Backpacking and Bipolar II. Taking Manic Depression on tour.
I have, this evening, timestamped my shortest ‘low’ period that I have been conscious of so far. Roughly three days of feeling groggy, sleeping poorly and the negative self talk. I reminded myself of how illogical these bad sentiments were and I went to bed two of the three afternoons, as well as not rising before 11A.M on any of the days. My friend’s advice rang in my ears:
“Be kind to yourself.”
When I first heard this advice I thought it was just a pithy, general platitude. The truth of the matter is that it is very solid advice for anyone dealing with any kind of depression. You need to be aware of when you run the risk of becoming overwhelmed and take appropriate action (drastic if necessary) and allow yourself the opportunity to recouperate. Resting is by far the best solution to most of my depressed states. Indeed, for the vast majority of the time it is my only sensible option.
You cannot afford to judge your behaviour by the usual societal standards and social mores. “Keep calm and carry on” is poisonous advice to someone who is depressed as it invariably leads to exhaustion and greater stress. If you need to rest instead of doing whatever else you had planned – you need to rest. It is immutable truth. Is this convenient to a lot of situations in a standard western lifestyle? Not at all. Indeed, it has eliminated the standard western nine till five existence as a possibility for me in the immediate future.
Nomatter what though, the obstacles I need to surmount to live an alternative lifestyle are far simpler and far less life-threatening than belligerently trying to plough through fits of depression as though they weren’t there.
Right now life is amazing. I’ve taken my medication early tonight to dissuade me from borrowing the car and going clubbing in the nearby city of Cairns. I am hyperactive and firing on all cylinders, I have not stopped grinning all night. If I can maintain my success at dealing with depression, I am suddenly in the situation of being fuelled by hypomania with very few of the usual ill side effects.
I can deal with that.