Friday, July 20, 2007

Staving Off a Depression

After years of experience, I know that the past few weeks could precipitate a depression if I’m not careful. Today, I was totally and completely exhausted and spent much of the day editing my manuscript and sleeping. For me, this is a smart move because if I don’t slow myself down, I can become depressed. If I can’t find a way to replenish myself, I can become depressed.

Again, for me the causes of a depression are a mixed bag. Extended hypomanias—even ones that are fairly benign—zap my energy. It feels like I’m giving a lot of myself to people and it’s draining.

While I love playing the Autoharp at my mom’s, it’s also quite exhausting. Not only do I perform, which I enjoy, but I also have to help many of the residents turn the pages of their song books and I find myself jumping up and down for almost 90 minutes.

Driving my mom up the coast was draining as well. As much as I hoped it would renew her spirits, it didn’t. And as much as I enjoyed myself, it was stressful. Although my mother has dementia and a multitude of physical problems, for the most part she is always glad to see me and I can feel her love. For the past few weeks, she’s been feeling lousy and even the strength of my spirit and love for her hasn’t seemed to make a difference. It’s difficult at best!

The incident with my dog Spike was stressful (and expensive). The aggravation over my sister’s behavior with my mother was stressful and infuriating.

I also know that I’ve been talking too much on the telephone. While I try to monitor myself, it’s difficult, and I feel bad if I think I’ve dominated conversations with others and spent too much time talking about myself.

What would be best would be for me to take a few days off and escape to the mountains or the beach with my husband and son. But my son has one week left of summer school and we only have the budget for one fairly brief vacation. We just learned that my son needs his wisdom teeth removed—another unexpected expense.

Finally, there are days when I wonder whether blogging is worth the effort. It's time to cut back a bit. What I really need to do is to finish the manuscript for my new book. A number of my bipolar friends have made comments (of which I'm truly appreciative), which I’m currently inputting into the manuscript but it takes a lot of time and I probably have five more days of work.

I had asked two doctors to review my manuscript. One read it but was too busy to truly evaluate it. The other never responded. (Again, this was very distressing. I wrote a second email and said, "If you're too busy, I'll understand but please let me know.") What I never can understand is being ignored.

I should be concentrating the rest of my efforts on generating freelance writing assignments and other revenue producing work rather than blogging. While I love to write my blogs, and while the number of people who read them has significantly increased, the feedback is about the same.

There are a small number of people who comment. It’s difficult to tell whether others don’t comment because I’m not meeting their needs or because the posts don’t resonate with them. Perhaps, like some other bloggers, I should limit my postings to twice a week. I need to look at this anew.

I'm taking a few days off and will return next week. By then, I'll know what schedule works best for now. Have a nice weekend!


Daryl Darko said...

Dear Susan,
I don't read your blog regularly but when I do, you usually hit something right on the head for me. In this post just hearing you think out loud to yourself about how you are managing your tasks, but moreso about how you are dealing with intelligently managing your moods. Your vocalness seems to be a powerful tool for you to be able to clear your head, your space, your horizon and become able to gain clearer understanding. Thus, I state that your blog seems to not only be therapeutic for you, but tonight, it has also come across as educational for me (in learning better how to deal with my mood swings) and it also inspires me to blog better. So there... i thank you at least for the fact that you blogged one more time and sent out a life raft to one more suffering bipolar soul. Thank you!!

MICKY said...

About 3 years ago I dropped into a black hole – four months of absolute terror. I wanted to end my life, but somehow [Holy Spirit], I reached out to a friend who took me to hospital. I had three visits [hospital] in four months – I actually thought I was in hell. I imagine I was going through some sort of metamorphosis [mental, physical & spiritual]. I had been seeing a therapist [1994] on a regular basis, up until this point in time. I actually thought I would be locked away – but the hospital staff was very supportive [I had no control over my process]. I was released from hospital 16th September 2004, but my fear, pain & shame had only subsided a little. I remember this particular morning waking up [home] & my process would start up again [fear, pain, & shame]. No one could help me, not even my therapist [I was terrified]. I asked Jesus Christ to have mercy on me & forgive me my sins. Slowly, all my fear has dissipated & I believe Jesus delivered me from my “psychological prison.” I am a practicing Catholic & the Holy Spirit is my friend & strength; every day since then has been a joy & blessing. I deserve to go to hell for the life I have led, but Jesus through His sacrifice on the cross, delivered me from my inequities. John 3: 8, John 15: 26, are verses I can relate to, organically. He’s a real person who is with me all the time. I have so much joy & peace in my life, today, after a childhood spent in orphanages . God LOVES me so much. Fear, pain, & shame, are no longer my constant companions. I just wanted to share my experience with you [Luke 8: 16 – 17].

marja said...

Hi Susan,

To me you sound like you're already on the edge of depression. You really sound down. It's a good decision to take care of yourself right now.

But please don't feel too dejected about the bloggin and the lack of response you're getting. I'm sure people are reading and benefiting from it. But the most important thing is how you benefit yourself.

I've been blogging for almost a year now and it's just great to be able to have this place to express myself and know there may be people out there who will be able to relate and may even leave me a note. Sometimes I leave it for several days at a time, but I always find a need to go back to it.

I'm often surprised at the lack of response I get, even when I put up some posts that I think people would be very interested in. But I try not to feel bad about it. Sometimes the response comes in and sometimes it doesn't. We just have to go with it. The most important person to benefit is always me - and that's okay.

Take a bit of a rest, but please don't give up on blogging. Many people would miss you.

terry said...


Don't stop blogging. I read your blog every day and find it very encouraging.


Hi! I get a goodly number of readers, but very few post. I believe that's because most folks just aren't the feed-back type. If people are reading, you're resonating. I'm a regular reader but not a regular comment. It's a case of being a quiet listener.

It's fascinating that in all the bipolar blogs each report entirely different symptoms for the same names. It seems as if bipolar-ness is an incredibly diverse thing. I mean, right to the very core.

Cindy said...

Hi, Susan. There are times when blogging is wonderfully uplifting in its connections and times when it is a drain on energies we need to use carefully and wisely. I've been blogging nearly three years now, and am convinced that finding the balance as it shifts with our moods and energy levels is a matter of trial and error and of (in some cases) establishing priorities. I love blogging, and I dearly love the people who read and comment on Quotidian Light, but you know, this summer I've been a blogging slacker, and it's been one of the most stable seasons I've had in a long time. Of course, backing off when space is needed doesn't have to mean quitting altogether. We all love reading you and will be more than happy to take whatever you give us. Just don't give us so much that it drains you. The good stuff is worth waiting for.

Marie said...

Sorry I have not been by in a while. I am glad you are taking care of yourself and getting some much needed rest.

Noticed that you turned comment moderation on. Have you been getting whack jobs on your blog? I've been there let me tell ya.

Missed your comments on the blog. There is so much going on. Please take care.

Carrie said...


When you are ready, it will be very good to be reading your words again.

I get frustrated with my blog as well - why aren't more people commenting? But I think that your other commentor made an excellent observation...reading does not equal commenting.

:-) Carrie