What my Major Depressive Mood Swing Feels Like


What does it feel like when I'm depressed? 


    I decided to start here because it is a question I had not considered until I received a speaking outline from NAMI and "describe the symptoms" was one of the prompts.  I thought that I had an answer that I was happy with that I originally wrote a month ago.  Upon re-reading, it was manufactured, uninteresting and unrevealing.  I have been in the throes of the worst depressive cycle I have had in a couple of years and am feeling extremely symptomatic over the last few weeks.  I am confident this is the cost of me having an extremely full calendar for the last six months that I enjoyed every second of and do not regret.  However, I believe I was in a very long hypomanic state as well which I will cover in future posts (hypomania information).  Unfortunately for me, like Icarus, I flew a little close to the sun and paid the price. 

    It started three (I thought it was two, but apparently time disappears when depressed) weeks ago.  After coming home from another great weekend (my last set plans of the year) with my girlfriend and a quick trip to Iowa to visit my brother and his family, I decided to push it for a couple of more days to get a few more things done.  Well, that was a mistake and the second day back, things took a turn at work that evening.  I became super agitated at first, then very sullen, quiet, and exhausted.  That night after work, I had no interest in anything, ate a little and went to bed.  I cried every day for the next 4 days, the first day I think I cried for 2 hours straight after an admittedly mild holiday stressor.  I was beyond exhausted and didn't care what I ate, which is when I know things are bad.  

    Here's where the proverbial rock and a hard place comes in for me.  First, when I become depressed, I get angry and irritable; this isn't a one time deal either, it comes and goes for the duration of the depression... of which I am currently two weeks in and seemingly not getting much better.  This used to last a long time, but now I know that that is more hurtful to myself and for those around me than just silence, outward gloom (this sucks hard and I don't know how to fake that smile in the hardest times and keeping it all in.  

    So, I just get completely apathetic about life.  That sounds general, but it's true.  I begin to hate my job, or hate it more, I don't see a point in trying in life generally, I just repeat the mantra "I don't care".  I realize this is unhealthy and untrue on top of it, but often times this is my best option to get me through those moments, hours and sometimes days.  It honestly hurts everywhere in my body; my jaw, shoulders, back, legs and brain tighten and my chest hurts.  I don't want to walk, run, or work out which is concerning to anyone who knows me.  I am constantly, and I mean constantly and even at home, uncomfortable.  I sweat more and shake for a few minutes at times.  In these moments, every part of me wants to go back to drinking and black it out, literally.  Sometimes, I just want to quit, leave, find a hole and hide until everyone forgets that I exist.  If only it worked that way.  

    What do I do then?  Keep going.  Wake up, force myself out of bed, eat a little something, take a shower, text my girlfriend and go to work.  It hurts every second and my brain is constantly telling me I cannot do it, that it is too much, that I can't handle it.  But, I Fight, literally every minute of the day to keep going.  I try to take longer breaks and get more rest and sleep to give my brain the time it needs to catch back up and attempt to regulate emotions to the best of our ability.  I hope, call friends, and try to be there for someone else, find any reason to keep going and keep fighting.  I have called two new therapists today trying to get in and get that started again.  I have forced myself to work out a couple of times and take long walks.  It's not nearly as enjoyable or productive, but it is vital.  It is these relationships with my loved ones, friends, work, working out, cleaning my apartment, and even myself that allow me to not give up and keep trying.  Until next time, thank you for reading.  

Lee Formella

IG - @benefits_of_bipolar

YouTube- Lee Formella


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