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When I got out of the psych hospital, I was so excited to get back out there and start living my life again. I was excited to work on my hobbies, continue contributing at my job, catch up with friends, all that. I wanted to be that person that bounced back so quickly. The fact that I was still a little manic helped, too.
Then came the come-down, and I crashed into a week-long depressive episode. I got pretty frequent mood swings after that, almost as if my brain was still reverberating from the shock of my full-blown mania. My meds help; they make the mood swings more bearable.
Since I got out of the hospital, I've been feeling a bit frustrated. I thought that being on meds would make it noticeably easier, and while it's true my moods are less extreme, I haven't been able to get back to where I used to be, yet. I'm moving slower and I'm able to handle less. It makes me feel guilty that I feel this way, and I will myself to snap out of it, or just get over it.
That's the thing with mental illness: people often feel like it's their fault.
If only I were mentally stronger, I'd be able to pull myself out of this depression. I'd be able to bounce back twice as strong and take on more responsibility at work.
One thing I realized: I am still in my healing period.
The tricky thing about mental illness is that you can't see it. It's not like a broken bone, where it's obvious that you're still healing. It's easier to pace yourself with a broken bone. With mental illness, there's so much we don't understand. How long does it take someone to heal from the trauma of a manic episode? How much should someone take it easy when they are depressed?
I've been wanting to get back to my "old life" — the life in which I was doing awesome at my job, taking care of the new house and getting projects done, exercising, cooking my own meals, seeing friends, planning events, and spending time on my hobbies. And I'll get back there, someday. I was doing all of that before without meds, so I know I can handle all that again and it'll be easier because this time I'll be on meds. But I'm not ready to run yet.
And so for now, I'll settle for walking from the bed to the couch with my leg in a cast. I'm cooking healthy meals when I can, exercising twice a week. I'm working my way there.
© if you know you grow 2023.