Holidays are a difficult time for me. About 6 years ago, I spent all of Christmas and New Years in the hospital for a serious depressive episode. The meds were all wrong; everything was started from scratch and I was not even allowed to write for fear of leaving me alone with a pen.

This year is moderately better, but the depression is still there. It hangs like cobwebs amongst the corners of my mind. I clean it out, only for it to return with its suicidality and thoughts of self-loathing a day later. I have struggled with depression since I was young. I did not get treatment until I was in college and I was undiagnosed with Bipolar and Anorexia. The joys of my life came from doctors who prescribed everything to make me up and gave me more when I was down. Rapid cycling, there I was.

Now, I have a doctor who carefully prescribes things. I am in a depressive episode and she recently prescribed lithium to help with the suicidal nature of my depression. It has been a few years since we have added a pill to my cocktail without switching it with something else. In truth, it makes me feel a bit like a failure. I wonder what I could have done to avert this need for more medicine.

Perhaps, if I had eaten right or exercised or walked my dog or drank less coffee… The list of things that I maybe might have done differently extends beyond my knowledge. It sits there in my subconscious telling me what a failure I am and how I did not try hard enough. The side effects are punishing and I feel guilty for having them, as if that too is a reason for me to deserve to feel unhappy. I deserve to feel miserable. I deserve to have side effects. Again, my depression tells me that my misery is my fault.

Logically, this is not true. Logically, my brain is diseased and neurochemicals are firing in ways that they are not supposed to fire. Overcoming this set of obstacles requires balance. Balance requires a separation from the emotional pull of chaos.

What will pull me out of this? Medicine… it will help. Eating… as triggering as it is, yes, it too will help. Talking… Admitting that I am struggling… Yes, that will help too…

So, as I end 2017 in suicidal depression, I also quit my job and started the process for disability. I need time to care for myself and accept my limitations. I once believed that I had no limitations, but that led me to a near death and bankruptcy not only financially, but also spiritually. I am unsure what is coming in 2018, but am determined to meet it with fierceness.

Author: Darlene Milam

So, a little bit about me. I am a coffee lover, animal lover, and book reader extraordinaire. Not really the extraordinaire part. I want to be the next great American novelist, or memoirist. I am recovering from anorexia and engaging in daily battles with managing mental illness and other physical health problems. I believe in the power of healing through writing and want to share my story so others know they are not alone. Please comment, ask questions, like, and enjoy reading.

One thought on “Balance”

  1. I’ve been hospitalized once (back in Sept. when I was diagnosed with Bipolar type 2), but I can’t imagine being there over the holidays. That would be truly sad. I’ve been struggling a lot with suicidal thoughts lately too. I wish you the best for the new year.


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