Here I am, caught between reactive depression and clinical depression.
If you’ve been reading my last several posts, you know that I’ve been having a rough month. Several months. It’s been a real challenge to my hard-won quasi-stability.
Last week, my 20+ year old cat, Louise died. The week before that, my husband’s 17+ year old cat died. So now I am trying to deal with those reactive feelings of grief and loss, without losing myself in the eternally waiting Pit of Despair that is clinical depression.
In doing that, I am trying to find things that remain to take comfort in.
I take comfort that my husband was here with me, to help me through.
That Louise had a good, long life spent in our loving care since she was a tiny kitten.
That she died peacefully, at home, in my lap, with me petting her.
That I had a chance to say goodbye to her.
That I know she loved me as much as I loved her.
That her presence and her purr helped calm me and helped me when nothing else could.
That she gave me a constant presence through a third of my life, and all of hers.
We have two cats now – Dushenka and Toby. They are young and healthy, but of course our time with them is not guaranteed. I know that, just by having them and loving them, we are inviting future grief into our lives, along with the joy. That’s just how it is.
I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on animals, humans, and what we share with each other. I know this is likely to happen again, and soon, for our dog is also aged and nearly ready to go. It’s hard. Is it harder when your brain doesn’t work right and tries to tell you that sorrow doesn’t end?
I don’t know.There’s no scale by which to compare pain, and loss, and despair, and grief. We each go through it the only way we can.
I hope that soon, at least a few of the clouds will part and I can feel something besides sorrow, express something other than pain. Maybe next week’s blog will be about healing, or coping, or sharing strengths.
Those are all things I need to be doing – that we all need to be doing.
Someone remarked this week that a recent post (http://wp.me/p4e9Hv-k8) was not about healing. It reflected, the commenter said, all the privileges I have – money (or those who can lend it to me), drugs I can take to help me through a crisis (too many, according to the commenter), a supportive husband. And that’s all true. I have these privileges and more besides – a home, work that I can do without leaving the house, insurance, a psychiatrist and a psychotherapist. Some of these come to me because of circumstances I don’t control, and some I have had to work very hard for, as I have worked hard for the ability to heal, a little bit at a time.
There are still things I cannot do – leave the house more than twice a month or so, shop for groceries, see the dentist without massive panic, stop taking the psychotropic meds that allow me to think, have a healthy sexual relationship. I expect that some of these will get better and others won’t.
But, no matter our symptoms or their severity, we as people with bipolar disorder are all in this together – or as the Bloggess would say, alone together. Maybe I have an easier time of it, but that’s far from saying it’s easy for me.
I still experience grief and sorrow, depression and anxiety, irrationality and immobilization, pain and despair, relief and help, struggle and hard work, love and loneliness.
And always, I look for the comfort that comes when I need it most, or expect it least, or believe I’ll never feel again. We all do.