Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Caregiver Depression

Once again I wouldn't be me if I didn't open my life up to all of you and speak candidly about how I feel and what I think. I will make another attempt at that today about something that might either hit close to home for you or make you lose respect for me. Either way, this is my story and I tell it in the hopes that it will help others.

For weeks now I have fought off mixed episodes of bipolar. For those of you who don't know, a mixed episode is when you have features of both mania and depression. It's a crippling condition to have because, at least for me, feeling seriously depressed but also in need of go go going in your life and in your mind is hard. I have been fighting this off hoping it'll subside but unfortunately it's getting worse. For those of you who have been on my blog a long time, you know I fall into this cycle of my illness in winter and I work to battle my way back from it as fast as I can. I'm at the point, though, where I need help but I don't know where to turn (which adds to the depression).

Lately I have found myself in the early afternoon's back in bed curled up trying to sleep away the day but unable to shut my brain down. I have spent a lot of time just sitting on the edge of my chair in my living room and staring at a blank (turned off) TV trying to get myself and my mind to do something, ANYTHING. My only solution to everything is to crawl in bed, pull the covers over my head and pray for sleep to come and for the day to be over. Which brings me to yesterday.

I can tell that Thomas knows there is something going on with me. Just as I am in tune with the ebbs and flows of his illness he does the same for me. This upsets me because he has enough on his plate so he doesn't need to worry about me. Yesterday, however, there I was coming out of my room dressed in all black, yoga pants and hoodie and slippers with the main goal of going into the living room and staring at the TV. Bless his heart he came out of his room bright eyed, happy faced and he said in need of a place to go. He didn't want to sit at home anymore.

I'll admit, I groaned inside because I know when he needs to go somewhere it's for a good reason, he's escaping something. I didn't want to go though. I didn't want to put on makeup, I didn't want to change, I didn't want to do anything so I enticed him with a movie that we've been wanting to watch together. We sat down and watched the movie and afterwards he just sat there expectantly, saying nothing, but in saying nothing his body language spoke a thousand words and asked a thousand questions. He wanted to go out. I told him to call some friends, which he did, but then he just sat there in the living room.

He just sat there.

And it drove me crazy.

This is where I realized later that I was a hateful person because the longer he sat there the more I willed him to go back to his room and watch his videos and play a game. I have spent months wanting to see his handsome HEALTHY face in front of me and instead I just wanted desperately to be alone and curl up in a ball.

Here's the thing about all of this and it only hit me later after it was too late. I remembered back to my dad and his final weeks when it got so hard to go and see him. Sometimes I would opt out of going with my mom up to see my dad and instead I'd stand in my driveway smoking and hating myself but not being able to go and see him because it hurt too much to see him declining. The day he died he had asked for me in the morning and I didn't want to get dressed so early and I wanted to tie up loose ends around the house and so I decided not to go. I didn't know that that was going to be the last time I would ever see him again. My selfishness, my inability to get myself together to go and see him, haunts me to this day. It was those thoughts that made me turn my attention to what I had done with Thomas earlier in the day. Here I had a healthy young man, finally after all this time, and I wanted him to leave me alone and go back to his room. I wanted to sleep and I wanted to be alone and I just wanted to suffer through my symptoms on my own.

Here is the big question and the thought that ran through my head over and over as the evening wore on. What if he dies? What if I lose him and yesterday would have been my last day with him to spend with him bright-eyed and eager? What kind of person was I that I took for granted his beauty, his good health and his loving nature?

I hate myself today. I hate that I did that. I hate that I'm sick myself and in need of help for my own issues. I hate that how I feel affects how Thomas feels. I hate mental illness and the destruction it leaves in its path. I hate how it robs a person, both Thomas and now me lately, of our essence and we become a shell of our former self.

Needless to say, the tides have turned. I am the sick one now. Thomas is doing beautifully and now I'm not. It is a cruel fate he and I live and I hope that things change for me soon so that I can join him in his healthy life and for one day, when he's bright-eyed and eager, join him on an outing of his choosing

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