I’d show a smile but I’m too weak / by Charlie Francis Cassidy

Trigger warning for self harm and suicide related things.

I’ve been struggling quite a bit lately, with, well, a lot of things really. But the cause for all that can be traced back to my shifting mood states. Nothing new there, sure but it’s not always this bad.

Is it bad enough to put me back in hospital? Well, that’s tricky to answer. It really depends. It’s never as simple as that. But I don’t foresee myself in hospital anytime soon. I just don’t think it would help me right now. Right now I don’t think I need a timeout from my life and the world, but there are certainly times when that is exactly what I need. That being said, I do really need to look at how much I am pushing myself but I’ll get to that.

So here I am now, in a really bad depressive episode. For the past couple of weeks I’ve been quite bad actually. My mood has shifted all over the place during that time and this is one of the worst days I’ve had but each day has been its own struggle too. I’m not even sure where to start here, but I want to talk about it. Write about it, whatever.

As an unfortunate standard I usually have background thoughts of hurting myself in one way or the other but when I’m not doing too badly I can usually manage them pretty decently and they don’t affect me as much as they could. It’s kind of like, yeah I know where that thought is coming from, I’m just going to ignore it I don’t need to act on it, I know I won’t do anything. And that, that took years to get to that point, where I could deal with this regular influx of these kinds of thoughts. Suicidal ideation, self harm, all that.

But, when I start getting particularly bad, not only do these thoughts become more frequent, they start turning into urges and it starts getting a lot harder to just ignore them. I start participating in the thoughts, I find myself getting caught up in them. 

I’ve started giving in to the self harm urges. Not all of them, but enough I guess that it should be a concern. I have varying thoughts on this really. Once I start it is very very hard for me to stop again. And often once I’ve started my leading thoughts on it are kind of, so what if I need to do this to get by, I’m not hurting anyone but myself. I mean yes, but then my next thought on it is that I am in fact hurting those that care about me by hurting myself, so I then become incredibly guilty about that. Then there is the question of does this in fact help me at all? It doesn’t, it really doesn’t. It just starts a cycle that gets harder and harder to break. But that isn’t exactly clear all of the time, it’s not as simple as me knowing it won’t help in the long run, it does something for me in that moment. Even if all it does is stop me from wanting to do it. When all of my thoughts are to just do this one thing, it can get kind of difficult to reason with.

I want to make it very clear that I don’t think I am in any danger though. I have dealt with all of this long enough to know when I do need to do something about it. It’s just, exhausting really. It’s like, right now the majority of my thoughts can’t be trusted and I have to actively sort out which is a real thought from me and which is something produced from a combination of my mental illnesses. The worse I am the harder it is to tell the difference. 

That’s pretty much what I’ve been dealing with lately. It makes it significantly harder to do, anything. So right now, in a real bad depressive episode, well, it all feels a bit much. I’m also being hit with lots of thoughts questioning what I’m even doing with my life, why am I even bothering with anything. All sorts of things. I would love to just turn it off right now. I don’t exactly get a break from this either in my manic episodes. My mood being at either extreme seems to bring about this sort of thing. Though the depressive thought pattern isn’t there in a manic episode I still have the suicidal ideation and self harm urges. I’ve had a lot of confusion about this from various people (including doctors in the ER). Why would I want to hurt myself if I’m not feeling depressed? I’ve learnt that it’s just not that simple. I can be having an episode where I think I am the greatest person ever and still have these thoughts. There was a theory that it’s a combination of bipolar episodes and aspects of Borderline Personality Disorder clashing.

While I’m not exactly in control of these mood shifts, the fact that I’ve been overdoing it somewhat wouldn’t exactly be helping. I definitely need to keep working on getting a balance with all the work I do outside of my day job and taking time to, not be working. I guess a balance of work, social things and then down time. I need a better balance. I’m working on it though. I have improved a whole lot since even a year ago.