Friday, July 31, 2009

Handling the down swing

I haven't posted here for a few days because I've been busy. That's not entirely true. I'm always busy, but the real reason for my absence is that I've been descending from my pink cloud.

I've been on such an emotional and physical high this past month, and then Tuesday I woke up, and it was gone. For no reason other than my damn brain chemistry. What gets me is that after all these years, practically my whole life, of living with depression/bi-polar, I'm still shocked when the down swing happens. I'm taking all my meds, being active, making progress toward my personal and professional goals. Things are going great. Then they're not.

What I have to remind myself is that things are still great. It's just that I'm going through a depressive time after an incredibly manic phase.

There are people who think that depression/bi-polar disorder are bullshit terms or excuses, but anyone who really knows me and has lived through this with me, knows how painful it is. I no longer make apologies for the way I am. Nor do I dwell on it. I write about it for two reasons.

1. Writing is my release. It's how I unburden my soul.
2. There are other people, some addicts, some not, that go through this exact thing.

That's the main reason I wrote my memoir - to let others know they're not alone.
There's still so much stigma attached to depression, and frankly it's probably the main reason I've spent years of my life self-medicating with drugs. If it's difficult to live with mental illness, then it's probably harder to watch someone you love struggle.

I know how helpless my family feels, and it kills me that this affects them.
When I'm feeling good, I still have almost daily cravings for meth - even after two and a half years of sobriety. When I'm on the down swing, the first thing I want to do is load up and numb out.

The longer I stay sober, though, the easier it is to work through my highs and lows. When I'm going along and things are great, I tend to forget that it's the highs AND the lows that allow me homeostasis. So when I wake up on some random morning, and depression smacks me in the face saying, "Remember me?" that is what I need to remember.

The good news is that I'm better at recognizing what's going on, and that makes it easier to get through the lows. These days, the good days far outweigh the not so good, so there's that. At least I've got that.


  1. I know exactly what you mean. I keep reminding myself that no substance or activity will fix my feelings, but will probably make things worse.

    Why is it easier to recognize the swing to low? For me it always feels like a kerthunk! Whereas, it's a gradual rise to the high side, making the "too high" more difficult to recognize. My life is a roller coaster with only that first steep hill and one plunge.

    Nope, you're not alone.

  2. Great post, Kim. I don't think there are any people out there who haven't been touched by the issue of depression somewhere along the way.