I have bipolar 1 disorder which basically means my depressive states are a lot worse than my manic states and a lot longer. This is not a clinical definition by any means, it's just me describing my version of my disorder to you all, but the point is I am more often depressed than I am not. I could go on forever about how bad depression feels, but here's a plus point: I'm currently sitting at my computer writing this article as opposed to popping a Klonopin and deciding to do absolutely nothing. There's a reason for that.
My psychiatrist and psychologist say that 50% of recovery is the medication and 50% is willpower. Whether that be exercise or just doing something like going to museums or the zoo or painting or singing or just anything. Something to keep your brain active. Today was a particularly rough day. I woke up and took my medication and the Klonopin 0.25mg just wasn't working. I was pessimistic, didn't want to do anything, and kept kicking the box that contained the brand-new Christmas tree that we had to assemble. After about thirty minutes of pleading my mother reluctantly got me to take a Klonopin 1mg pill.
The thing about taking higher dosages of Klonopin is that it tranquilizes you and the only thing I could do was go to sleep, and I pretty much slept the entire day. This is a problem because the 50% of willpower that I was supposed to put in was nonexistent and then I felt bad about not doing anything. Then I caught sight of the Christmas tree box. As a little backstory: Christmas time is my favorite and my favorite part of Christmas is the Christmas tree.
I was extra excited to put up the tree because we got rid of our old seven-foot tree and ordered a nine- foot tree. That's more tree to love. When you're depressed it's hard to do anything, but that tree just called out to me and on a whim, I tore open the box and began assembling the tree. This was my first year buying an unlit tree, so I was a bit hesitant about the whole endeavor, but after a quick trip to the store I ended up with 600 lights and about 100 new ornaments. This was the willpower I was missing all day.
We put on Sinatra's "Ultimate Christmas" playlist on Spotify and began to assemble and decorate this tree, and let me tell you, it felt great. The tree came right on time, and I don't mean Amazon Prime did their duty, I mean to say that some higher power knew I had been in a depressive episode all week and delivered that tree right before I saw the doctor.
I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow, and I intend to show him that although the medication is not doing it's full 50% because it needs to be titrated carefully and slowly, I found the 50% of willpower I need to keep me feeling happy for the time being.
It may not last, but these moments of happiness are what I live for in the midst of depression.
Update: I wrote this article before my medication, Lamictal (a mood stabilizer), was titrated to 50 mg from 25 mg, but after it got titrated my depression has gotten a lot better, however, in the time that it was being titrated, in that transition period, the Christmas tree was truly only one the things that helped me feel better and more energized. That's to say, despite the fact that the 50% willpower I'm putting in is finally back on track, it was the Christmas tree that helped me get there. Happy holidays everyone!