the void of feeling

A lot has been happening these past few months, most of it a blur of attempts to keep my head above water. When the meds go awry, life turns into a triage – doing what needs to be done to get through the day.

And keeping busy seems to be working. If I keep busy, I can try to ignore the massive anxiety pulsating in my chest, underneath my skin, in my head. If I keep busy, I can attempt to jump over the deep wells of depression that have become ever more frequent in my path. If I keep busy, no one will have time to really see my pain, so they won’t panic, try to fix it, worry about something they cannot control. If I keep busy, I can disassociate – or at least, I think that’s what is happening.

But I’m running low on energy; on the ability to keep busy. My regiments are slipping. I can see it, and it upsets me, but I can’t pull myself back up. It reminds me of when I’m lifting weights. I usually do 4 sets of 15, depending on the exercise. And sometimes, during the middle of the 3rd set, I attempt to lift and the muscle won’t move. It’s not that it hurts, it just won’t do what I’m telling it to do. Sometimes, the muscle may start to shake, but mostly it just stops – gets stuck, unable to finish the movement. And it boggles me. First, I never know when it will happen. Sometimes I make it through all the sets just fine. I mean there are weird faces made and grunting, but I finish. And sometimes, I get through two sets and it just happens. Second, because I always would imagine it would hurt; that my body would signal in a more active way to let me know it could not move forward anymore. And three, it just gives up. The arm doesn’t collapse: it just gets to a point, and it can’t move any further.

That’s basically where my brain is currently residing at this time. No outbursts, no screaming – just unable to do anything.

I guess the scariest part of my meds being off right now is the calmness of my swings into the depths of despair. In the past, I would be crying hysterically, hyperventilating, screaming inside my head, craving to hurt myself. It feels intense, immediate, uncontrolled, and messy. Right now, it feels simple. Almost as though my mind has come to peace with it, or maybe, just stopped caring. It doesn’t necessarily want to give up, but it doesn’t want to try. My mind is blank a lot and then I will envision dying. Then I will go and watch television. The next morning, I don’t get out of bed when I should, but I do get up eventually. And I do some things. Not the things I know I should do, but I get a few things done, and then I just stop. At first, my mind tries to fight itself, to run through the contradictions in my head, the choices, the fears, the needs. And it just resigns itself. All of the feelings, ideas, thoughts – they become blurry, they turn into one massive overwhelming encompassing nothing. Every so often, an idea comes through – good or bad; depressing or anxious; even hopeful. It’s intense and catches my breath. I feel like I’m going to explode. And then it goes blank again. Or maybe it’s the opposite of blank. Like my mind is so overloaded, it just shuts down.

I’m seeing my doctor this week. She has conferred with her colleagues about bipolar II resistant brains to see if we can try something different. I’m starting to think I won’t ever go back to the place I was – a possibility I always knew, though could never control. A part of me is tired of fighting, of trying, of thinking that maybe there is hope that my life could have meaning. And the other, just doesn’t give a fuck. How do i feel about that? I don’t know. Nothing. Or everything. It doesn’t seem to matter either way.

I’ve been tired before. It was an angry tired. A “kicking my feet,” pissed-off tired. This is like walking away and sitting down in the middle of the race because i just don’t want to participate – I don’t want to win or lose.

For some reason, that scares me. It makes me wish for the times when I was self-destructive, when I felt something, no matter how much it hurt. Just like my muscle, i just can’t anymore.

2 thoughts on “the void of feeling

  1. I think of depression like I think of diabetes — patients who suffer from these conditions usually end up taking medication for life. Those who suffer from diabetes are always measuring their blood sugar levels, trying to stay on a strict diet, monitoring everything on a daily basis. Perhaps that’s how you should think about your medical conditions.

    If your current medication isn’t working that well, maybe you should switch to a different one. I took a lot of different antidepressants (for pain), and they all seemed to work a little bit differently. Maybe you can check out other blogs about bipolar to see what works for other patients, if you haven’t already. There are also websites about different drugs where you can learn about side effects and how other patients manage them. I’ve always learned more from other patients than from doctors.

    And it’s not only about the medication. Managing a chronic condition includes a complete program, not just medication and therapy. Look for other kinds of treatments you might be interested in and try them out. The only thing you have to worry about is not giving up. If you need reasons not to give up, then you should look for and identify them. Write them down. And good luck. :)

    • Thank you for the kind comments and ideas. I have been on meds for half my life, having tried SSRIs, SNRIs, MAOIs, anti-psychotics, mood stabilizers, and even ECT (though I suppose that’s not a drug.) I was on a medication that was working, for almost two years, but we made a tweak in another medication and now everything is off. Still, we are working on it. I also have a regimen of exercise, sleep, and eating well. However, when the meds aren’t working, it is difficult to keep up the other components of maintenance. Still, I understand what you mean, and I appreciate the sentiment and suggestions. :)

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