Long Game: Depression

There are times when my rapid cycling gives way to a long, drawn out affair. Though I sometimes experience other moods “popping in” during these episodes I can usually distinguish an episode up for the long-game because my symptoms begin like a snowball rolling down a hill. By the time it reaches the bottom it can easily knock me off my skis.

While I have experienced four solid weeks of depression now I wasn’t ready to call the “big episode” until I felt certain the depression wasn’t going anywhere.

This week it became clear the depression is here to stay for a while. That is, unless the dosage of bupropion (Wellbutrin) I doubled on monday begins to work some magic.

The signpost I passed during my current descent was clear enough, and I felt pretty proud of myself for noticing. My thought process seems to have become overwhelmed by depression now, and I found myself wondering why my boyfriend cared about me so much when I really didn’t deserve it.


There is this realm of guilt and self-loathing that I only really experience during depression (though sometimes it can occur during my mixed episodes), and it is something that tends to take a firm hold on me when the depression lingers long enough to convince me these thoughts and feelings must be true.

At this point, I think I’ve played this game long enough to be able to see where this is going. When I have episodes like this they often last for months at a time and in the past have been known to result in hospitalization… that is, unless something can pop me out of it.

Right now it seems clear that my next course of action is to batten down the hatches, and frankly since I am already in the process of pursuing ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) there is a chance I could get lucky and I can line it up by the time (or even before) I truly hit rock bottom.

For me it feels like the real bummer is that pretty much everything I own is still in boxes after moving, I’ve been extremely unmotivated (thanks depression!) and given this current situation, I’m not really sure when that might change.

Really, let’s be honest though. I have access to a tea kettle, some dvd’s, and a barrage of pillows, and I consider those all to be highly prized items when experiencing a depressive descent. I want to be prepared but, fingers crossed… maybe I wont reach that point.


8 responses to “Long Game: Depression

  1. I can totally relate with the thoughts of longterm depression. My doc is recommended ECT and frankly it scares the crap out of me. I am worried about the memory loss. I already feel like the meds mess with my memory as it is. Have you researched the ECT process and you’re ok with it?

    • When I entered my psychiatrist’s office for the first time three years ago and he suggested ECT, I was terrified and took the idea off the table. Now that my symptoms have not responded to any medications and I am in a position where I know for certain that my psychotic episodes put the people I love at risk (having experienced violent outbursts) and my mixed and depressive episodes continuously put myself at risk (having attempted suicide twice)… there is a point where my fear is being outweighed by a sense of desperation. While I realize there may be drawbacks, this is nothing new for me as practically all of the 15 medications I’ve tried in the last three years have provided extremely severe side effects, many of which were severe enough to require that I stop taking the medication immediately.

      It can be hard for people to understand (especially those who have not experienced something similar to what I experience) that I spend every day (save one or two days a month if I’m lucky) experiencing debilitating bipolar symptoms. When the nagging thought I have in my mind is that I would rather die than keep living the way that I have been, being presented with the option of pursuing ECT gives me a feeling of hope, rather than one of fear.

      Sorry, I realize that is a bit heavy… but it is the truth.

  2. My roomate moved out and I am switching rooms. I so get it. It’s hard for me to just go in my room because it’s literally instant anxiety and depression. It will happen when it happens. Just be gentle with yourself.

  3. I just found out I have a bipolar diagnosis and just got released from the hospital. Many patients there were on ECT and benefited from it, with minimal memory loss. You might feel disoriented at first, but I hear that is normal. Just wanted to say that you aren’t alone and I share the heavy depression this disease brings.

  4. Hi -I’m currently experiencing a long low (just told my bf to go away b/c he was trying to make me listen to something on the radio in the kitchen when I was trying to write this – so I also relate to the part about being loved and feeling undeserving) but don’t use any meds apart from some but not lots of self medication/ alcohol some days which sometimes helps and sometimes makes me feel worse. Sometimes use targeted nutritional supplements (via reading Patrick Holford’s book) My friend who used to suffer really bad depression and ended up being sectioned and has had ECT is really against it, in fact it seems medieval to us both (though I haven’t had it) she does suffer a lot of memory loss, however I do anyway without the ECT, I think this maybe is self preservation – I understand it gives a ray of hope when nothing else is working. My friend is part of a movement on facebook called liberation unleashed and this has helped her a lot and she is so changed and in love with life and experience it’s amazing to see – I won’t go into it but something she found helped her in the interim was a blog called http://beyondmeds.com/ I don’t know if it will help you but is sure is worth mentioning when options are running out.

  5. I’m a schizophrenic. I can, to at least some degree, understand what you’re going through. I am sympathetic to your problems and issues. About all I can say is keep on working through these issues. I will be following and I will drop in at times. Take care of yourself.

  6. “There is this realm of guilt and self-loathing that I only really experience during depression (though sometimes it can occur during my mixed episodes), and it is something that tends to take a firm hold on me when the depression lingers long enough to convince me these thoughts and feelings must be true.”

    This resonates so loudly I want to cry. I had a wonderful summer of mania and inflated self-worth and that has all crashed and fallen apart in the last few weeks. Nothing but self-hatred and disgust and how could I ever be worth anyone’s attention.

    The worst psychic trauma I ever experienced came about because of horrible Wellbutrin side effects this past spring. I wish you all the luck in the world with it. And with ECT, if that’s what you feel you need. If you think it would be beneficial. There’s no judgment in that statement, implicit or otherwise. If you think it would help, and you’ve been led to believe that by informed experts, then go to it.

    And, if nothing else, I totally agree about tea, pillows, and DVDs.

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