Tuesday, September 07, 2010

I'm pretty depressed

I'm pretty damn down at the moment. Not just a little slump - its been lingering for a few weeks now, with no real end in site. Yes, I know its a chemical thing - hey, I've got BiPolar Disorder, remember - but there's always other factors involved too. My life is going prety well at the moment, so I've done a bit of soul searching to try dig up some possible factors contributing to my current state of lethargy and apathy:


I'm the world's worst recluse. Running a website from home, that requires zero interaction with anybody else other than the odd formal email, means that most weeks I don't get to see anybody other than Miss L and Mrs M. Don't get me wrong - I designed it like this. I'm a person that has to have very long periods completely on their own (maybe its the creative streak), but I've succeeded so well now with my business that I could keel over tomorrow and nobody in my working world would probably notice for 3 weeks. 

Furthermore I do not find socialising easy. If I've had a few drinks it is bearable, sometimes even enjoyable, but most of the time I'm right out of my comfort zone. For a long time I thought social media was my saviour giving me the ability to stay in my electronic-cottage comfort zone, and still be in touch with old friends. But these days that's just depressing me too. I'm finding Facebook, and particularly Twitter very hollow at the moment. Just shouting out into the great void. Getting pointless.


I once saw a therapist that said one can easily get addicted to stress. Trust me, I hate stress, and have had way too many stressful situations to deal with in the past 10 years. But a total lack of stress, where I'm finding myself now, is very excitement-draining. My business is ticking along nicely (almost on auto-pilot actually). The financial pressure we were under for years has lifted. Miss L is also thriving, doing really well at school and about to leave home at the year end. Yes, its been a winter of log-fires at night, a glass of good red wine, and a good novel. Mrs M sat down next to me in front of the fire the other night and said "do you think we'll be sitting here like this when we are 70?". She said it, hoping that we would, but it suddenly struck me: Is this it now?  Have we arrived? Is this what I've been working towards my whole life?

Contentment and depression, I'm realising are not that distantly related. I've come to this realisation more than once before. Having just done a search on this blog for the "contentment" keyword - I found these 2 very old posts about the exact same thing: Contentment and Two kinds of Happiness. As a very old reader of this blog once said: "contentment isn't very motivating is it?"

Stopping weed

I'm not sure if everybody noticed but for 6 months up to about May this year - I was smoking weed at least twice a week. It was my magic-bullet. If I felt energyless, all I had to do is have a hit on my bong, and I'd have boundless energy for the rest of the day. In fact a kind of residue energy would even hover around for the next 2 days. It had lots of benefits. For one thing I started running regularly again. Put 5 joints in my pocket and I reckon I could run the Comrades Marathon. Honestly. And I feel no pain. (I actually ended up injuring my knee by running for hours and hours when it wasn't totally fit).

It's a fact that with psychiatric medication, people all react differently. One man's wine is another woman's poison. So too with psychotropics. I didn't get any of the "mellow out and hit the munchies" vibe. No, I got totally hyper and actually lost my appetite (a much appreciated side effect which attacked some of my flab).

The problem was that I actually got too hyper. A little paranoid actually. That's why I used to run. Running when you are paranoid is actually very comforting. When I told Mrs M once that I could run a marathon stoned, she remarked that I'd be too paranoid with all those people. "But that's exactly it" I countered "do you know how fast and far you can run when you are parnoid"

But then the knee injury came and my physio actually advised me to take it easy when stoned, and so I started getting very angsty and fidgety when stoned. I still ran, but could only run for half an hour. So I started drinking. A lot. I had too have the alcohol after smoking a joint. Absolutely had to, just to take the edge of the angst. Mrs M and I got to fighting a lot about it. And one Sunday in late May I got really trashed - to the stumbling and pass-out stage. I haven't had a joint since.

The funny thing is I don't want a joint. I don't miss it one bit. When I look back, I can see that those long, paranoid and conflict-laden days (with Mrs M) were a kind of torture in a way.

Fortunately I'm still running twice a week. But I'm definitely feeling less in control of my energy levels now. When I get lethargic for days at a time, there is currently no solution but to wait it out. A puff of a bong and I would be bursting with energy, I know, but right now (and for the forseeable future) I'll take the energyless semi-contentment above the dope induced hyper-agitation any day.

 What I'm saying though is that weed withdrawal is definitely a factor in my current lull.

Wow... long post. I'll give you a break now. There are more reasons too, but I'll get to those in the next post.


  1. When you are depressed the isolation you fought for becomes your worst enemy. You are left with your depressive thoughts with nothing to distract your mind and give you a break from the hole you are digging. You know for sure that after you have endured the dark miserable storm, at the bottom of your hole, the clouds will part and the sun will shine once more.

    BPG. You MUST continue to exercise. Exercise will lift you more in the long term than any accelerated high from outside chemical agencies.

    I am going to take this time to share a few problems of my own with you. “A problem shared is a problem halved.” It will be at least a small distraction from your isolation 

    I woke up at 1:45am this morning. I was awake but thinking that I must fight with my mind and pretend I am still asleep as I knew the journey my mind was on and where it can end. I eventually got out of bed at 3:15am realising that I can’t get my mind to stop and it is time to find some other distraction. I went on to the Internet and did my usual routine of checking emails and checking the Bi-Polar Guy blog. I read your recent post with interest and then went on a nostalgia trip through past posts with a search for “WillBeFine”. It surprises me every time when I read what I have written in the past. “Did I write that!! It is too eloquent. Too clear. I don’t remember writing that! It must be an impostor!”

    Looking back there was a time when BPG had a large following. In essence BPG was the Blog messiah until the day he announced that he believed in so much of the thoughts when he was the Manic messiah. Powerful beliefs that BPG was prepared to isolate himself from his followers by the process of alienation when his followers disagreed with BPG’s beliefs.

    The reason I have mentioned the past is to point out the obvious. The past tells us our future. If you know a route well, there are plenty of signs to confirm the direction you are taking, why do experienced Bi Polar’s insist on following the route to the inevitable dead end?

    I am on such a route just now. Recently married and enjoying my new 9 month working environment in a UK FTSE 100 company. (A large UK company!). One day there is an incident at work that leaves me reeling for the past 3 weeks. A fellow colleague who has been given the job of managing a project has effectively become my boss in the past 4 weeks. In one flash point she ignites and flames me across the desk in front of the rest of the office. We partially kiss and make up shortly afterwards but I felt extremely angry. The anger subsided over the week that followed as she was on holiday but on her return she started where she had left off and was openly critical in a meeting where she was standing up so that everyone could hear her voice booming across the office. Looking back I feel,”Why I did not stand up myself?” and tell her, “Sit down and SHUT UP and listen to me for a change while I criticise you!”

  2. /Cont'd

    It was a few days after this second incident that she interpreted me during a conversation I was having with a manager to try and imply that I was undermining her authority. She immediately felt a small percentage of the wrath that I can inflict. It was enough to shock her and leave her silent. It is the same manager I have spoken to a week later, last night, to inform him of the history of events. In effect forcing him to speak to HR and find a resolution. I had made 3 previous attempts to have a 1-1 chat with my new boss but she obviously knew our conversation would be “uncomfortable” and had avoided such a confrontation. Unfortunately for her she is going to face the stark reality of another visit with HR on the back of a recent episode with another colleague who has now since left.

    I find when I am in the depressed/manic phase I go over and over and over thoughts in my mind. What I have written here in this blog is only one tiny part of what goes through my mind as I try to recover from this shockwave. I know from bitter experience in the past that the effect of stress, in all its different forms, can have on my ability to work and continue in employment. So much so that I avoided paid employment for 6 years and this is my first attempt at returning to work.

    I know if I allow myself to follow this path I will end up either unemployed, in a psychiatric ward or both! I must put in a place a number of measures that will take me on a different route which will prevent this from happening. I do not want to end up pulling out the big Ace, the trump card, the “I am Bipolar” and having HR around me like bees to honey! I also don’t want to use it as an excuse to have people treat me with kid gloves.

    Mania is just the flip side of the coin with Depression. They are both one in the same; both are invaders to your general well-being. You go extremely low then fly to Mania then back down to low again.

    I fully expect to be working in the company I am in now for at least another year. I expect a move to the London financial centre where I will endeavour to share in some of its wealth! I need the cash to make up for 10 years were I have not been working for one reason or another!

    We both know that we will be fine!

  3. Try green tea. Like the Japan Sencha. It won't take away the depression but it *will* help with the energy levels. (And thought clarity. Even flab.)


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