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Posts Tagged ‘Lamictal’

Comfortably Numb by Barber“[Major depression is] immediately detectable to people who know what they are doing. It is an advanced psychological state of despair that one can see in the patient’s eyes, in their slow movements, in the sense that they are in physical pain…” “There is no covering up; they exude naked and pure pain, like a wounded animal. There is absolutely no pretending that everything is okay. All pretense of normalcy goes out the window.” “Comfortably Numb: How Psychiatry is Medicating a Nation,” by Charles Barber

The title is not exactly true.  I’m not really apathetic.  I’m hopeless.

Anyone who’s ever studied depression has come across the maxim: depression is anger turned inwards.  I beg to differ.  I believe that the major cause of depression is the loss of hope.

Anger is a feeling.  Depression is about the loss of feeling.  I know.  I’m in it right now.

I can’t write to save my life.  Nothing matters.  And if there is anger, perhaps it’s caused by the hopelessness.  A dozen topics swirl through my head but I can’t choose one to write about.  None of them matter.  Nothing I have to say on the subject will make any difference to me or to anyone else.  I don’t matter.  And that makes me feel hopeless, which, yes, makes me feel angry (but not the other way round.)

If given a choice between angry and hopeless, I’ll take angry.  Part of that is not a choice but a symptom of being bipolar, irritability, which can easily escalate into anger.

I watched it happen this past weekend over something stupid: a walk with the dog.  My ADD was acting up and while I was doing my best to get ready and out of the house, my partner got impatient.  He made a couple of comments (and a few exasperated facial expressions) and a switch was flipped in my head.  Literally an on/off switch.  I got as angry as a person can get and I refused to go.  And there was no turning back, nothing he could say or do that would change my mind, that could fix it, that could flip the switch the other way.  I became “invested” in my anger.

I have seen that over the years, that willingness to “cut off my nose to spite my face.”  Why?  Because the anger feels good.  It feels great.  It’s HELL, but it’s better than apathy.  If you’ve been walking around like a zombie for weeks or months, the opportunity to feel anything is a welcome respite.  And anger can be delicious.  Intoxicating.

I spent the rest of that day by myself nursing that anger.  Not because I wanted to, but because I couldn’t control it.

I think suicidal thoughts are like that too, when you suffer from chronic depression.  For me, suicidal thoughts were never so much thoughts of suicide, but the idea that, if it ever “really got bad,” there was an option.  Just knowing that I could end it if I needed to was like having Xanax in my side pocket (knowing it’s there can reduce the anxiety and thus the need to take it.)

I always looked at suicide as a free-floating life raft, never seriously contemplating it because it was always there in my side pocket.  But ever since taking Lamictal*, another switch has been flipped, one that put suicide on the table as a real option.  It’s like those images—vase/face or young woman/old woman.

Rubin vase:face

Old woman:young woman

Once you’ve seen both you can never go back to seeing only one.  And once you’ve seen suicide as a real-life (pun not intended) tangible option, a way out of the hell that you are in, you can’t go back to pretending it isn’t.  You can’t go back to the day when taking your own life was like a pill in your pocket because you’ve tasted the sense of relief lingering in those thoughts.

Today I am stuck in a state of mind(s) I’ve been in for a couple of weeks now, somewhere between hopeless, depressed, angry and suicidal.  And occasionally manic.  Thank God (I can’t believe I’m saying this) for mania, otherwise it might have been several more weeks before I was able to make another post.  So please pardon my brain-dump, but I felt that after a two-week hiatus, a rambling, nonsensical post was better than none.  And I wanted to make sure that those kind people who worry about me when I disappear for a period of time know that I’m still kicking.  Thank you for your support.  You are the reason I got out of bed today.

*Note: From the Lamictal website: “Like other antiepileptic drugs, LAMICTAL may cause suicidal thoughts or actions in a very small number of people, about 1 in 500.”

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