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World Book Day: A Little Bit Of Hope

I woke up this morning in the same place I’ve been for weeks: a dark slough of melancholy and depression. For the past couple of years, my bipolar symptoms have been in partial remission. It felt like my providers finally cracked the enigma of my medications, and my mood swings stabilized. This was no small feat since I have a tendency toward rapid cycling and psychosis.

Since I haven’t been in crisis mode, I’ve been able to make progress in therapy and confront my Borderline Personality Disorder. It’s much easier to address cognitive distortions and problematic behaviors (such as self-harm) when I’m not fighting so hard to simply stay alive.

That being said, mental illness doesn’t go away just because you’ve had a good run. If depression returns, if mania takes over, if OCD becomes overwhelming–that individual, that sufferer hasn’t failed or done anything wrong. They just have an illness, and that illness can slap you around like a bitch.

Everything right now takes more energy. I must give myself a pep talk to take a shower. There is no way I’m putting on make-up, and if my clothes match it’s completely accidental. My house looks like the dogs are running wild. They are. I love my friends, and they are so supportive of me and my condition but interacting with them is excruciating. My response is to isolate, push them away, and lock myself up in my blanket fort where no one can see me. Sometimes I can cry, but most of the time the emotion is so thick that it can’t squeeze out my tear ducks. Anyone who has had chronic depression or has been in a depressive state can relate to these common symptoms. Of course, this is a gross simplification of how I feel, but I can’t give you anything more right now.

Work on my novel has been almost nonexistent this week, and I wasn’t planning on blogging. I’ve had little interest in baking (Say, what?!?), and haven’t been able to read more than a paragraph of a book at a time. But when I sat down at my computer and saw that today was World Book Day, I felt a surge of hope.

I’m not sure why this made up holiday brought me some joy. I don’t know that it matters. Books have always been a talisman for me. I enjoy the physical book almost as much as the story within. Depression may temporarily make reading difficult or less appealing, but it cannot rob me of my love for books. I’m truly thankful for World Book Day for reminding me of what I already know.

I would love to know what you are reading today. The audiobook I can manage in small sessions is Ink and Fire by Rachel Caine. (It’s the second of the Great Library Series and it’s phenomenal. ) I’d also love to know if you are struggling. I’m not a provider and can’t give you any advice, but I’ll post a picture of my adorable and misbehaving dogs.

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