December 29, 2008


The title of this entry is all about motivations. What prompted me to seek help in the first place. What prompted me to stay on the drugs despite the side effects. What prompted me to write this particular blog at this time.

Ok, well, I notice in April and May of 2005 I was having a distinctly dark time of life. I felt as though I was staring into a deep, endless void of darkness, and sometimes lost in it. Barely able to reach the shore, and really struggling some days to get out of bed. A feeling of wanting to stay under the covers all day, where I'd be safe and warm. Other days, on a euphoric high, out running, laughing, enjoying life, losing weight, and running a 10 k, and a half-marathon race. A friend said to me, online, "Deb you seem to go from really low to really high in your emails. Maybe you should get that checked out". So, yes, I read up on the web, and thought, "you know what? I think I may have bipolar". So, got to see my family doctor soon. He agreed and put me on drugs right away. And got the appointment for the psychiatrist in July. What really, truly motivated me to stay on the drugs was shortly before my diagnosis there was the shock of hearing of Paul Hester. A talented drummer/musician with Split Enz and Crowded House, he'd hung himself in a Melbourne, AU, park with the dog's leash. Everything to live for, with a radio show, a wife, two beautiful daughters, and he killed himself. "Why?" was the question I read that people were asking. "Why?" I thought of my girls losing me at that point. How they would ask "why?" for all the rest of their lives. That scared me, deeply. That is why, to this day, I don't muck about with this disease. If it can take him away, it can take me away. And I'm not going to let that happen, I assure you.

Getting back to Paul Hester as I read his obit I couldn't help but think: that's so much me. The bon vivant, laughing, joking, life-of-the-party, and inside? A small, scared, timid person who hurts. Never bleeding on the outside, but hurting on the inside, badly. According to this article he'd been suffering from depression for years, and was noted for his extreme mood swings. As I sat there thinking, I thought, what place does a person have to bottom out to decide to do it? I mean, physically stand up, throw a dog leash, or a rope, or load a gun and then actually "do it". Jump, kick over, shoot, whatever. Just how much pain must they be feeling at this moment? I'd guess there is no thought of what will the family think and/or feel. Maybe they just want a release from the pain? I don't know, and never want to know the actual feelings. But I can empathize with them. So sad. I hate to say it too, but a very selfish move, on their parts.

Lately I've had a string of deaths that I've heard of. My mother-in-law Phoebe, and my best friend Pam's uncle that I knew well, since childhood. A lady at church whom I spoke with, and then two weeks before Christmas more bad news. A friend whom I met in the online game Uru, spoke to me in an email about his step-fathers suicide the week before. How the shock, the anger, the tears hadn't stopped at all. How he'd told few about it, not even knowing how to talk about it. Not knowing if he was crying too much or too little. How does one go about saying that they're sorry to hear that? So sad. But, somehow, amongst the tears and the feeling of "why did he do that?" I replied. Hearing his grief just reinforced the reminder to be strong. To never give up, as Sir Churchill likely said.

And then the article that I linked to in the title. Where it says that Mr. Kirby will be the head of a Mental Health task force, similar to the Canadian Cancer Society. Well, bravo to that.

Quote from him here

He always keeps in mind the stories he heard when the Senate committee first held hearings. In particular, he recalls a young woman from a rural community who took the microphone in Newfoundland and spoke about her family, who responded to her depression by telling her to "buck up," and the long weeks when she couldn't get out of bed.

"The punchline was when she said, 'I really wished I had breast cancer instead — I wouldn't have lost my friends. I wouldn't have lost my family. I wouldn't have lost my job,'" Mr. Kirby recalls.

Sounds similar to my father, and his attempts to get me to clean up my act, my house, and my life, and my weight. Doesn't matter that I do a damn fine job of keeping care of my daughters, my husband, the dog, and getting them all off to their various places, and managing my best to keep up with the daily stuff. No, gotta have a pin-tidy house + lose some 50 odd pounds and oh, get a job too, maybe huh Deb? So discouraging, in a word. Just so a way to get me down, when I'm feeling up. Would we tell a child who's just walking "you're not steady enough, get better!" No! Why would he tell somebody who manages to get by without falling apart, "do better!" I sigh heavily.

So, yes motivations to write this blog came about from many sources. I do hope it helps at least one person. If so, maybe my feeling of being a completely self-centered person who babbles on and on about her sick head may go away. But, as of now? I feel very silly writing this blog.


Ted Walker said...

Deb - never ever forget that regardless of what we do or don't do as your family, we love you and we always will. We may not say it often enough or loud enough but we are always thinking it. Your contribution as an energetic Mother is the most important aspect of your life and you have two lovely girls to prove it. Make snow angels, snow forts and go for a long walk with them and enjoy their youthful spark and joy while you can. They will be gone before you know it to live their own lives. They are the only true treasures we gather along the way and therefore need us the most. Nurturing Mother versus pintidy mom -Nurturing will always be the winner. ...teD

Jon said...

Your blog will be as beneficial to you as it will be to others - and perhaps more so. You'll find that your ability to self-analyze and look inside yourself will improve significantly. You'll be better able to anticipate your swings, and recognize your current status. You'll also build a network of peers that may prove invaluable in terms of support. This can take time, but it's time well spent.

Thanks for visiting our blog and dropping us a line. I've added you to my blogroll.

With love, Lila said...

Deb - I know this blog was written back in 2008, but I have just started reading and your writing is inspiring. It's almost like I am reading my own diary, I also have bipolar and suffer from the weight gain and the lack of motivation. On the outside I am perceived as a well put together professional 24 year old, but on the inside and when no one is looking I hide under the covers for days on end. I look forward to reading further into your blog and hoping I can learn from your experience.
Thank you