My Bipolar Week

This is going to be a very down post.  I know it won’t last forever, but that’s depression, right?  It feels like it will.

It’s been a truly bipolar week, even for me. Lately it’s largely been a battle between forced fighting depression and forcing creativity, with the occasional moment of grace that catches in my throat and justifies all the struggling.

This week everything happened in extreme swings: too depressed in the morning to work, but in the afternoon I’m in the zone and paint without stopping until 10 pm. I agonize over making a start on a series of paintings, and then in two days, I start three at once. Then I run errands and do chores another morning, and by afternoon I’m so anxious and down I pull the shades on the sunny day and hide out in my house. With each painting completed, the prior ones all start to look like crap to me. I cry at least part of every single day, usually for no reason. I have trouble getting to sleep, and have disturbing dreams when I do.

My husband has successfully completed his first quarter back at school, with all A’s … the only person surprised is him. And he’s up to full-time at the new job. I’m so proud of him, and he’s worked — and is working — so hard, I want to do everything I can to keep things easy on him.

I’m trying so hard. But all my screwy brain keeps telling me is what a weak, lazy person I am. The word burden keeps coming up. When I can’t paint, I feel I’m doing nothing, just leaching off my husband — who is doubling up school and work to support us, and get us health insurance. Every bill from the clinic, I wince — if I weren’t screwed up, I wouldn’t have to see so many doctors, or be costing us so much.

Now, here’s how ridiculous that is: I have worked since I was fifteen.  During college, I supported myself and worked 20+ hours per week; every summer and my whole life since then, I’ve worked full-time.  I’ve commuted, worked my way up, played the corporate games. I supported my husband through a kidney transplant, brain surgery, multiple layoffs. My most recent job, I held successfully for seventeen years.

But while part of my brain knows I’ve paid my dues, The other part keeps saying burden.


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