Mood Bear Traps

How do I stop living in fear of the lightening lows? Lightening low is what I call the depressive moods that hit hard and fast and without warning. I have experienced these moods almost every day for the past week, and they are scary. Yesterday I woke up feeling good, then around 1pm I started crying and couldn’t stop for the rest of the evening. I could barely talk or think, I couldn’t relate to anyone around me, and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what to do with my hands. There was no inciting incident, nothing I could point to that would provide an explanation for why I suddenly fell into a dark depression hole and couldn’t find my way back out.

Today I woke up feeling better, mood wise, but scared. Scared that something will once again trip the invisible wire and catapult me right back into the darkness. I try to step lightly, stay busy, avoid stress (ha) in case that will save me from having to go through that again, but the thing is that all I’m doing is living in fear.¬†As a general life philosophy I don’t believe in living in fear. I did that for the first three decades of my life and I missed out on a lot of life for fear that life might hurt me. Life hurt me anyway, and I missed out on a lot of joy. I could have saved a lot of energy by ditching the fear and just living, which is how I live now.

I don’t know how to avoid living in fear right now though. I’m not enjoying being in a lighter mood because I know that the dark one is waiting, unseen, to drag me down. Life is a string of moments, fun, scary, painful, joyful, hilarious, sad, boring. I don’t want to give any more of my peaceful moments to depression and anxiety. They’ve taken enough, and despite my best efforts, my mood continues to get hijacked. So I’m living in fear, especially after this week, but I am trying to remember to be nice to myself. The mood bear traps might be lurking around any and every corner, but I can at least give myself some credit for fighting as I walk into them, right? Right.

I am still alive, and that’s not nothing.

Feel Less

So many major life changes, crises or otherwise, have happened to me over the last year, and I have felt every single feeling that has arisen along the way. I feel everything fully, to the point where my capacity for feeling emotions has shrunken to almost nothing. I was not aware that this was possible until now, but it is. I don’t know how to halfass anything in my life, from work to play to relationships to, apparently, feeling emotions. How much of that is the bipolar vs. innate personality or character, I’m not sure. But I don’t quite understand why I feel my feelings so strongly, to an overwhelming and depleting level, and other people don’t.

Can a person learn how to feel less? Is it possible to let some feelings in but not others? I don’t want to stop feeling altogether, but with the new medication cocktail I’m taking and my reduced emotional capacity, it seems like that might be where I’m going. Right now I often use apathy as a coping mechanism because I am fearful of irrational emotional ambushes.

I just started reading Carrie Fisher’s novel Postcards from the Edge, which is about chemical addiction; openly truthful about how people use drugs and alcohol to avoid or cope with their feelings. Honestly it would make so much more sense for me to self medicate. People get by in life by wanting to ease pain and dampen their feelings, and I think it’s a common human denominator to want those things. But for some reason I face everything head on and want to deal with feelings unfiltered and until they make sense or dissipate. Someone who does this without self medicating is going to be deeply affected by the emotional roller coaster. Why can’t I learn to self medicate like a normal person? It would save me so much grief. But then I wouldn’t stop, ever.

I’m so deeply affected by the intensity of my own feelings that I need prescription medications to make me stop feeling much of anything. The modern lobotomy. The meds will keep me alive, possibly allow me to create some sort of productive stability in my life, but they’re also taking away my feelings. I am frustrated that these are the choices I have. I don’t want to make either, and neither makes me very excited about my future as a human. I just want to feel things on a healthier scale. One that doesn’t destroy me.

But until I figure out if that’s even an option, I’m taking meds that work on a sliding scale of effectiveness, stockpile things and people that make me feel happy, and figure out how to get through a half a day at a time.