react emotionally due to the chemical make-up of your head at that point.
Anger, confusion or feeling down is an easy thing to do something about – you can react to those kinds of emotions and behaviours, but how do you battle against a numbness? You can be told something and instead of reacting in the socially expected way, you shrug, grunt agreement or just consider the logical aspect of the problem. You are drained of empathy and sympathy and just have a practical response. And that’s tough for those round you.
It’s almost a sense of helplessness you have without the anxiety. And it causes problems. During discussions about tough issues your reactions and conversation appears to be cold and obviously in a marriage that kind of reaction is not looked positively upon. You don’t mean to be an arse but it’s just the way I feel just now. Like so much else connected to my head it happens before I realise – or even well after the event I am called out retrospectively – about my callousness.
There is nothing of interest in life for much of my days. Little to bring a smile to my face, or something that give you a real high. Music is one of the saving graces for me where I can give up all inhibitions and perform to rooms of people up for a party, but then it only lasts as long as the performance does. After the event the same cloak of don’t-give-a-fuck is back on. You can’t explain to others who aren’t musical the rush you get when performing, but it’s finite.
Family is the same. I love my family and wife with all of my heart but there are those moments where I just want to withdraw from them and be on my own. I just don’t get much pleasure these days from anything. I’m glad I don’t drink anymore because I can see how that could become a too comfortable crutch upon which I would lean to find those highs and moments of freedom.
Taking antidepressants lifts my mood, but it can’t be lifted too much as I could fall into the mania. I also have mood stabilisers to stop me spiking into that same mania so with me being squashed both top and bottom I am left with a middle-ground of mediocrity. The choice is simple stop taking tablets that allow me to enjoy, feel free to express myself and emote fully – or continue to function “normally” and reduce risk of getting myself in trouble across the board.
Overall, it’s like I’m just bored with life. Not in a way that makes me want to do anything stupid, but in a way that makes me wonder if I need to find new ways to excite and challenge myself. Perhaps it’s also part of getting older and the monotony of routine that can get to anyone with or without mental illness. Before I was on medication I would feel those highs and lows, moments of sadness, peaks of elation…now i struggle to find the humanity in things I really should.
My consultant is starting to play with the meds I’m on, so hopefully there might be some movement in the coming weeks and months that will allow me to find more diverse emotions. I need an accent colour to help lift the magnolia wall I find myself surrounded by at the moment. Something to spark me back to life; to live instead of just existing. I just don’t know what will be, but I hope I find it soon.