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Monday, December 14, 2015

Maybe I'll Learn to Swim

To say that recovering from a bipolar depressive episode's hard is an understatement.    To me, depression is like being in a crowded public pool, chained to a brick, under eight feet of water and you can’t swim.   You’re afraid to open your eyes because you know it will sting.  When you find the courage to expose your eyes to the chemicals in the water, you may be able to see the light above, you might even float up enough to barely get your fingertips over the waterline,  but that heaviness keeps pulling you down.   You can’t breathe.  The pressure in your chest suffocates you and no one can hear you scream, everyone around you is joyfully playing in the water.   Nobody notices your struggle.   No one realizes that you are dying right in front of them.

Right now, I find myself recovering from a manic/depressive episode.   My husband was swimming in my metaphoric pool close to me, saw my fingers just above the water line and pulled me to safety.     Once again he is my hero.     After leaving my job as a direct result of my bipolar disorder, I began my journey back to sanity…but to swim in the big pool,  you need to get over your fear of the water.

For the first week following my resignation from a job I loved, I teetered between mania and depression.   It was physically and mentally draining.   I was sleeping only about two to three hours a night, my thoughts raced uncontrollably and the manic writing began.   Some of my writings made sense, but most were just jumbled disorganized thoughts, filled with hurt, anger and resentment.   I wrote for hours at a time.   My husband nicknamed me “Manny”.   He understands I write when I’m manic, but likes to remind me in a humorous way that I’m experiencing bipolar symptoms.   His sense of humor is one of the many things I love about him.    I knew from past depressive episodes that I had to keep connected with the real world so each day,  I forced myself to wash my face, brush my hair and teeth, dress and leave the house for at least an hour.   This was challenging for me because when I’m experiencing an episode, I feel as if everyone can see the “crazy” on my face.   I am severely paranoid, and afraid of everyone and everything.    During that first week, I began praying the “Our Lady Undoer of Knots” novena.    At this point, I was just wading in the kiddy pool.

Nine days later my ups and downs were not as severe and I started to complete tasks around the house and eventually ventured back to my Zumba classes.   Nothing can lift me up quicker than dancing fast and singing Spanish lyrics to songs that I don’t understand.    The only Spanish word I know the meaning of is “Hola!”      I took advantage of quiet time in the mornings to pray the rosary, read the morning scripture passages and listen to Catholic Radio while doing my housework.    I was now putting my face in the water and blowing bubbles!  Life was beginning to look up.

I’m now in week four of unpaid unemployment and five days into a Novena to St. Jude for financial relief,   but the enormous bricks are no longer chained to my ankles.    Applying my make-up and curling my hair is now a part of my morning routine.   I have added a daily walk to my exercise regiment, and I have embarked upon a quest for a new Catholic Parish to call home.   Mother Mary has undone my emotional knots and I'm confident St. Jude will intercede for financial relief.   I’m letting go and letting God, floating on my back, basking in the "Son".   Maybe next week, I’ll learn to swim.

1 comment:

  1. i think you have great strength and courage.may your faith in God always be stronger than fear to swim