I realise that over the course of these blogs I have picked out lots of different aspects of what it is to live with Manic Depression: Broken, Lonely, Empty, Angry, Frustrated and so on – but one of the worst is Self Loathing. Holding up a warped mirror and hating everything you see.
We all have days, moments, when we look at ourselves in the mirror and hate the person that they see there. For me one of the toughest things to live with is an ongoing hatred of me and everything I do. Think of that person you have to work with or is in your social circle who you have to put up with – I live with them every second of every day. At least during the real dips in mood that is. All bets are off during the darker moments. I may be wrong, but I think that this insular hatred is one of the things which drives people to the edge – to question their own existence.
You just don’t want to live with him. He’s overweight, unhealthy, miserable, moody, easily angered, unsociable, hyperactive, unfiltered and nasty. The excess weight is a combination of the medications and comfort eating – I eat because I’m miserable and vice versa. This in turn makes me unhealthy; I’m the heaviest I have ever been and more and more breathlessness and sweating occur through minimal movement. I’ve never been thin – and never will be – but I was never this big. Since taking these tablets I have put on around three stone. My will power only lasts around a month and I lose a good amount only to put it straight back on again .
The miserable thing is expected with the depressive side of the illness, but it never gets easier. No rose-tinted glasses – more like sunglasses, seeing the world in a darker hue and one lacking light. You constantly crawl into the darker corners and crevices to hide from the world, this in turn makes you anti-social and unable to function in company. Or even want to – I don’t want to see or hear anyone, I don’t want to talk about anything, I don’t care full stop. Imagine those “bad days” you occasional get and multiply it infinitely and you’re close to how it feels.
Then there are the issues at the other end when in a manic phase. You are short-tempered, impulsive and hyperactive – in short unpredictable. Dangerous in some ways. If others are relying on you, you can go off on tangents with “great ideas” and lose them, causing real issues. Your mouth is often ahead of your brain and you have no time to filter what you are saying – out come things that are not for public consumption. The filters are switched off and inappropriate words flow and through idiocy or anger they appear in the air to looks of shock, bemusement and disgust.
Who would want to be around someone like that, never mind be trapped with them inside a mind? Some days you wish you could switch yourself off, not wake up or remove that part of you. I understand how some people feel there is only one way out, a permanent solution to a problem they can’t live with anymore. There is a real danger of getting addicted to the manic phases as opposed to the depression – that freedom from social niceties and constrictions – but even they are difficult. You can either be halfway through a sentence and hear yourself, or you are completely unaware you’ve even said anything until ages later and then the guilt kicks in.
Living with all these emotions turned up to eleven you lose yourself. You try to find the “real you” in among all of it but it’s not always that easy. You are in a constant fight with yourself to stop all these conflicting issues – and the overall impact is that you hate yourself and are even scared of what you might do.