Bipolar Expeditions

I’m probably writing too much today.  I haven’t done much of anything else, except help clean my old flat.  But I need to get my thoughts out of my head.  I’m not getting much site traffic at the moment anyway, so I’m hardly putting people off.

Although the depression usually makes me ‘flat’, I sometimes seem to go through cycles of growth and retreat, expansiveness and contraction (chessed and gevurah, if you want).  That is what is happening at the moment.  “I should start a Doctor Who blog!”/”I don’t have enough time to write two blogs and a book and do all the other things I should be doing !”  “I should get a new career!”/”I’m too scared to do anything about getting a new career!”  “I want to write Jewish children’s books based on religious stories!”/”I don’t have the language skills to adapt stories written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Yiddish!”  “I should write a roman à clef misery memoir!”  “I can’t write fiction, even fiction based on fact and people will use the fiction to find the truths I want to hide.”  “I should do a PhD!”/”I’m not good enough to do a PhD!” “This is a really good PhD topic!”/”No, it’s a really terrible PhD topic!”  And so on.  It’s hard to know what is real and what is too good or too bad to be real.  It’s also hard to tell if the more ‘outwards’ facing feelings are genuine attempts to engage with the world or just passing agitation.  A lot of the feelings fade away too quickly to have any kind of lasting effect.

I might still be jet lagged.  Or I’ve just fallen straight back into a bad sleep pattern.

At times like this I wonder if my psychiatrist was right when she said I’m “somewhere on the bipolar spectrum,” whatever that might mean, although no other psychiatrist concurred, not even the one I specifically asked for a second opinion about whether I might have bipolar.  All I know is that every so often I do have periods of agitation and excitement that quickly fall back into depression, it’s just the agitation and excitement generally doesn’t last long enough or come frequently enough to really feel like manic episodes.

Intermittently, I do have inspiration, my mind races, sometimes even effervesces, I make plans.  But it never lasts.  I never have the confidence and energy long enough to do anything useful.

At times I do seriously wonder if I’ve been misdiagnosed.  It would explain a lot if there was a whole other element to this depression which has been missed.  Depression isn’t usually this difficult to treat.  But I’ve had bipolar fairly unanimously dismissed (despite my psychiatrist’s strange comment quoted above).  Autism has been dismissed less clearly and I go back and forth in how much I think I can be identified as autistic.  I wonder what it would be like to have yet another psychiatric assessment (I’ve had more than I can remember), how I could get one and what I would do if the result is just plain old unipolar depression again.  As my therapist noted, I want there to be something very wrong with me to excuse my perceived inadequacies.

I don’t know where to begin to work on my issues.  Everything seems interlaced.  To solve A, I first have to solve B, but to solve B I first have to solve C, but C can only be solved by solving A first.  I’m thinking seriously about some CBT to deal with the social anxiety, which might be a start.

It’s Elul, the last month of the Jewish year (sort of), a month of introspection and plans for growth.  I should be thinking about how to change and develop in the coming Jewish year, but I just feel stuck.  There is a hole in my life right now and I don’t know what should fill it.  God?  Love?  Joy?  Creativity?  Spirituality (whatever that may mean)?  Meaning?  Purpose?  Community?  Self-esteem?  Sex?  All of the above?  None of the above?  I just don’t know, nor do I know how to find any of those things.  Maybe I will never have any of them.  Maybe I will feel like this forever.

I feel like a child again, lost, lonely, vulnerable and scared.  I want the world to leave me alone with my books and DVDs, but it doesn’t.  “I never asked to be born.”  The classic adolescent complaint.  True, I never did ask to be born.  But neither did anyone else and they’re all coping, so why can’t I?