Friday, February 8, 2008

Cycling In and Out of Depression

Perhaps it is important to note that with bipolar disorder, depressive episodes are not the same. Not only do they differ in terms of duration and pain, but some continue for weeks or months and end abruptly from one day to the next. Others go on interminably. Some cycle on and off.

Yesterday, I thought this episode had ended. I felt well, I accomplished a lot, and my sense of humor had returned. But, today was as dreadful as it gets.

As some of you know, my mother died at the end of October. And this morning when I awakened, I started sobbing because I missed her so terribly, and I was sad and tearful all day long. I was grateful that my son is away at college, so that I could shed my tears with abandon.

Today I felt like I was crying for a lifetime of depressions...for the first one when I was 18, for this one--almost 40 years later--and every single one in between. I didn't ruminate about prior episodes, but I felt entitled to cry for so many reasons: for trying so hard to achieve wellness and failing, for trying so hard to remain positive despite abundant suffering, for causing so much pain to those I love, for being judged and found lacking by those I used to love, for persevering when it would have understandable to have quit, and because I miss my mother, who was my anchor throughout my life. In the depth of my sorrow, I wrote the following poem.

Mama, Can You Hear Me?
I am 57 years old
and the mother of a teenage son.
And this morning when I awakened,
I started sobbing because my mother is dead.

I suddenly realized
that for the rest of my life,
no one will answer me
when I say the word "mama" aloud.

No one will look at me and see
the laughing happy child of years ago.
No one will think I'm perfect
despite my recognizable flaws.

No one will hold me the way
that only a mother can,
And promise me I'll be okay
because to her I am invincible.

"Mama, I love you deary," I weep.
"Mama, I miss you deeply," I whimper.
"Mama, I still need you," I whisper.
"Mama, can you hear me?" I wail.

"Maaaaamaaaaa," I bawl,
like a small child who is lost in a crowd.
"Maaaaamaaaaa," I bellow,
praying that my voice will reach her in heaven.


izzym said...

I thought of this poem as I read your post. I too have lost my mom it is so hard. No one can ever look at you the way a mom can.

Funeral Blues

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

-- W.H. Auden

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Thanks izzym,
What a wonderful poem!


mylifewithbipolardisorder said...

Dear Susan,

Thank you very much for dropping by my blog and sharing.

My heart goes out to you as I read of your cycling down again. It is true that every depressive episode is so different. It must be very trying for you now, but I pray you will continue to persevere like always did. Do whatever you can which you enjoy, as it may help to lift you up a bit.

I know you may not feel like you are up to anything, but do whatever you can when you are able to. Go out to get some sunshine each day, and go for walks when you have energy. If not, just rest or maybe listen to some music. I find instrumental music soothing. Sometimes when I am very depressed, I just shut down and sleep and sleep. Sometimes I watch comedies to distract my mind from all the negative thoughts and feelings. I will do something that is within my means to distract myself until the cloud passed away. It is hard to go through each day, but eventually the sun did shine again. I will keep you in prayers.

Grieving over the death of a loved one is a normal process we all go through, especially if he/she is very dear to us. It takes a long time to be able to think of that person without shedding tears. So you are entitled to cry and feel sad. My dear father passed away some 7 years ago, and sometimes tears still come to my eyes when I think of him. Crying sometimes can be therapeutic. What I find hardest during my own depressive episodes, was I couldn't cry. I couldn't think or feel aright. Sometimes I felt so numb and flat, that often I felt so painful and wish I could just cried and release all the pain and frustration that I was feeling but there was no tears. No one can understand the pain and anguish of depression which is so different from the blues or down feeling others feel.

You have demonstrated tremendous courage in persevering and striving hard to achieve wellness. You must not give up on yourself as the journey is in itself difficult, and so it's not your fault. You are a hero and a conqueror. The people who love you will understand. You are an inspiration to me because you managed to survive so many episodes. I believe you will continue to survive.

I can understand your sense of loss is tremendous. No one can take the place of your beloved mother. But surely she wish to see you pressing on with fresh courage each day as you remember her love for you.

Please take care. I will keep you in my prayers daily. Hope you will feel better soon. Remember you are a hero and survivor.

Praying for you,

Syd said...


I'm sure that your mother hears you and I'm sure she'd love to hold you again and wipe away your tears. And although she's not physically with you, she lives on through you because she lives in your heart.

Deb said...

Oh, that was very moving. Loss of someone so close and important touches every part of our soul...and life

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Thanks Sydney and Deb,
For me, writing has always been the best way to express my feelings. And I do carry my mother in my heart!