I love roller coasters!
Just ask my lovely cousin Alana. Every time she comes to visit us in Canada, I try to find somewhere thrilling to take her and drag her on some rides- all the while she curses my existence and claims that I am trying to kill her. (Am NOT!)
Roller coasters are one of my favorite thrill rides and I love to jump on one any chance I get.
One roller coaster that I do not enjoy is the metaphorical kind and the one I am currently riding is one of the worst.. you may have heard of it…. It has the ominous name ‘Depression’.
Depression is a bone rattling coaster.
It’s a bleak wooden ride, full of mind numbing drops, twists and turns, tall peaks and dark tunnels. The track is rickety and worn, and as you sit in that cart with the simple lap belt and bar you ask yourself “When was the last time this ride had a thorough safety check?”
One thing that sometimes surprises those who don’t suffer, is that depression doesn’t always have lows. (Surprise) You can actually suffer from depression and have high points (sometimes extreme high points) There are actually days where you feel like anything is possible and days where you question your illness. When this happens, an important thing to remind yourself is that you are riding that coaster! Don’t be fooled.
Be warned: When that high reaches it’s next inevitable peak, hold on tight because things may take a dive and you need to make sure your lap belt is secure and your cart doesn’t fly off the rails on the way down.
I have been riding this coaster all too often and this is one I am not riding willingly.
Just the other week I had some great news.
I finally saw the Colorectal Surgeon (read full story as to why here) and this coming week I will be going for surgery (EUA, Partial Fistulectomy and Seton placement) to start the process of correcting this nightmare I have been living with for all these years.
While the surgeon warned me the process would be a long one, he is certain he can heal me. It will just take time.
I nearly wept. I was tempted to cartwheel out of his office into my car. After all these years of surgeons turning my case down, telling me I didn’t have options- this one surgeon lifted that dark cloud from over my head and I was beyond elated.
I was completely high off the feeling that the end of this nightmare is near.
I am determined it will work.
I feel confident in his plan and prognosis.
I stayed happy and glowing for days.
However, what goes up- must inevitably come down.
After a few days, my happy mood crashed and it crashed hard.
I was a wreck. I couldn’t stop crying. I had a meltdown. My eyes were swollen. I locked myself in my room. I just lost it and wanted to be alone.
I needed that cry.
That level of crying and those tears were long overdue. People say that I am strong, but in those moments, I don’t know if I am. It certainly doesn’t feel like it.
Does a strong person cry so hard they go through an entire roll of toilet paper they stole from the bathroom, because they didn’t want anyone to see them?
Does a strong person cry so hard and wish they could melt into their mattress and dissolve into nothing?
Does a strong person come off a high point, only to reach that breaking point?
I would say the answer is yes to all the above if I am talking about others- but I am wary to say it about myself. (I know some of you can relate)
My roller coaster took another turn though and I became very irritable and angry. There was no rhyme or reason for it. I was just in a mood. My panic attacks started setting back in. My insomnia showed back up.
However, I suddenly went up on another mood high. I spent an amazing day shopping with my kids and my mother. We had fun! The more fun it was, the more hyper I became. That day I felt so good. I was back on top of the world again. However even in my moments of insane- happy-go-lucky-crazy (I was singing and dancing in my seat in a restaurant) even I recognized that I was just riding one of the highs.
The next day? That damn roller coaster took a nose dive and I ended up having to stay in bed most of the day because my insomnia had taken over and my panic attacks were at an all time high. That was a rough day. I had to depend on my anti-anxiety medication and was able to shake it off long enough to treat my mom to a well deserved salon trip. (She’s been a rock around here lately)
The past week and a half certainly has been a wild ride.
I know that my mood will suddenly shift again. I don’t know which way it will go. I am starting to feel fatigued so maybe I am about to reach a lull in my mood swings.
Clickity Clack, Clickity Clack…..is the coaster slowly approaching the next big hill to climb? A sudden drop?
All I know is that while I know this ride is not the one I wish to be experiencing- I know that it will eventually come to a stop and I will catch a break for awhile.
I have ridden ‘Depression’ so often that I know the pattern.
I just hope the coaster comes to a halt soon. I would love to be able to jump off it so I can hit up the Cotton Candy stand….or maybe take a relaxing cruise on the Swans or Paddle Boats.
These ups and downs are quiet normal when suffering from a mental illness. The roller coaster metaphor may be an overused one, but it works as a fantastic illustration for a reason.
The whole point of this post is not just to get it out of my head, but to illustrate that depression isn’t all about sadness, anger and misery. There can be these insane high points that can make you extremely happy, hyper and you can feel invincible. It’s a natural high and when it drops it can drop HARD and fast. Often with no explanation or warning.
You need to be prepared for it.
Recognize what ride you are on: Are you severely depressed? Or Is this just the bad day coaster?
Make sure your safety belt is firmly in place: A doctor, friend, family member, therapist….
Keep your arms and legs inside the ride at all times: Have a plan. Stick to it. Know the signs.
And HOLD ON.
You WILL get through it.
Never give up.
This ride CAN be conquered!
(Daily Post Prompt Word: Conquer )
**Photo credits to my cousin Alana**