Ashe Elton Parker

A Writer of LGBTQ+ Characters in Speculative Fiction

Tag: manic-depression

Another Two Days; a Bad Habit

Playing Cards!

Fan of Standard Playing Cards

I honestly didn’t mean to miss Thursday, even though it was another exhaustion day. Because I ended up staying up late playing games with Daz on Wednesday night, I was too wired to feel tired. Instead of putting myself to bed as I should have after taking my night meds, I stayed up instead. Bad me.

Today, it occurred to me that I haven’t mentioned my writing efforts the past several days or so. I have made them. Every day, I open the last fiction project I worked on, if nothing else. Some days, I open other files, either to look at one particular story an idea is stirring for, or a succession of Scrivener files to try and tease my creative mind into activity. I do make an effort, put Butt In Chair and Turn On The Faucet at some point. Sadly, nothing seems to want to move. Ideas do stir, but they come to nothing, and usually remain vague notions I can’t quite grasp.

But Thursday was an unexpected free day for writing. I was supposed to go quilt at Katie’s. Unfortunately for both of us, she felt unwell, with a sore throat and stuffy nose. Because she didn’t want to risk making me sick as well, she canceled our quilting meet. I told her to take care of herself and proceeded to Turn On The Faucet instead, and ended up reading through a number of my incomplete projects in an effort to stir the notions spinning in my mind into actual progress without any luck. At 18:30 or so, I finally gave up and went to bed, too exhausted to continue any longer.

Oh, my friend JJ did happen to visit on Thursday afternoon. He was downtown and had some extra time between appointments, and I invited him to my apartment. We had a nice little chat, and Hendrix got some loves from a new person. They seemed to get along well, and he spent a lot of time lying on JJ’s backpack. JJ’s got a cat too, and I bet his cat was livid that another had tried to claim JJ’s backpack. LOL

Friday did not start off very well. I awoke feeling depressed and basically rolled over and hid from the world until it became too painful to remain in bed. When I came out to the living room, I got on the computer and contacted Daz, intending to distract myself with chatter to him. It was hard, but I admitted how I was feeling moodwise, and he came up to hang out with me until he had to go to an appointment. We played some card games and he basically kept me distracted from the depression, then, when he left, he promised to return after his appointment.

I spent maybe 2 hours between his visits chatting on MeWe with my writer friends, and when Daz returned, he brought DiGiorno Pan Pizza for us to eat. While we ate it, I told Daz that Hendrix would try to crawl into the box at some point, and he looked at my cat and said, “Cat, you are silly.” LOL After we ate, we played some more games with my deck of regular cards, then we agreed to play MTG for a bit. He went downstairs to get his decks, and then texted me that he almost passed out from tiredness when he sat down to dig his decks out of hiding. I told Daz to go ahead and sleep a bit.

After that, I spent most of the rest of the day idling. Though my mood improved, I still didn’t care to do anything, until I finally forced myself to get on the dishes I’d messed up over the course of the day. I fed Hendrix his supper. Chatted with my sister. Finally managed to post the next chapter of DH02 on Wattpad. Also managed to do some stuff with GIMP tonight too. Oh, and I also text-chatted with a barber who’s going to be doing a demo cut of someone’s hair for the transmasculine group at the pride center later on this month, because one of the facilitators of the group thought I might make a good model; I sent the guy pics of my hair, but have not heard back yet on whether he thinks I’d be a good model—I actually think he’s gone to bed. LOL

Transgender + Bipolar =

Statistically speaking, transgender people are much more prone to depression and suicide than the average person. I think (do NOT quote me on this), they may be more prone to depression and suicide than gay/lesbian people are as well. I do know, they’re right up there with gays and lesbians, especially as youths, in the range of high-risk of suicide and depression.

The first time another transgender person I knew made a comment about attempting suicide, it had little effect on me. I was still muddling through the fact I couldn’t hide from being transgender any more, and that was difficult enough. Recently, another transgender person I know announced the same thing, and this time it really hit me what I may be setting myself up for.

This is what popped into my head:

Transgender + Bipolar = incredible risk of suicide/depression

I discussed this with my therapist yesterday, about how I was afraid now that following this transgender path into my psyche would put me at much more increased risk of suffering a severe depressive phase at some future point. I tried to kill myself once before, when I was in my early twenties, due to a home situation I had no control over. At the time, I was spending a week or two away from home, then going to visit every other weekend, and the transition from the peaceful away-place back to the home situation with my mother and her abusive alcoholic live-in boyfriend stressed me to the point I one day swallowed every psych pill I had and crawled up onto my bunk to “die.” I didn’t die (obviously), but I did spend the next few weeks struggling psychologically (after an excellent nap, induced by the sedative effects of my antidepressant) because I couldn’t dare risk admitting I’d swallowed them all in a suicide attempt because I didn’t want to be forced back into a mental ward. I’d done that trip once already back when I was in high school during a previous period of home stress which had gotten me into psych care in the first place.

But I told my therapist I was concerned about the possibility of me going off the deep end during a bipolar depressive phase. I told her I didn’t want to risk that, and she led me around to considering a few things. I’m still concerned, but my therapist helped me figure out where I stand.

1. I’m much more aware of where I’m “standing” on a psychological level, in a general, overall sense. Right now, I’m a bit depressed; personal hygiene has been out the window unless I’m expected at some sort of social event, I’m not too concerned about my writing even though I’d like to for the mood boost, losing weight and physical fitness aren’t even on the radar most days, and housecleaning isn’t getting done unless I need to sit there or use that dish or pan. I’m at a point where if I can spend my day reading, I’ll quite contentedly do so, with a few visits to the internet and online friends every few hours and I don’t really care to go outside and do anything.

2. I’m firmly connected to a comprehensive mental health care network. If I’m not slated to see my regular therapist up at the VA, there’s a hotline the VA provides that I can call for general bipolar depression psych needs, and, if I absolutely feel I must, I can see about getting myself committed to the hospital’s inpatient psych ward. Also, if there’s a question I have, I can contact my therapist via phone or email.

3. I am on mood stabilizers, and, even more importantly, I keep up with taking them when I should each day. If I have a question or concern about my medications, I can contact my psych doc to talk about things with him—and, furthermore, if we both feel I for some reason need to change or adjust my medication regimen, I can make an appointment with him to discuss it.

4. If being trans is upsetting me somehow, there’s a new Trans Lifeline I can call if I suddenly need to discuss it right away, and I can walk the three blocks to the Pride Center and possibly see about chatting with a therapist there about how being trans is making me feel.

5. I’m regularly attending a trans support group, and that is helping me. It lifted my spirits this past week when I went because it reminded me I’m not alone in my journey, and even though I don’t have direct contact with any other members of the group between meetings, knowing we’ll be meeting more regularly in January (after the holiday season) is helping me be more patient with myself and my fears right now.

To be honest, yesterday’s therapy appointment couldn’t have been better timed for me. My mood dropped about four or five days ago, and I really needed to go, just for that. It is, I think, combining in a bad way with the fear of risk of suicide, but I’m doing okay for now. I’ve been chatting with my family and some friends on the phone—just to chat—and though I haven’t told any of my online friends where I stand emotionally right now, I know they’d be supportive and encouraging if I did decide to. I think that as long as I get out of bed each day, get dressed, and make an effort to at least get to my computer for a while and feed myself, I’ll pull through this okay. Having my therapist help me figure things out is keeping me from losing myself in the fear of what only may happen.

This is just the way things sometimes go with bipolar disorder. As long as I’m mindful of where I’m at psychologically, I should be fine. And if I’m not at some point, there are people and places I can turn to for the support and assistance I need, for which I’m extremely thankful.

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