back to the title- it really is an illness


My blog is entitled from BP to BPD to DBT… from Bipolar to Borderline Personality Disorder to Dialectical Behaviour Therapy… what a mouthful! I won’t go over all this again, but feel free to read my first few posts to get the background!

I haven’t quite got the energy to go over everything of the last couple of weeks, suffice to say, that my diagnosis has been reverted back to bipolar disorder, more specifically cyclothymia. I have increased my medication (which is helping) and I need to decide whether I start lithium. I plan to talk this through with friends, however, the issue being I don’t quite have the energy to talk about it!

The purpose of this post, is for me to clarify my own thoughts about mental illness. I had an awful day a couple of Saturdays ago when I think I really saw clearly that depression is an illness. An awful. Thieving. Rotten illness.

I saw Penelope after a break of 3 weeks. I think she realised quite quickly that I was not in such a good place. And as I would want and expect she was pretty tough on me. She acknowledged my situation but she wasn’t really having any of it. Wallowing in my sadness was no way on her agenda. We made plans, set agendas, agreed agreements and armed me with my homework which was basically, get out of bed, go walking, eat more fruit and veg, cut out refined sugar and talk to people. If only it were that easy.

The next morning I got myself out of bed before our agreed time…. tick. I went for a briskest walk…. tick. Came home, was feeling great. Sorted. The skills work!!!! I can do this!!! I can beat this!!! Just do as I’m told and I’ll be ok. I won’t get bad again because I’ve done DBT, I have Penelope. I can do this!!! I was almost excited with the potential of change.

15 mins later, I am in a black heap paralysed on my sofa. It didn’t last. Getting up and going for a walk, hadn’t cured me. It was still only 9.30 I was dying. I couldn’t understand it. If I was making up feeling depressed and then did the right thing, surely I wouldn’t feel like this. I was floored. Unfortunately I remained floored most of that weekend.

At my next session we talked through what had happened.

a) I still am in a place where I think I am making things up 😦

b) I had utterly unrealistic expectations. I thought getting up and walking would make the day ok. It didn’t- it made that hour or so manageable, but it was never going to be a cure.

c) I have the skills, but managing depression is a moment by moment condition. After the walk when I dipped, I should have then worked on some more skills. I should have continued to self-soothe and distract. Instead I couldn’t understand why I was like the way I was. and it spiralled. Unfortunately into some self-destructive behaviour (sorry 😦 )

d) depression is an illness. it doesn’t always play by the rules. It needs continuous treatment when in an acute episode and it needs preventative treatment when not in crisis.

e) we discussed that whether I have BP or BPD is irrelevant in one sense. I currently have a mood disorder that means I have to be aware of it all the time. That is actually quite freeing. Thinking in terms of well/ not well… doesn’t help me. When I feel ‘well’ I want to forget/ deny my struggles, the issue with that is when I am not so well, it comes as such a shock.

I’m learning.

Thanks for listening.


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