Is It the Holidays or Am I Just Blue?

When it comes to the holidays and how I feel emotionally from my various mental health disorders (chiefly my bipolar, but also my anxiety, PTSD, and other issues), sometimes it is hard to tell what is responsible for what. On the one hand, I have been down for several days now but on the other hand, it’s Christmas Eve today and I’m having a hard time telling if I have the holiday blues or the depression blues.

This morning, all I wanted to do was sleep. I had to drag myself out of bed to take care of the pets and then to get ready to go to the church I work at to perform a duet with my little cousin in the Christmas Program. This should have been a really fun event for me as I adore my cousin and I have always loved playing my flute. But instead I was trying not to look as tired as I was and I was really trying to fight off a panic attack that was threatening to rear its ugly head.

Now, I am back home and all I want to do is go to sleep. But I know that that will affect my ability to sleep tonight and that my sleeping to avoid life and to avoid being awake and dealing with my emotional state is not the best way to go about things. So, here I sit, watching a horror movie (my personal favorite genre), trying to stay awake and get some work done today. I guess we will see how it goes today as I am on my own until tomorrow. Hopefully, things will work out for the better and I can get some work done in spite of this depression.

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Trying to Be Thankful

When you are in the midst of a depression, holidays can be tough. And that is what is happening to me today. I am trying to feel thankful and get into the spirit of the holiday, but it is really difficult for me to do so when I feel down, unmotivated, and even have been having some suicidal thoughts. But I am a stubborn person and I am determined to at least think about what I am thankful and grateful for.

Firstly, even though I am struggling right now, I am thankful to have an amazing doctor and an incredible therapist. They are the reason I am not doing a whole lot worse than I currently am. They are keeping me moving forward, even if I don’t think I can take a single step forward sometimes. And that being said, I feel grateful for my diagnosis as well because knowing what is going on with me is a major part of the battle and I finally feel like I do have a handle on that part of things.

I am also thankful for the rest of my support system including my two best friends, my mom, my aunts, uncles, grandparents, my cousins, and even my dogs and cats. They are my heart and they will do anything for me to help me feel better and get things back on track.

I am thankful for the fact that I have a roof over my head because I know many people that struggle with mental illnesses like mine do not have that luxury. Even if I am not where I want to be right now, it is better than being on the streets.

Well, I think that is all I have for now. I hope everyone is having a decent holiday, and whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not, I hope you have a great day!

I Don’t Know What to Do When Depression Triggers Cannot Be Avoided

Being bipolar can be tough at times. And for me, the worst part of it is the depression. My depression gets so deep and dark that I cannot function for days, weeks, and even months at a time. And what is especially hard is when I know certain things will likely trigger a depressive episode but I can’t do anything to avoid them. This happened to me recently.

I went up to help when my grandfather was recently hospitalized which is triggering enough for depression, seeing a strong, proud man like my grandpa in the hospital bed fighting pneumonia. Add to that my grandmother, who is the sweetest woman in the world, worried about my grandfather and suffering in her own right. These are tough things to deal with in and of themselves.

I have no problem helping care for my grandparents. In fact, I value the opportunity and every minute I get to spend with them. But when I am there I feel guilty. Guilty that I cannot do more, that I am not a good enough granddaughter, that there should be something more that I am doing for them. I drive myself crazy with self-doubt, self-loathing, and worry.

All of these factors together are a recipe for depression for me. The extreme guilt is something I have always had to deal with as long as I can remember. It leads me down a dark path where I feel as though I am worthless and should not even bother getting out of bed.

And so, what can I do when I know that I have to face my triggers like I did recently? So far, there is not much that I can do. I cannot always avoid family and do not want to.

But now that I’m home, I am tired, feeling foggy and fuzzy, and generally down and sad…the usual suspects when I start to get depressed. I am trying to push through it and turn things around, but I am stuck in this mood. I hope I can get rid of my constant guilt one of these days. I hope, I hope, I hope. But for now, I have to ask what should I do when I cannot avoid triggers? Do any of you have effective coping mechanisms to share? Leave your comments below if you suffer from bipolar or unipolar depression and have options that work for you (besides medication, which I already take).