No one knows if my depression is the result of coming down from December’s mania (which is often followed by a depressive crash), or if it’s just mid-winter and part of the common mood cycle of becoming depressed in the winter. Yet here I am depressed again. As expected by my mood cycle predictor seen here.
I’ve been depressed for a few weeks now. It’s miserable, as depression is. Until now, suicidal thoughts were passive: “I hope I don’t wake up tomorrow,” “I wish I hadn’t woken up this morning,” “I wish I was dead.” No plans and no visions, just passive, sad thoughts. Not normal by any means, of course, but nothing to get in a tizzy over – for me.
I have skills that keep me safe. Not happy, but safe. I keep to my routines and schedules and keep meeting up with friends. Doing this anchors me during the waves of feelings. They keep me moving and remind me of life. I still feel sad and low energy and passively suicidal, but I’m making it through one moment at a time.
The depression has been lifting a little bit as I convince my psychiatrist to reduce my anti-psychotic med now that I’m not delusional or manic. (She finally admitted that I looked and sounded over-medicated. Sometimes I’m the one that knows more about me than my doctor…) I’m back down to pre-manic levels of the anti-psychotic and I’m feeling more energy but not less sadness. And, right on schedule with the sadness and hopelessness of the meaninglessness of my existence, suicidal visions have kicked in where I envision hurting or killing myself. They are at the intrusive level when they jump into my thoughts unbidden no matter what I’m doing, even in the middle of a conversation.
Again, I have skills to deal with this level of misery. I use the previous skills plus I use ACT skills (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy), One skill is Thought Diffusion where I separate my actual self and behaviors from my thoughts (for example: thank my brain for the suggestion – it’s just trying to solve the problem of pain; or think of the thoughts as a jangling phone in the backseat of a car where I can’t reach it and I just have to live with the noise). Another skill is Radical Acceptance where I fully accept all of who I am and all that I feel. This skill reminds me that this is who and where I am right now, in this moment (Mindfulness, another skill). And I remind myself that all of these skills are helping me move toward my Values, a motivating factor for continuing to use the skills, a reminder that I want a future full of good things I value.
What I don’t look forward to is the nearly inevitable experience of the obsessive level of these suicidal visions. The thoughts become intrusive nearly all the time and I become exhausted from using my skills nearly all the time. I’m at the point that I’m not sure that I can keep myself safe because the thoughts have become desire and intent. To at least make them stop, at the minimum. The thoughts have worn a groove in my mind and have enhanced my feelings of sadness, hopelessness, ennui, and now also feel helpless against the thoughts and worthless that I can’t stop the process with skills. There are not any more to use. I just need to be safe. And I head to the hospital.
I’m at DefCon 2 – Intrusive Thoughts. As I said, I’m not looking forward to the nearly inevitable Obsessive level that sends me to the hospital. I’m so tired, so very tired, of this.